A cruise. That’s the ticket. It’s been a difficult year and, while I can’t actually GO on a cruise right now, PLANNING a cruise sounds terrific.

What spurred this magnificent idea was a television commercial. I don’t watch much television and when I do it’s usually no-commercial streaming, so this was like the Heavens telling me I was meant to do this thing.

A distant shot of a huge multi-level shiny white ship slowly zoomed in to a happy couple relaxing in a hot tub on an otherwise deserted deck. The scene switched to an off-ship excursion and there was my couple, walking hand in hand down a sparsely populated old European street. Then they were in chairs on an empty beach watching the waves and sipping umbrella drinks as the sun began to set.

Ahhhhh. The peace, the beauty.

No time to waste. (Actually, there was plenty of time to waste as I can’t go on any vacation in the immediate future, but I needed to hurry up and get to planning.) I went to my research library – commonly called Google – and looked up cruises. I saw some special deals that brought hope. I just might be able to afford to cruise in this lifetime.

The websites depicted spacious cabins with balconies overlooking calm sparkling waters. Well-appointed dining rooms served gourmet meals accompanied by glasses of wine, red and white. Small theaters featured big name entertainers in an intimate setting. Yes.

More in-depth research revealed that the deals that fit my budget did NOT include spacious cabins with balconies, but miniscule rooms that were more like berths in the bowels of the ship with bathrooms that were airplane facilities with the world’s tiniest showers added.

Yes, there are luxury ships that resemble the ideas that had grown in my head, propagated by the commercials and the copious post-Google-search in-ternet ads. But the even semi-accessible cruises were in huge vessels with 5,000 other passengers jammed onto the decks waiting for space in a chair by the pool or a spot in a hot tub touching knees with strangers.

Adventurous extroverted people-loving folks might not see any negatives in this description. But I am an introvert. Five people I am not related to constitutes a crowd, a mob, in my mind. More than one other person in a hot tub with me is unthinkable. And that one other person better be related to me, or at least be a long-time friend.

As for the entertainment – more likely to be karaoke and shuffleboard in throngs than a quiet table listening to a popular musician. I would likely end-up in my berth reading a book the entire cruise trying to avoid the 5,000 other people. Even so, I would have to come out for meals. There is purportedly food a-plenty, but the reality of the luxurious dining room on a (for me) affordable cruise is a large cafeteria where 3,000 of those passengers decided to

eat at the exact same time I did. As for my red and white wine – not included in the “all-inclusive” package.

And the excursions? I had pictured a stroll down a picturesque street alone or with a friend.  Leisurely visits to historic sites. A tiny bit of shopping in a local open market. The pictures I saw more closely resembled a lynch mob, or Black Friday shoppers. Potato, poTAHto.

Now, before cruise lovers and angry cruise lines beat me up over this, I DO allow that there could be – Lord, help us, there MUST be – small luxury cruise lines that offer a more intimate experience. And I acknowledge that what I’ve described is not abhorrent to a segment of folks. I am just not in that segment.

What is needed, in my opinion, is a dedicated cruise line for introverts. Happily, my searching finally provided the answer. I hope to set sail this summer on a small vessel with a short passenger list. The amenities are limited, but are tailored to my specific likes and needs. Yes, indeed, I and some of my kids with some of their kids and a picnic cooler are gonna spend a whole day on a pontoon boat.  And disembark at the end of the day happier, kinder people for it.



I may be a little bit distracted.  I went into the kitchen to make a quick cup of coffee while I pondered the most recent in a series of unfortunate events.  When I heard the plunk of a K-cup instead of the hiss of brewed coffee landing in my cup, I brought my full attention to the task at hand.

“Not really paying attention, are we?” I asked.  We being just me,  I answered.  “Nope, afraid not.”

I looked at the situation from the point of view of someone who did not know me well, really well.  “Early onset Alzheimer’s?” they might ask.  (Not that early if truth be told.)  No, I didn’t forget how to make coffee, I just went kind of autopilot, but sent the K-cup in the wrong direction.

Going in the wrong way is definitely not a new thing.  For one, I was born devoid of a sense of direction. Case in point:  Once, at a restaurant, I walked out of the ladies’ room straight into the men’s room because it seemed like that was the right direction.  The inhabitants quickly assured me it was not.

