Ever on the Cusp of Wearing Myself Out

I was so surprised I almost dropped my syringe.
                 —Nick Cave

I had X-rays taken of my neck this morning, a formality to rule out anything "gnarly," and run up the medical bills another $700. The doctor appears confident my shoulder aches come from my neck and believes I likely need a little physical therapy to clear them up. That's all supposing the X-rays don't find anything serious, which we don't expect to happen, but you never know.

The more immediate threat facing me is surviving the office visits. During my last in-person consultation, I shared the waiting room with a woman suffering from a wet, gurgling cough. Every time she had to cough, she'd lift her procedure mask up to clear her mouth and nose, presumably to prevent it from collecting sputum and other such bodily goops, have herself a good hack, then return the mask to its proper position. If I were the type of person to become aghast, I'd likely have been aghast on my way to appalled. But she was looking far worse for the eighty or ninety years of wear on her, and I wasn't going to be the one to suggest she ought to be more polite about dying in public, so instead, I did my very best not to breathe.

As the weather begins to warm and trees explode gently into bloom, I'm reminded there are a great many causes for coughs that aren't COVID, a fair number of which are far worse. Wandering about the apartment in search of an albuterol inhaler, I consider myself fortunate that a touch of seasonal allergy-induced asthma is the worst of my lot in that respiratory regard, despite the better efforts of my youth to the contrary.


X-rays came back with indications of mild generalized facet arthrosis, most likely a touch of arthritis. They tell me that's good news. Personally, I never expected to live long enough to have discussions about mild arthritis or retirement funds, so pretty much everything is a mixed-bag from my point of view.

PJ Harvey - Dress - HD Live (V Festival 2003)