By Alexander "Sandy" Prisant
"It's all normal," they say, they being the doctors.
Is this what normal is like? No big deal—not like stroke symptoms or a cancer diagnosis—just a seemingly innocuous composite of symptoms, pseudo-smiling specialists, new pills, old tests.
Nobody’s saying anything dramatic, but in the back of your mind—even in the mind of a man who’s lived with this since FDR, for God’s sake, you can't help wondering:
Is this it? Am I on the conveyor belt that isn’t going anywhere good? Is this what it’s like? You just wear down, piece by piece by ultrasound?
And now I can only sit here in the dog park and watch my two sweet bitches run without me? While the wife of my life, who seems more heroic daily, hits tennis balls to the girls we call “the Schnauzer Sisters” for short. While I sit over here on a bench, on the sidelines. My new pacemaker is still bandaged. There are scabs across my chest from the sticky residue of monitoring leads applied over and over again in recent weeks (talk about duplication in the health system!); and my left arm remains grotesquely swollen after the pacemaker procedure. I’m wondering: am I starting to look like the disabled, the crippled, the halt and lame? Like the people we all furtively gawk at in the street? Am I starting to look like those people??
But the doctors remain as stone-faced as something out of a Pyramid. “It’s all normal,” they say.
Meanwhile, my feet and lower legs are so swollen they could serve as the foundation for a two-story shopping mall. Or a 24-screen multiplex. As a good renal patient, one of the first lessons in life was to briefly check my feet for edema (fluid build-up) every morning. I’ve been doing it by rote for a lifetime. Never any edema. For twenty-thousand days straight.
Now, I’m suddenly looking at The Feet That Ate The Bronx. So is this it? Or just another detour?
“It’s all normal,” they say.Sandy Prisant lives in Florida with his wife Susan. In March, he embarked on an incredible writing project, one that he suggested might be his last. Part One appeared March 13, 2011. Part Two appeared March 16, 2011, Part Three appeared on March 27th, Part Four on May 1st, Part Five on May 5th and Part Six on May 25th. Please keep writing Sandy, you are an incredible inspiration, reminding us that life is as fragile as flowers in a garden -- and it passes as quickly as a hummingbird's wings!