Monday, April 25, 2016

Finding Joy


Finding joy on Mt. Everest: She looks happy!
Today I tried two different approaches to improving my health. The first was calling my traditional, med-school-trained family physician to discuss the fact that I'm not any better than I was two weeks ago when he told me things might "resolve themselves." (Without going into the gory details, let it suffice we are in the realm of digestive issues.) Of course I never spoke to the doctor but instead recited my symptoms to the nurse who answered the phone, at least I assumed she was a nurse but she might have been part of the cleaning crew. She said she would tell the doctor what I said and then asked for the best number to reach me. Six hours later his annoyingly unctuous flunky called and said the doctor had gone home but he recommended I "cut back on dairy, beans and onions and take Miralax," which I have been taking religiously since the last time he told me to take Miralax.

The second was visiting my non-traditional, alternative medicine acupuncturist. He stuck needles in various places, and at least a couple were in the abdominal area so one could only hope. After leaving me on a table with needles here and there for about an hour or so, listening to odd Gregorian chants, he returned to discuss my current symptoms and possible treatments for a good long while, during which time I had his complete attention. Feeling slightly improved, I made another appointment. As I left, he gave me a homework assignment for the coming week: Find joy. In something. In anything, just find some joy, dammit!

Right away we can all agree that the acupuncturist trumped the physician hands down. However, he had given me a difficult prescription, not easily filled at the local CVS: Where the heck does one find joy these days? The last time I had a whole lot of it was when my son was born in 1987. Oh sure, I've had plenty of good times, fun vacations, lots of laughs, memorable evenings, etc. since then. But as for finding real joy, I'm stymied.

I can think of some paths to joy that will probably not happen. Like, for example, I could starve for two weeks and then finally have a decent meal. Even one week would do it. I bet I'd feel joy then. But since I have trouble fasting for the whole day on Yom Kippur, that's highly unlikely. Perhaps one of the seventeen literary agents yet to reject my manuscript will email and say they loved my latest novel and want to get it published and sell the movie rights.  I could rescue an abandoned kitten I find by the side of the road and nurse it back to health. Ditto a puppy. My son could get a recording contract or become exceedingly happy for any other reason. Hillary Clinton could quit the race and disappear. My dead shrink could come back to life and bring Freddie Mercury with him. I could summit Mt. Everest (if I were twenty years younger). I could go sky-diving (if I weren't so afraid of free-falling from great heights). All of these would work.

Or I could just find a new doctor.

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