You know your problem?

Headstone picYou might be one of those individuals who enjoys a good ol’ kick back over a carbonara (with life-long friends, even new friends or people you’ve just met) discussing the in’s & out’s of your rectal prolapse or the merits of your ingrown toenail. Well, can I interject here? Yes, we all have our little ailments, aches and pains and moan about them on a regular basis – particularly as we get older and they become more numerous. However, I do NOT wish to know, if you WILL NOT do anything about it! What? ‘Your body’s a temple’ I hear you cry? Well it might be a shadow of its’ former self, by the time I’ve finished taking the shine off it!

Now believe me, I’m all for trying the natural route first, if that’s your bag, but COME-ON people, if there’s a very nice, apparently safe chemical answer out there, then just bite the bullet and try it. You never know, it might just cure you, once and for all. If your doctor said ‘it’s okay’ then you trust your doc, don’t you? (Did you really waste the poor buggers’ time with THAT?) Look on the bright side; you can then focus on another part of your anatomy to devote your time and energies. See? Every cloud…..Of course, I’m not advocating that you ‘block-book ‘yourself in at your doctor’s…

Okay, maybe that’s a bit harsh but recently, I’ve gone through a phase of hearing from a variety of different people about an assortment of minor aches and pains they’ve been afflicted with – but couldn’t possibly take anything for. I call this bunch the Minor Afflicted Brigade (MAB). I myself, am someone who will definitely reach for the painkillers at the first sign of a headache (and why not? I haven’t got the time to entertain it) so you can understand why this would rattle my cage. I’m also not suggesting anyone rush out to panic buy from the chemist either.

Think about it. Why did the good people at GSK or SmithKline Beecham or wherever, spend all that time, energy and money (not to mention the poor lab rats) formulating a product that would zap your pain, bust your bunion, soothe your sufferings etc etc?  I realise there will always be a percentage of people who revel in telling all and sundry about how bad they feel. That’s a given – how it’s affecting their life, how it’s the most excruciating headache they’ve ever experienced blah, blah, blah, yet they haven’t managed to reach for the paracetamol. If you’ve spent hard cash on all the natural remedies (you fool) and let’s face it, rubbing a lavender stick across your forehead is about as useful as a chocolate teapot, then PLEASE dip your crusty toe into some of the TRIED and TESTED methods – or SHUT-up moaning about it!

Now, let’s be clear – I’m talking minor ailments here. I’m loathe to mention ‘man flu’ but I suppose I must. We all joke about this but if it actually were flu (you BIRK), you’d be lying half-naked on a hospital trolley in the ED corridor, waiting about 20 hours for a bed – but you wouldn’t be aware of any of this, because if it were real flu you’d be too delirious to care. It’s a cold, nothing more, nothing less. Pop to the chemist, dose yourself up and be off with you! Again, let me make it perfectly clear, I’m referring to those with simple run-of -the-mill complaints that could easily be remedied with a visit to the local pharmacy. They have EVERYTHING in there. It’s the equivalent to being let loose in Willie Wonka’s Emporium – for those of us with an addiction (undiagnosed) to the sweet stuff, it’s a Nirvana in fact and pharmacists have the big words to label your affliction, give it life, reassure you of it’s importance and to send you home with your feathers all fluffed up nicely.  Ah, that’s better isn’t it…

Now, we’re all fairly intelligent types here, we can determine if something needs more than a band-aid or tweezers but think of the poor sods who have to listen to you drone on and on about that hard necrotic bit of skin on your big toe, or the fact that you just don’t like taking tablets. So – you mean, you don’t mind that your toe might fall off or you like having a banging headache? Where’s the logic in that? There is none. Nor is there any kudos for the person who can always top someone else’s ailment with a horror story of their own – complete with gory magnificence and projected in glorious fabricated technicolour. In fact, these people are nearly worse than the above. Nearly, not quite though (I think they just like an audience). Lucky to be alive, these exhibitionists AND oh so lucky us, that are present to hear them tell the tale – and with such exuberance too! How do people think this kind of information can be well received? I would rather chop off my leg (dosed up on painkillers first, of course) than relay in the style of Hans Christian Anderson the trauma of childbirth, for example. Yes, a joyous occasion, but OH HOLY MOLY!! I like my friends, I want to hang on to them for another while, they don’t want/need to know that my bits were stretched, torn, pulled, dragged and sewn back together into some unrecognisable shape or form. Too much information? OF COURSE IT IS!  Surely this is on a need-to-know basis only?

It’s a risky business, greeting people these days. It’s in our DNA to enquire after health – a simple ‘How are you?’ could tie you up for hours on the intricacies and failings of the small bowel  (I only popped out for milk!) I’m surprised that so many of the MAB manage to get through their day, to be honest.  If the leg was so bad, how did you manage to run for the bus, or post that picture of yourself at the peak of Ben Nevis?

Hats off to you people – Just Sayin


5 thoughts on “You know your problem?

  1. Ah Lizzie
    I waited all week for your blog ..even planned when I was going to read it !! saved it for today to enjoy in the beautiful Sun .😎..your blog along with a dose of Sun has set me up for the week …till next Sat .Slan x

    Liked by 1 person

  2. My circle of familiars doesn’t seem to be quite as horrendous as yours, Lizzie. But I have an aunt who constantly bemoans (like each time I see her, which is often) her tribulations with arthritis and that she doesn’t get around as nimbly as she used to. I’m very sympathetic toward her difficulties. But it seems she presents her interminable, yet unchanging litany of sorrows as though she is unsure the first ten thousand mentions adequately conveyed the gravity of her distress.

    Yes, I get it, auntie. Yes, I love you. And yes, I’m sorry that your joints have become so swollen and painful that it’s become laborious to simply open a jar of mayonnaise or bottle of soda. And I’m also sorry that you can’t do cartwheels anymore. But, for tornado’s sake, aside from all the countless words of comfort and suggestions for assisting in your comfort, what more can I do – besides remaining a sounding board for your immutable complaints about your seemingly endless list of physical ailments (which I’ve become convinced are not as inhibitive as she appears to like to let on)? I mean, you’re in your eighties now! It’s not exactly uncommon for people at this age to experience these things.

    Now, I don’t want to come across as an ogre. I’m not heartless. And it’s not that I necessarily have a problem with her or anybody’s need to “unload.” This is part of being compassionate. But it’s not “what” my aunt says, it’s the “way” she says it and how frequently – as though it’s the most interesting, newsworthy topic of conversation. I mean, beyond acknowledging for the nth time how twisted her fingers look, precisely how far am I expected to go in that sort of chat? Ten minutes? Fifteen? Thirty…? That would be quite a challenge considering that the content and direction of such discussions never vary in the slightest. How many new ways should I try to find to say, “Oh wow…I’m really so sorry, auntie. I know it must be hard for you. I realize you keep saying there’s nothing anybody can do for you, but have you thought about…?”

    This is invariably where any constructive value in that kind of conversation plummets precipitously off the cliff and into the void. Again, it’s not that I don’t care. She is simply and extraordinarily exhausting.

    But like Nietzsche said, what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger. And thank God I’m still alive.


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