More pertinent, though, is the fact that if I am distracted, my body takes over and does things without consulting my mind.  To illustrate this, I will mention some of the many places I have visited –accidentally.  My sister and I and our kids used to go on vacation together.  We once went to Arkansas to see Graceland.  Another time, we were headed to Trenton, N. J. to see the Liberty Bell.  We spent a long time on the loop around Washington, D.C., calling out, “Kids, Washington Monument,” each time was passed that venerable edifice.  (Think Chevy Chase in “European Vacation. ” If you haven’t seen it, watch it so you will understand.)  We regularly missed exits because we were talking and, thus, distracted.  We did eventually see the Liberty Bell and Graceland, but we saw more of the country in route than we intended.

But this goes deeper than missing an exit.  I can remember losing an entire cup of fresh coffee when I was attending college, a single mom in my early 30s.  After looking in every room, I finally gave up and went on to class, completely perplexed and with no coffee.  A month later, I found the cup — now topped with a green furry layer of yuck – on a shelf in the coat closet.  I immediately remembered exactly what had happened.  I  had taken a sip of coffee, then thought about my camera for photography class, went in the closet, absentmindedly set the cup down, got the camera, walked out to put it with my books, then went to finish getting ready for the day.  Sometime in that process, I thought about my coffee and started the search.

Long before that, as a teenager, I would do things like forget I was making a sandwich and start sweeping the kitchen.  Of course, I was in the throes of puppy love at the time, which is almost the definition of distracted.

Looking at all this, I realized that with my history, we really won’t know when or if to worry about Alzheimer’s.  One coffee pod dropped into a cup instead of the Keurig machine is really no indication of trouble on the horizon.

I went to take a shower, pondering this, but with no great concern.  As I was rinsing, I noted the peppermint smell in the air and realized I had just taken my entire shower with shampoo instead of body wash.  Distracted?  Alzheimer’s?  Oh well, either way, I’ll probably be the best smelling resident of the home!

Someone I once considered a dear friend said I was accident prone. I was miffed. I was indignant. My knickers went into an immediate twist.

Me? I may not be the soul of grace, but accident prone? I don’t think so. I made a quick goodbye and hung up the phone. It was too early for wine, so I decided a cup of coffee would help me think this through with a clear head. I hobbled into the kitchen and fired up the Keurig. I had somehow managed to catch my big toe nail on the bottom of a cardboard box a couple of days earlier, initiating a toenail removal that was completed the next day by an urgent care doctor. This incident is what elicited the accident prone comment.

I mean anyone can have an accident once in a while, but accident prone? Adding cream to my coffee, I thought back to my last visit to urgent care.

It was at least three months earlier. I was trying to pull a gigantic and tenacious weed out of the raised planter box in order to plant tomatoes. The large, deep roots wouldn’t budge, so I leaned over the edge of the box for leverage and felt the resulting pop and give. Not the weed, my ribs. I tossed aside the trowel and went inside immediately to lie down. Getting back up, or turning over, or, for that matter, moving at all caused pain in the offended rib cage. I asked Brad, my son who is unfortunately (for him) close enough to be called on in emergencies, to come and exact revenge on the weed. Then I went to urgent care. Not broken, they said, deep bruise and maybe a separation.

So two accidents in three months. That’s not so bad. As I sipped the hot, caramel-colored liquid, I remembered an incident when I was rushing to extinguish a fire in the oven and stepped into the dog’s food bowl, skated across the kitchen floor, landed on my left shin and knee, then somehow bounced and ended up on my back with my head reeling and my leg throbbing.

A couple of years before that, I went to take the dog out in a driving rain around midnight wearing flipflops and slid down the back steps. Well, one leg slid down, one stayed behind with the dog. The X-ray the next morning at the ER showed a break just above the ankle. It would require surgery and, as it turned out, about three months of a cast then boot and limited activity. A year or so before that, an ungrateful horse threw me out of the arena, through the top rail of a board fence and into the paddock across the aisle from the arena. I guess I flew a little bit. The resulting broken wrist had to wait for a cast until the swelling went down.  The morning I was to see the orthopedic for the cast, I caught my second toe in a deflated air mattress and, yep, broke it.

The so-called friend had mentioned that she had ridden horses since she was in onesies almost and had never had an accident. I never should have told her about the Arabian that bucked me off on the rails-to-trails equestrian trail. Or the Tennessee Walking horse that bucked me off in the practice arena. Both of those incidents resulted only in a hematoma or two, but I guess they still qualify as accidents.

Then there was the time the skittish rescue horse knocked me down and stepped on my arm, convincing both me and the ER physician the arm was broken, until an X-ray showed it wasn’t. Contusions and bone bruise. A few years before that my right foot was forever prevented from wearing high heels when a runaway mare slipped in the mud and went down with me under her, breaking the stirrup and doing some undiagnosed thing to the joint under the big toe and causing an immediate bunion-like protrusion. The hoof-shaped bluish discoloration at the base of the other toes was from a very large horse planting his foot on mine a few months before that.

