Full Circle: It’s A Drag Getting Old
Looking to cure what ails me
By Maury Z. Levy

This is a story about my feet, my teeth, my bladder and my fathers garment.  

My father had it all. Back pain, hernia pain, foot pain. And there were some nights when the hot water bottle, the universal healthcare of the 50s, just wouldnt do. The nights of grunts, the nights of groans.  

Did you wear your garment today?” my mother would say. 

My father wore a garment.” I dont know what the garment was. I dont know what the garment did. But I knew he wore a garment. 

No,” my father said. When he was in pain, he was a man of few words. 

I told you to wear your garment. Why didnt you wear your garment? Thats why we got you a garment. 

This was all foreign to me then. I just couldnt relate. And then a strange thing happened. I got old.  

I have become a used car. My tires are balding. My backseat cushions are flat. And my GPS is always pointing south.  

It started with my feet. Once a source of strength, a pillar of podiatry, theyve become flatter and wider. I am now a double E. Go find that size at Thom McAn. And because Im now more comfortable in spongy athletic shoes, because I now wear them with suits, my high school has asked me to return my Best-Dressed Male” award.  

So, the feet went first, the knees went second. Too much basketball, too many rebounds. I know what youre thinking. Why not get knee replacement surgery like everyone else over 60? Well, I have chondromalacia. Thats where my kneecap gets grizzled into sharp edges. And those sharp edges rub against the surrounding muscles and tendons, which hurts like hell. 

And theres the rub. You see, total knee replacement surgery really isnt total knee replacement surgery. Thats because it replaces everything but the kneecap, the grizzled kneecap thats the source of my pain and problems. So, I live with it. That and a big bottle of Aleve.  

Did I tell you about my three root canals? You know how much root canals hurt. Yeah, turns out I didnt need them. After the third root canal didnt fix the pain, I went from the dentist to the neurologist.  

He said there was nothing wrong with my teeth. The pain I was feeling came from something called peripheral neuralgia. Its severe nerve pain that can refer into your teeth. I looked it up when I got home. Web MD said, Peripheral neuralgia is often considered the worst pain known to man.” Oh, great. I think Ill start banging my fingers with a sledgehammer to compare.   

And then theres the bathroom. I had prostate surgery a few years back to clear a path, so to speak. So, my problem isnt that I cant go. Oh, I can go plenty. Especially in the middle of the night.  

My problem is that I just cant go on demand. I have renamed the bathroom the waiting room, because thats what I do now when someone asks me for a sample. I stand in front of the privy and wait. And wait. Waiting is the hardest part.  

My urologist tells me what I have is common in men your age.” I hate that expression. He says its a shy bladder.” Quite a precise medical term.  

In laymans terms, it means I have trouble performing the function under certain conditions. Like when anyone else is in the mens room or when Im asked to leave a sample. Those efforts usually end with someone banging on the door and yelling, Are you alright in there? 

And Ive tried everything for it. I think about a babbling brook, a mighty ocean, a sea of love. Nothing works. And so, as a last resort, Ive started to sing in the bathroom. At least it puts a smile on my face. 

Trickle, trickle, splish, splash, Tell me how long will this rain last? 

March 2019
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