My doctor said I should see a doctor. A rheumatologist. Nothing serious, just creaky joints. And where there’s creak, there’s pain.
I made an appointment and showed up.
She’d ordered some tests beforehand, they’d come back normal except for a hardly-at-all high uric acid level, pills were prescribed.
Over and done with.
A few days later, just for laughs, I logged on to my MyChart. That’s the online place for medical records. Along with test results, visits are summed up in a paragraph or two by the doctors – if they have the time or inclination. My rheumatologist had one or the other or both.
I scrolled through my innards as a spreadsheet and soon prose appeared:
Mr. Nyren is a pleasant 66-year-old gentleman...
That’s all I read. I couldn’t read more. Mr. Nyren helplessly spiraled into a deep, dark, psychotic depression.
… Golly, golly, golly gee. I’ve spent my whole life causing trouble, rebelling, going against the grain, not growing up, doing mostly annoying things whenever I could, being impertinent, sarcastic, disagreeable, irritating.
And now what am I? A Pleasant 66-Year-Old Gentleman.
What is a pleasant 66-year-old gentleman? I picture a minor character in a 19th century melodrama:
ENTER: A PLEASANT 66-YEAR-OLD GENTLEMAN. He bows, says something unremarkable that furthers the plot, and EXITS.
The doctor has submitted an official patient evaluation. Is ‘a pleasant 66-year-old gentleman’ a diagnosis? An affliction? Is there a cure?
Actually, ‘a pleasant 66-year-old gentleman’ sounds to me like a warning sign. Dementia is right around the corner. Shoot me before I get too nice.
I’m going to try really hard to work on this. Diseases creep up on you as you get older. You must be vigilant.
I’ve heard of Brain Games to ward off Alzheimer’s. Are there any games to ward off pleasantness? Ones that help you build up your orneriness?
They also tell me that you should stay active and engaged in your dotage so your mind won’t turn to mush. I’ll spit on people, slap them, scream at them, anything at all if it will help.
Just please don’t let me live the rest of my life as some insipid gentleman who always has a smile on his face.