I have lived in my home for twenty nine years, have always thought that I would one day indeed die there, specifically by tumbling down the stairs, in my dotage mind you, I had not contemplated the event occurring for the foreseeable future. Thankfully I can tell you, that no, I am not dead, but I attempted a trial run on the whole death/gravity thing the other day that has left me a bit bruised and worse for wear.
My house was built with a downstairs toilet that is a prehistoric porcelain sidemount jobber that has not been manufactured since Teddy Roosevelt made his famous advance up San Juan Hill. It cracked and is no longer operational. A remediation would require jackhammering lots of concrete and me pulling a whole lot of cabbage out of my wallet, something that has been in short supply since the last time we earthlings saw the Kohoutek comet come around.
Not to divulge too much personal information but a three o'clock in the morning pee in my home requires that I mount and ascend thirteen or so steps and return back after the deed is done by the very same steep descent. Lots of work but I find that it is usually worth the time and trouble and it normally goes like chalk as they say. The general routine has been honed to precision with constant practice, I can say, with no small amount of pride.
In a confluence of events that most resembles quantum tunneling, I almost bought the farm the other night. The cat had planned it to a tee. He left a ball toy on the very last step, obscured in the darkness. He knows that I know the route perfectly, would never turn the light on or vary my steps. After all, I am a mere human, a creature of habit. I tend to follow the script. Smirking he took cover and waited for the events to unfold.
My right arch came down on top of said ball with perfect tangency and sent me pirouetting ass over teakettle, in a clumsy heap on the hard concrete of the bottom landing. Wrenching my hip, knee, ankle and foot, I took stock of my predicament while staring up at the spinning ceiling and realized that I had just hit some orthopedic superfecta. All lemons.
Slowly getting up, I tested each appendage and was received to find that I could still ambulate, sort of anyway, with a new hitch in my giddy-up that most resembles Festus or Chester, I always get them mixed up.
I am pounding ibuprofen, not daring to wonder what bodily function or part will be the next to revolt. As we speak my eyes are dilated, the ophthalmologist telling me not an hour ago that the film behind my right eye should be like clear saran wrap but instead more closely resembles wrinkly opaque wax paper and that the problem will require yet another surgery sometime next month. A very minor one. ZAP. But my protestations that I felt rather blurry in my right eye were indeed correct. he says that my macula is immaculate, at least in its present conception.
I find myself often crossing swords with my physicians about what is truly required, applying a sort of personal triage so as not to go into the poorhouse.
I am going to the hospital tomorrow at 5:30 in the morning for a minor cardiac procedure with anesthesia. Nurse called, said to bring a check for $1350 bucks with me. Every time I see the cardiologist, which is often lately, it is a hundred buck co-pay. It is almost impossible to think about getting preventive or prophylactic treatments these days with the cost of medicine and the shitty state of health insurance.
I was just billed a similar sum from my ER visit, which was close to worthless. I had a strange black spot suddenly appear in my visual field and was worrying about a retinal tear. Doctor said to be very careful when I experienced arcane visual simulacrum. This was accompanied by a searing pain in my right abdomen with visions of dancing bursting appendixes circling around my head like sugarplums. But the cost of the blood panel, urine and ct scan broke my bank and I ixnayed the eye scan out of personal parsimony if not downright cheapness. My inner accountant is starting to ask me if it wouldn't be more cost effective to croak?
I will have to do a cost benefit analysis and get back to me.
Emergency room doctor was alright but he had a little problem of not listening to his patient, lecturing me that the abdominal pain I was feeling was a dull general ache some eight by eight inches in width while I tried to tell him that I was actually experiencing a localized piercing sensation that could be defined to the centimeter. Obviously he knew better about what I felt than I did. When whatever I was feeling finally explodes or ruptures I want somebody to go back and tell him that the dead guy was right in the first place. Maybe make a small notation on the grave stone. I know, I know, I shouldn't be so petty.
My god nobody ever told me that getting old would be this much goddamn fun.