After a certain point, your body starts accumulating issues without any hope of full recovery – the various creaking and crunching sounds increase in volume every day
After a recent bout of googling symptoms, I decided to present myself at my doctor’s office for a full run-down of my ailments. On the day, the ailment ‘run-down’ seemed to point to my being actually run-down. Ah, being run-down... that most infuriatingly vague and seemingly constant state.
The visit to the GP was punctuated by the kinds of questions that feel like a deliberate act of provocation. I described my night sweats and he asked if I was stressed. STRESSED! “I’m alive,” I yelped. “Of course I’m stressed.”
“Are you getting enough water; keeping hydrated?”
“Doctor, I am an alcoholic in recovery. All I drink is coffee and Diet Coke. I was probably more hydrated when I was actively in addiction. At least then I mixed alcohol with sparkling water.”
“Are you sleeping alright?”
“Of course I don’t sleep. I have three children, and any night they take a pause in annoying me, I’m up doing an impromptu spruce of my bed, changing my pyjamas and bed sheets because of the chronic bed sweating.”
“And what do you do for relaxation?”
The doctor duly took bloods to perform various tests. In the meantime, I had a follow-up appointment with the hospital, where my recent fracture had been treated. This new doctor prodded my ankle and asked after my pain levels since I’d been freed from the boot. I told him the ankle seemed fine but that my knees had started making a strange clicking sound of late. In the latest in a long line of indignities since navigating the medical system as a mother of three, I squatted on the floor to demonstrate the popping noise.
“Hmmm, that might be just how your knees sound now,” came his demoralising diagnosis. Ooof.
Ooof, incidentally, is the sound my whole body makes whenever it sits down, stands up or rolls over.
Coming home that day, I glumly explained to my husband that I’d apparently entered the ‘you break, you buy’ phase of adult life — the point beyond which your body appears to no longer regenerate with the same gusto as it did when you were younger.
As of your late 30s, you start to collect the injuries and niggles, and the various creaking and crunching sounds increase in volume every day.
As a consequence of these doctor visits, I’ve started to think of my body as being like a sinking ship. From now on, my general health and well-being is slowly sliding down to the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean.
In fact, I’ve decided my body is the Titanic, specifically. I’ve reached the age of 37, which, I’ve decided, is 11.50pm in the Titanic timeline. The iceberg has struck and naive idiots are playing football with the chunks of ice on deck. That’s me noting my low-grade ailments believing it’s all going to be grand. Then, 12.10am, when it was just dawning on the passengers of the Titanic that there weren’t enough lifeboats for everyone on board, is the equivalent of me going to the doctor and learning that there’s no reversing my decline.
I returned to my doctor the following week to get the results of my tests and hear his overall report on the state of me. As to be expected, he could find no satisfactory explanation for most of the ailments I’d brought to him but had found a few other random things to add to the list. All low-grade, thankfully. Though the one downside of the low-grade illness is that there’s usually no course of treatment, just a sort of generalised shrug.
“You have anaemia.”
“You have a vitamin D deficiency.”
One slight curveball came when he told me I had an underactive thyroid. Unsurprisingly, I’ve always been a lazy bastard to my core. Now we’re cooking, I thought. Finally an explanation for some of my bullshit, and surely some sort of treatment. Alas, no.
Apparently, the sluggish thyroid was ‘subclinical’ and would essentially need to get worse before they could make it better with medication. And even then, it appears that I won’t even be getting better as such.
“Once you’re taking the medication, you’re probably just going to be on it indefinitely.” Big shrug.
You see? You break, you buy. I suppose I might have to start drinking water now.