Then there was the car accident that left me with a chipped pelvis and a temperamental SI joint that still doesn’t like certain movements, a bike accident or two . . .  .

Hmmmmm.  Maybe I am accident prone.  And now I am depressed on top of that.  I think I will get that wine after all — and make a phone call to a very dear friend of mine.


One of my many incarnations (or personalities, as mentioned in a recent post here) is as a farmer.  Not just any farmer, mind you, a homesteader — self sufficient, living off grid,  growing and preserving my own crops, and raising livestock.  This dream has been around almost as long as my vision of being an acclaimed novelist.

The writing dream was born one summer Saturday morning as I was sitting at a long heavy table in my local library.  As I breathed in the heady aroma– exhaled by paper, leather, and cloth bindings; old wood; and possibly furniture wax– I looked at the shelves filled with the work of writers ranging from

© Dmitry Morgan | Dreamstime.com

long ago to the newest best-sellers.  I dreamed of one day being right up there among them, my work hanging out with the likes of Mark Twain, Charles Dickens, and Victoria Holt.  Even then, before I ever even hit my teenage years, I was a complex being.

My grandparents and great-grandparents had farms.  A city kid, I loved the trips to the country, the fresh food, the barnyards, the animals.  I would ride around on an imaginary horse and dream of a life like that.  Years later, while living in Alaska, I met homesteaders. This tough breed built their own log cabins and lived an independent lifestyle.  They hunted, trapped, raised livestock, and gardened in the short but intense growing season.  They had huge stacks of firewood for stoves that provided both heat and the means to cook.  It was a dream life.  Of course, they had no indoor plumbing and their showers were homemade cubicles in the front yard rigged to a bucket and a 55-gallon drum.  But that was a small matter, easy to minimize when I lived in an apartment with an electric stove, central heat, and a fully functioning bathroom.

I presented my case to my military spouse.  It would be an adventure, I said.  A great life in an unspoiled environment.  My spouse did not agree.  Instead of getting a bit of inexpensive land and researching cold weather chicken breeds, he completed his enlistment, got his discharge from the Army, and took us back to the lower 48.  He went into sales and I wrote short stories about raising chickens in the snow.

When we later went our separate ways, I went into journalism instead of farming.  I do, however, watch Homestead Rescue frequently, and I once wrote about a goat farm.

Nowadays, I am retired and I find myself still mentally switching between homesteader and literary giant (all those other personalities take a back seat to these two).  I look at ads for small-holdings (that’s what we homesteaders call small pieces of acreage), then get a cup of coffee and sit down to write that best-selling novel that will one day be taught in literature classes.  I did write a novel, but so far no literature classes – or big publishing houses – have begun clamoring at my feet.

I am a die-hard optimist, however, so I am promoting my novel and writing another.  And I just got done feeding the chickens, goats, cows, cats, guineas, dogs, and chinchillas.  Now, I am going to take an allergy pill, leave my son’s farm, and go back to my own house where the only other living things are a philodendron and a peace lily.  I may stop by the library on the way and visit my good friends, Mark, Charles – and Vicky.

A birthday does not mean I am another year older.  I am, but that is beside the point.  I celebrate the day of my birth because it began an amazing journey of wonderful people, laughter, adventures, love, happiness, and abundance.  Along the way there have been not so wonderful people, tears, misadventures, disappointment, sorrow, and lack.  But that, too, is beside the point.  If I can learn and grow from the bad times, the good times are just that much better.

In the spirit of living every moment to the fullest, I went out exploring on my big day.  I got in the car, decided on a direction, and started driving.  Up a curvy mountain road, with foliage kissed with the first blush of Fall color, I saw an old country general store advertising great barbecue and live music.  I wheeled into the parking lot, went inside, and sampled food, music, and ambience before continuing on.  Good decision.

Back in the car, I remembered Linville Gorge as a place I wanted to explore and was informed by Siri that Linville Gorge has a last name – Wilderness.  Now, a woman born without a sense of direction has no business wandering around a wilderness alone.  I mentally rescheduled that adventure for when my son and his family can go with me and prevent me from living my last days eating wild berries and trying to recall trapping tips from the reality TV show Alone.

