1 August 2008

Dead Man Walking……

By any measure I should be dead. Readers of my Blog will know by now that I was born in an area of Glasgow where the average male life expectancy is 54. I’m 57 and a half ! The average age of my mother and father upon their deaths was 53. I’m the oldest surviving male in the Cupples dynasty ….apart from my cousin Tom (yup – another one) who is a good, god-fearing lad and probably goes to church each week whilst I’m afraid the words ‘Jesus Christ’ are mentioned frequently by me but not in any religious sense.

All this makes me a bit paranoid. The slightest twinge in my chest and I’m convinced I’m having a heart attack. The slightest headache makes me think I have a brain tumour and I have headaches frequently but Julie assures me that they are the result of spending another night ‘socialising’ at Tan and Angie’s next door ! A twitchy finger and I’ve got Parkinsons.

I’m sorry if all this is a bit morose, morbid, self-indulgent but at my age without a proper job to take my mind off matters, I think of these things. I’ve just applied for my Carte Vitale (French Health Card) which, despite having been in France for over 9 years, is gradually working its way through the French bureaucratic system so I should get it before I’m 60 ! Now this is tempting fate. In the 9 years in France I’ve only seen a doctor 3 times and all those times it was Julie who said I should go. You see in France you pay €22 (I think that’s the amount) to visit your doctor and J likes to support our local village businesses. In fact she goes to see Doctor Fang so often she has her own chair in the waiting room.

Anyway – three times in 9 years should be adequate reassurance that my body is fit and healthy…..but it doesn’t feel that way. My back is dodgy. 25 years ago I lifted a bit of equipment in IBM which put my back out. Today that bit of equipment would be the equivalent of a memory stick ! Nevertheless when I saw my doctor in England about it some 18 years ago she said I could have an operation but she wouldn’t recommend it ! So I’m afraid the days of pushing the hoover (sorry Dyson) around are long gone. Pulling the dishwasher drawer open is a task too far and even taking the top off my gin bottle is just too risky to attempt….. so I have to get J to do these things for me.

My right ear is non-functional. Again readers will know this is partly due to me sticking suppositories in the wrong orifice when I got an ear infection in Spain. Today, my expensive stereo equipment and surround-sound system is money down the drain and even the slightest drop of water in it makes me lose balance. Well – that’s my story. But being virtually deaf in one ear does have its benefits. I make sure J always sits on my right-hand side ! My affliction also gives me the right to have SHS (selective hearing syndrome) which is a huge bonus when the football or cricket is on the telly. It’s great to hear only what you want to hear and know that if anybody says anything about it you can use the ‘don’t mock the afflicted’ jibe. It makes them feel really bad.

Then there is my wonky knee which was the result of a catastrophic skiing injury. Not catastrophic because of the injury itself but because it happened on the first run of the holiday and I couldn’t get a refund on my ski pass ! My ruptured cruciate anterior ligament has never been fixed. Then, they would rip a bit of your tendon out from your thigh and put it in your knee with the resulting scars looking like you’d had a run in with a great white shark. Nowadays, and I recently had dinner with an eminent American surgeon who specialises in this so I know what I’m talking about, they take the tendon from a dead person and put it in your knee using some sort of ‘through the keyhole’ procedure so you’d never know. Anyway, the result of my knee problems is that completely without warning I can fall over. My knee just gives way and I topple over. Now I know what you must be saying but remember what I said earlier – don’t mock the afflicted.

Now individually, these individual problems don’t cause me too much trouble but a couple of weeks ago they combined to devastating effect. There I was at Tan and Angie’s next door having a quiet tipple or two. Julie was on my right hand side and was saying something like, ‘I think you’ve had enough dear’ which I couldn’t really hear. I got up to lift a bottle of wine from the fridge (we help ourselves at T&As) and my back went. I staggered back to my seat at the table and it was suggested I go back home. As I went down their stairs into the garden my knee went and I crumpled to the ground. Later that night my chest was tighter than Julie’s size ten dress when she puts it on, my head was pounding and my hands were twitching so much I could not hold my nightcap steady. I thought my time had come.

Next morning I was fine – amazing isn’t it ?

1 comment:

Harry McIntosh said...

Hey Thermo ! Like your blog but whats with the wimp stuff !! cmon remember your 'rootes'