Monday, October 27, 2014
This is for my friends. They have listened to me bitch, whine, moan, and make myself otherwise ridiculously pitiable (or perhaps pitiful) over the last three years as my health took a nosedive and my perception of mortality sharpened.
The truth is I have very few friends and too many acquaintances. The latter have taken me to lunch once and told me about their own health issues, or those of their late Aunt Pearl, a saintly woman who underwent the torments of hell without once complaining.
I took this to mean benign conversation was far preferable to talk of woes and fears, and so waxed euphoric about the kale salad and baked artichoke hearts on the menu.
My friends, on the other hand, have listened, often with pursed lips and furrowed brows. They have not given me spurious advice (“Have you seen a doctor?” asked one acquaintance), or suggested I travel to Mexico to see the holistic shaman who successfully treated the cousin of their secretary’s mother. They have encouraged me to have two half-pound Big Bites from 7/11 following surgery, if this was my wish, then did not utter a word of counsel after I related that this post-operation meal had not in the least agreed with me.
My friends often don’t say anything at all about my health unless I bring the subject up. Then they ask intelligent questions and suggest practical solutions. They don’t get annoyed when I tell them at the last minute that I won’t make it to their party, or that I can’t attend the concert they bought me a ticket to, or that the long-planned recording session for a song my band Cash & Carry is putting together will have to be rescheduled..
Personally, I think there’s nothing more boring than listening to someone else’s health-related stories. Yes, there are funny ones (like the surgeon who, after my third bladder cancer operation, called me and said, “Hello Mabel! How’s your ankle?”) and there are horrible ones (like the nurse who accidentally and erroneously sent me a letter suggesting I get my affairs in order as I had just a few weeks to live), but by and large there is nothing to be gained by recounting the sorry tales of one’s declining years. Yet when I do, my friends listen.
One has driven me half-a-dozen times to and from surgery, and gently humors me when I come out of it completely loopy and stoned. He talks to the doctor after the operation and endures being thought of as my gay partner. He fills my prescriptions, takes me to my house and then calls later in the evening to make sure all is well.
So this is for my friends. You know who you are and I love you all.