Me, Annie and Pete by Trevor Plumbly
Me and Annie
It was just like last time: a perfectly normal, healthy day until about lunchtime when the old internals decided to bugger things up. It wasn’t an ambulance job this time, just a precautionary tootle up to the doctor’s. I have a ‘lady doctor’ these days; not quite sure if that should be ‘woman doctor’ but all this correctness confuses me a bit: if I said ‘women’s work’ that’d be wrong too, wouldn’t it? Anyway, I’ve never been a ‘blokey’ person and, if I feel a bit off centre, I prefer the news delivered in as gentle a way as possible. Annie did all the usuals, followed by an ECG and blood tests. We returned the following day to get the results, me feeling a bit like the condemned man, only to find that all the tests were negative. That leaves me with two theories: (a) there was nothing wrong with me or (b), there was, but they still didn’t know what it was.
Weighing the Odds
Coming to terms with being a medical mystery is tough. Apparently, a dodgy ticker can drop you at any time, so a bit of forethought seemed like a good idea, not the trembling hand over the last will and testament stuff. Should I check my pulse every hour or so, cut down on the booze, get a bit of religion just in case, or even start being nicer and more sociable to at least ensure that there’ll be fewer empty seats and more damp Kleenex in the funeral parlour? Should I perhaps leave my body to Science? The eyes and liver aren’t going to enrich too many people’s lives, but the other bits worked OK until the power cut; a medical mystery shouldn’t be sneezed at (excuse the pun) and, if anyone’s keeping score up there, it might count for something.
Me and Pete
As I write, I am musing on the prospects of suddenly conking it; a dicky ticker tends to promote contemplative thought. Avoid stress! That’s obviously the caper. They reckon those guru geezers can slow their pulse rate down by just looking at their belly button; I might give that a go if low alcohol beer doesn’t work. Grappling with things spiritual has never been easy for me and my main concern is the Pearly Gates. It seems that once you get past them you’re OK. But Pete’s not just going to say ‘OK Plum, in you go!’ There’s obviously some sort of selection policy involved; clerics and the like probably get fast-tracked but I suppose the rest of us have to queue up for interviews of some sort, and therein lies my problem. How much does the guy actually know? Will he twig it if I leave out the murky bits? More importantly, which way does he swing? Would a Jewish accent tip the scales a bit? It’s all very stressful this spiritual stocktaking, so I’m going to sit outside for a bit. If you are in Auckland and happen to spot an old git sitting on his porch, drinking light beer and copping the occasional look at his navel, don’t worry, it’s just me preparing myself for the trip to a higher spiritual plane and the audition with Pete.