D. None of the Above: Diary of a not particularly tone old(er)...

D. None of the Above: Diary of a not particularly tone old(er) adult in a walking boot

Pixabay photo

By Daniel Dunaief

Daniel Dunaief

Even if you haven’t read the books, the way I did with my son when he was considerably younger, you probably have heard of the series “Diary of a Wimpy Kid,” right?

It occurred to me to ponder the possibility of a diary of an old(er) man. To that end, here’s my first installment and, no, I’m not going to start with “Dear Diary.”

I woke up this morning and I thought, hmm, my foot doesn’t hurt. What a delightful change! And then I stepped on the floor and I was wrong. My foot, which has been bothering me for a few weeks is still painful, despite the pleasant young doctor less than half my age examining it. The friendly technicians, who sent a jargon filled assessment to my electronic account, recognized that there was swelling and suggested a couple of possible options without a definitive diagnosis or conclusion.

Then, an assistant for my doctor called to schedule a time to review my results. She suggested he’d be available some time next week. Next week??? I gasped and tried not to become irrational or overwrought.

“But my foot hurts now. Is there anyone, like, maybe a nurse, who might be able to call me and tell me what to do for the pain or who can provide a first interpretation sooner than a week?”

I used the word “like” to sound younger, even as I was playing the older-man-in-pain card. Unfortunately, it didn’t teleport me to the front of the line.

“Oh, I’ll see what I can do,” she offered, transmitting a Mona Lisa-style tone through the phone line. Is that a smirk behind your voice? Is that the equivalent of a customer disservice line that says “we’re experiencing higher than normal call volumes and we’ll get to you when we can.”

The day passed without any calls from her, from a nurse, or from a doctor. Then, I thought about the people I used to be responsible for on an ongoing basis. How were they doing? Why hadn’t they called? Oh, right, they’re living their lives which is what my wife and I always wanted for them.

I hoped no news was good news, but no news is sometimes no news, until it makes a sudden transition to something that requires support and help or that merits cheerleading.

After reading through emails, I made some work calls. When reaching out to someone I didn’t know and leaving a message, I spelled my name, using the same “N” for Nancy, “E” for Edgar and “F” for Frank that I heard my father say so many times.

How much time in my life have I spent spelling my vowel-heavy name to someone? Realistically, the chance of the letters making it onto the paper in the right order or, more likely, into an electronic message is remote. More often than not, when someone says my name back to me, I say, “yes, that’s right,” even if they “dun arf” or “do vanoff.”

After I checked a few things off the personal and professional list, I scurried over to the gym, where people much younger than I lifted the weight of small Volkswagens, while others did the kind of abdominal exercises that I’d never attempted or considered. As I watched, trying not to let my jaw drop too far, my stomach hurt, signaling to my brain that I shouldn’t even think about trying those exercises … ever!

Later that night, my wife and I took a friend to a local sporting event, where it was cool enough to require a sweatshirt.

Following behind two people using canes as they walked, our friend asked if I thought a cane might help and, if so, whether he should take one from the men in front of us. I smiled and told him that wouldn’t be necessary.

As we approached our seats, a young woman said the two words associated with the name on the front of my sweatshirt, which advertised our son’s school. Three steps past her, I registered what she said and remembered what I was wearing. I considered turning around, but the moment had passed.