Talking to Tony
One of them is my neighbor. He sat across me at one of the dinner tables at a mutual friend's birthday celebration last night. We talked shop—beginning with the day he and his wife welcomed my family to the neighborhood, to our children now all grown-up with families all their own.
Then as sure as night follows day, our conversation moved to illnesses and medication. This Tony is an engineer, but sounds like a physician. He knows all the medical terms of his physical infirmities and the generic terms of his prescribed medicines.
He's suffering from gazillions of ailments—diabetes and all its complications, a knee injury that may soon need surgery, failing eyesight due to cataracts, and a hearing impairment from loud gunshots during shooting practices in his youth. His most fervent prayer request is to live four more years for his 50th wedding anniversary.
He now goes around the mall in a wheelchair, but can still do chores like hosing the plants in his garden, which is where I see him when I do my walks early in the morning.
After that sumptuous party meal, falling asleep for me was easier than usual. By 8 PM, I was all zonked out. Then at around 12 midnight, I woke up with a nagging ache in my right hip.
Kidneys! Exactly like Tony's graphic description of kidney pain.
My tummy did a somersault. Acid reflux! The symptoms are exactly as Tony described them as well.
I tossed and turned, counted my blessings, but couldn't go back to sleep. I tried to rub on liniment over my kidneys and drank hot water for my acid reflux. Nothing worked.
Thank God for Tony—not the ailing neighbor, although I thank God for him, too—the one who's now sleeping like a log in my bed, nights are not always like this. He gets me occupied with challenges that keep my mind off my errant imagination or hypochondria.
He has taken to occasional nagging these days (“You forgot to turn off the hallway light.” “You have to charge your cellphone.” “Take your bath now before it gets too cold.” “How come your son isn't home yet?” “You're eating that for breakfast?!.” etc.), but he talks not about kidneys and tummies but about the latest juggernaut in the current book he's reading.
He also always (!) has an opinion on current events, issues—local, regional, international—and always (!) defends a side with the verbal passion and language of a young activist.
Hey, the pain in my kidneys has eased, and the acid in my tummy has calmed down. I just might take that oft-postponed blood lab test—first thing next week.
I think Grace is singing me a lullaby; I'll go back to sleep now. Good night. Rather, good morning!