I went to my doctor for the first time in over a year, saying I needed drugs. She said my symptoms, fatigue, chest congestion and a runny nose, were just allergies.
I insisted that I had an enervating summer cold. "It's interfering with my comeback to running," I said.
So she prescribed five days of antibiotics. "And also, as long as I'm here . . . ," I continued, and showed her a tender part on my stomach that I have been ignoring for months.
She gave me an appointment to see the surgeon the next morning. That doctor scheduled surgery for me next week, saying that although the condition wasn't serious, if an incarceration occurred that developed into a strangulation, that would be serious indeed.
"Just a two-hour outpatient procedure," he said, smiling reassuringly. "We'll give you a local anaesthetic and a relaxant, and after a couple of hours in the recovery room, you'll be ready to go home."
"Of course someone will have to pick you up afterwards. You won't be able to drive because of the medication."
I live alone. Everyone I know works, and I can't ask any of them to take hours off from work just to drive me home ten blocks.
"I only live a mile away so I'll walk home," I told the doctor. His smile vanished.
"No you won't walk home after the operation, or drive home yourself, or get into a taxi. Someone we can turn responsibility for you over to will come to pick you up or I'll cancel the surgery."
I do have family members in the area. Three sons, all in their twenties now, for whom I paid tens of thousands of dollars in child support after the divorce while they ignored court-ordered visitation.
Furthermore, each child upon his eighteenth birthday came into a trust fund, set up by my Mother before she died to be used for their benefit and worth almost a hundred thousand dollars. I have also provided for full payment of each child's college tuition and fees.
None of these lads has communicated with me in years. Their Mother, a local first grade teacher, refuses to provide me with their addresses, or give me any news at all about them.
My adult children aren't an option for me in my moment of need. Maybe I can hire the neighborhood kid who dropped out of college to come pick me up after the operation and drop me off in front of my house.