As we age we can skirt sheepishly against the edges of once vibrant and inclusive lives. Like half-ghosts, our former selves begin to disappear. Our conversations are peppered with an apology for our thinning hair, sagging flesh and declining mental acuity.
Ageing in full view is exposing and humiliating in a society that promotes youth and beauty. Doctors surgeries offer up humanity, raw and on display. A menagerie of middle age tattooed flesh, crying babies, walking frames, recalcitrant toddlers and those whose burden is the fear of a bad news.
I have frequented doctors surgeries far too often over the past four years through necessity rather than choice. Some people however visit daily.
I knew a hypochondriac once. He manufactured and imagined a creative array of conditions. It was an impressive performance. There was a constant appeal for sympathy in every glance or verbal exchange. A headache was a medulloblastoma, a toothache an abscess promising jaw disfigurement and a twinge, an impending knee reconstruction.
In his defence, he was stuck in the mouth, by a horse when he was a toddler. A candidate for post traumatic stress disorder, he has been stuck in flight mode since.
These days, I have little patience for those who clog up the system with phantom aliments.
There are alternative options to socialise and maintain connectivity with others through a variety of community service programs or by the act of volunteering.
Like a an experienced emergency nurse once said’, It is called Emergency, come back when you f*cking have one!’.