Health Issues


Thursday August 15th, 2013 – Fox Lake, IL

   Although I barely remember it, when I was a wee lad I spent about ten days in the hospital with a pretty serious case of pneumonia. From what my grandparents told me in later years, they were not completely sure I was going to make it out. I must have been three or four years old at most.

   From what I heard through childhood, the doctors told me I’d be susceptible to pneumonia for the rest of my life. Oh, boy! There’s something to look forward to. I suppose it could have been a lot worse, as kids get all kinds of diseases. Some of them die before they grow up. Life isn’t fair.

   As I grew up, every few years or so like clockwork I’d get sidelined with a miserable infection that knocked me out of commission for several days. It always seemed to be in the summer when I was out of school, and I remember how cheated I felt. Why couldn’t I get it in the school year?

   It’s been a long time since I’ve had ‘the crud’ as my grandparents used to call it, but I’m afraid it’s back by unpopular demand. I started to feel all congested on Sunday out of the blue, and then on Monday a barking cough came along with it. I’m not a doctor, but it sure feels like it used to.

   I don’t think it helps that I’ve never had my tonsils out either. For whatever reason the doctors chose to leave them in, and it’s been another source of random infections. Every once in a while they swell up to the size of raviolis and I fight a brutal sore throat for a few days. Then it’s done.

   My entire medical history has been rather freakish at best. I didn’t have the chicken pox until I was 19, and I don’t know of anyone else who had them that late. Supposedly it can cause one to be sterile, so maybe it was Mother Nature’s way of preventing me from spreading my freak gene.

   Another thing I found odd as a kid was that I contracted pink eye – TWICE. Who gets it once? None of my friends ever got it, and I don’t know how I did. The doctor said I probably got it at a public pool where I was taking swimming lessons, but who knows? I just remember it was icky.

   Other than those few glitches though, I’ve been remarkably healthy. I’m not one of those types that catch a cold every year, and I’ve never ever had a flu shot. It seems like those that get a shot are always the first ones to get sick, and I’ve never trusted the procedure. I’ve taken my chances, and so far I haven’t caught the bug. If the Black Plague comes back, I’ll think about a shot then.

   If it’s in the cards for someone to get a disease, they’re going to get it. Genetics have a lot to do with everything about our lives. My grandmother was a compulsive neat freak to the point of her constantly scrubbing her telephone receiver, doorknobs and toilet seat. She’d bring a Tupperware container filled with soap and water in the car when she went somewhere in case she needed it to sanitize something. Wouldn’t you know it that she of all people happened to contract ringworm.

   I found that to be hilarious as a kid. Here’s the one person that could give Felix Unger a run for his money on cleanliness, and she gets ringworm. Gramps found it funny too, and it was the start of one of their biggest arguments I had ever seen. Grandma had ZERO sense of humor about it.

   Another weird case was Andy Kaufman. Somehow he managed to contract lung cancer but had never smoked a cigarette in his life. How does this happen? It’s some kind of genetic freak show, and none of us can control it. The instant that one single sperm hits the egg, our destinies are set. I shouldn’t complain that I get a coughing spell every few years. At least it’s not pink eye again.

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