The good news

I had to forgo my usual “morning off from work” routine today. Instead of stepping outside to enjoy a cup of coffee only to have it ruined by a Blue Jay crapping on my front stoop, I had to show up at the hospital first thing. I had an appointment. The nurse there wanted to ask me a whole slew of questions in preparation for the upper endoscopy I’m scheduled to undergo next week.

The procedure is commonly known as a “scope.” My doctor wants to thread a flexible tube down my throat so he can examine my guts with a tiny camera. Personally, I think it’s one of the rewards married men of a certain age get for putting up with their teenage kids. Another is a colonoscopy.

Today’s question-and-answer session seemed mostly to be about uncovering any problems that might complicate next week’s shindig. The nurse asked about my medical history, whether I’m allergic to anything and if I’ve ever had any problems with anesthesia. She had a long list and it took some time to get through it all. Then she took my blood pressure and had me step ON THE SCALE.

I’m generally not that self-conscious about my weight, but I have been making an effort to shed a few pounds lately. I’ve been watching what I eat, walking our big dog Rodney more often, and making it a point to trudge up and down several flights of steps once an hour while at work. I could do more, but it’s a start and it seems to be paying off.

To my delight, the hospital scale informed me that I’ve lost some nine pounds. I am now under 200lbs for the first time in more years than I care to acknowledge here.

When I left the hospital, I texted my wife the news. She replied with an encouraging “Yeah!” And then immediately followed up with a request that I take her car in for a state inspection. She had been asking for the same favor for several days. Each time, I somehow wormed my way out of giving her an answer. This time, she sweetly said it would be “so helpful” if I took care of it for her.

Because my weight loss had put me in such a good mood, I happily (and finally) gave her a straight answer. Only later, while I was waiting for her car to be inspected at the shop, did I figure out what she had done. She waited for the perfect opportunity, pounced and got me to agree to do something neither of us relishes.

My wife is cunning that way.

I would try to get her back and trick her into undergoing the scope next week, but (a)she’s too smart for that, and (b) my doctor would likely notice something amiss.

And if he didn’t? Well, that’s a whole other post.


Why “Star Trek” is going to have to take a back seat

At the risk of sounding like a tedious old bore who can’t stop talking about his aches and pains, I feel like I should revisit them, anyway – mostly because I’ve been making such a big deal about all the medical tests I’ve had to endure.

In any case, I have to find a new audience for my complaints. My colleagues at work are starting to give each other that “there he goes again” look every time I get wound up.

I started confiding in them to give my family a break. My wife has been giving me that same look when I seek sympathy, and I think our kids have started finding excuses to leave the room when I broach the subject.

I’ve been so desperate to find somebody to listen to me whine that I tried confiding in our cats.

They ignored me.

I probably should have expected that. Cats are nothing if not haughty.

Our dog Rodney has been a good sport. But he IS a dog. And dogs are easily bribed.

When he looks at me as if to say “please stop whining”  when we are out for a walk, I throw him a bacon-flavored treat and go on complaining about the pain I’ve been having on the right side of my rib cage.

Tasty dog treats only go so far, though. When we arrive back at the house, he stops begging for the next morsel entirely and starts straining on the leash, presumably to get away.

I tell myself he just wants to get back to annoying our cats. But the truth is, he’s probably had enough of me.

Basically, it comes down to this –  it seems that I can no longer rely on youth to maintain the good health I’ve always taken for granted. The tests that were performed this month indicate that I have a slightly overweight liver.

In hindsight, I guess that shouldn’t be surprising. It seems my liver  is just taking cues from the rest of the overweight me.

I’ve yet to get specifics from my doctor on what to do about it. That comes next week. But if the internet is to be believed, I’m not going to be streaming old “Star Trek” shows on Netflix quite as often.

A Google search suggests that I get off my rump rather than spend leisurely afternoons exploring strange, new worlds while the kids are in school and my wife is at work.

In fact, I’ve already started. The walks I take with Rodney are more frequent and brisker. I’ve also joined the stair-walking club at work.

I’m also trying to watch what I eat more carefully, which should please my wife. She’s been after me for years to take better care of myself.

But if she thinks I’m going to stop whining, she’s got another thing coming – especially if my doctor bans “Star Trek” from my daily routine.

Why I’ve been remiss

I’ve been more distracted than usual lately. That may not seem particularly remarkable. According to my wife, my focus on day-to-day tasks has never been stellar. But even I have noticed a turn for the worse. I’ve let deadlines slip and my “honey-do” list seems to be getting longer and longer and longer.

I could blame the arrival of 2015. The year isn’t even a month old and I’m pretty sure I’ve already reached my medical deductible, not to mention the limit of my dental insurance.

I showed up at the dentist’s office at the beginning of January, got comfortable in his chair and then had the uncomfortable experience of watching bits of a bad tooth come flying out of my mouth. My dentist had to grind that tooth down to a nub in preparation for a crown. It was like watching sparks shooting from a metal grinder. If you ask me, my dentist seemed a little too enthusiastic.

But that experience was just the beginning.

Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve been compelled to undergo a series of medical tests that seem designed to shred my dignity.

I’ve been obliged to drink foul substances and required to recline in various positions at the hospital, where I’ve been irradiated and poked and prodded with various instruments. And that was when I was awake. I don’t want to know what happened while I was happily unconscious.

I should know in the next couple of weeks whether my condition warrants more poking and prodding and general anesthetics.

If all that weren’t enough, my eye doctor has been calling. Apparently, I’m overdue for my annual exam.

It’s as if 2015 is saying, “Welcome to your 50s, Mr. Snyder,” as it giggles behind its hand.

I know I should just be thankful I’ve made it this far, that I have the privilege of sitting around at work commiserating about various aches and pains with the other guys my age and boring the pants off considerably younger colleagues.

But the truth is, the complaints associated with getting older aren’t the real reason why I haven’t given my obligations the attention they deserve.

That honor belongs to Netflix. The streaming video service is giving me the opportunity to revisit some of my favorite old TV shows.

Specifically, Netflix is indulging my obsession with “Star Trek”. I’ve been re-watching all of the old shows from “The Next Generation” to “Enterprise”, leaving my wife dumbfounded. I’m sure she thought she was out of the woods when the final series went off the air ten years ago this spring. But she didn’t count on Netflix.

She will soon have reason to celebrate, though. I only have one more season of “Deep Space Nine” to watch and then my “Star Trek” binge will be over and I will have run out of excuses for not attending to my rapidly expanding “honey do” list.

Unless, of course, I find something else to binge watch.

Come to think of it, the new season of “Game of Thrones” begins this spring. Now is probably a good time to refresh my memory.

I could use a little more distraction between all those trips to the doctor.