I reined in my spirit of adventure just a hair and decided to go to Linville Falls instead.  With Google Maps to keep me on the right path, I ventured on.  At the falls, I picked up a map and set off on a trail the attendant called “moderate.”  It looked deceptively level.  I huffed and puffed for what I figured was a couple of miles, stopping to regain my breath and slow my heart at every bench, log, or tree stump I came to.  The trail was decidedly not level, but younger (and some older) people kept whizzing right by me, still able to talk and breathe at the same time.

At the top of one stretch, I came to a crossroads.  The devil wasn’t there, but a sign was, and it informed me that my destination, Erwin View, was still 4 miles away.  However, an overlook was only 500 feet away.  Can we guess which I chose?

When I got closer to take a picture of the sign, however, I saw what, upon even closer inspection, was a decimal point with the white paint worn away.  My chosen destination was only a quarter of a mile away, not four.  My overtaxed heart could manage that, I thought, so I set off.  I did manage it and it was beautiful.  The moderate path didn’t get me as close to the falls as the tougher trails would have, but I spent a good long while enjoying the cool air and the sight and sound of the falls across the river.

The return trip was much easier and my heart and lungs were suitably grateful.  I got back to my car feeling very proud of myself for pushing on and figured I had gotten some miles in, probably four or five.  I opened my map again and looked at the Erwin View trail –1.7 miles!  Round trip.

Heading back homeward for an evening where I was to be treated to grilled steaks, Caesar salad, and homemade chocolate cake – all while wearing a birthday tiara –I reflected on the day.  It was kind of a life lesson.  Great rewards usually come with great challenges, but just making an effort can yield a beautiful payoff.  Another revelation was that I need hiking boots and one of those trekking poles.  Maybe a compass, too.  Next birthday, I’m taking on the wilderness!



Could I have multiple personality disorder?

Maybe so, because I am having trouble keeping track of who I am.  See, I met a lady whose daughter wants to learn to ride horses and my mind flashed back to days and daydreams gone by.  One of those dreams was of riding cross country on horseback, camping along the way.  I could see it; I might could still do it.  Of course, I don’t have a horse, I don’t know anyone here who does have a horse, and I can’t even camp out on an air mattress on my own floor without paying a mighty price.  Caught up in the throes of this personality, however, I immediately went downstairs and checked on the well-being of the saddle I can’t quite seem to give up.  It was alive and well and beaming out hope.

I never went on that horseback trip back in those days because I was doing the whole 40-hour work week thing, broken up by a two-week vacation in the summer with the kids.   See?  That’s yet another personality.  I enjoyed writing for a living, and I enjoyed my children.  We had a blast on those vacations.

Now I am retired.  The 40-hour routine is done with, and the children have long flown the coop.  I now have the freedom to reinvent myself however I choose.  Well, there are limitations because most of my would-be inventions involve substantial amounts of money – which I don’t currently have (enter the lottery winning personality).


A few days ago, I watched a movie called “Dog,” and I got right on Google and started browsing websites looking for puppies and envisioning my solitary life with my faithful canine companion.  I briefly considered a career as an animal communicator.  I’ve read about that, but so far, I have never intuited anything animals might want to pass along to me or others.  So, I guess that plan is shot to heck.

Today I was watching a movie about a former movie star who escaped her old-folks home (these days they are called retirement communities or assisted living) and went on an impromptu adventure to France.  So, I promptly checked my passport to be sure I could just jump and run at a moment’s notice.  Again, the money thing reared its ugly little head.

Over the past couple of years, I have imagined a semi-reclusive life in the mountains growing herbs and creating healing ointments and elixers.  In that particular life movie, Bambi and the racoons all gather round my doorstep awaiting my company, while birds sing on the porch rails and chipmunks scurry around my feet.

In a different reel, I am traveling the country seeing stuff and selling books at independent book stores from coast to coast.  In yet another, I own only a suitcase, a carryon, and good shoes.  I disembark from a 30-day cruise and climb onto a bus for a European tour.  Then I spend a couple of months in a cottage in Scotland, and maybe back onto a ship for another cruise.

As I replaced my passport, dusted my saddle, and checked the herb garden, I realized that these competing visions of the future might not be what most people experience, so I sat down to really analyze this issue.  And that’s when I came up with MPD.   The only problem there is that all my personalities are perfectly well aware of the others, and no one is in charge.

Ideally, I would integrate these folks into one free spirit who wears silk palazzo pants while riding a horse into the mountains to feed the deer and forage for wild herbs to make medicines to take on the ship when I sail away to summer in the south of France.

But therapists aren’t cheap either, so I guess we will all have to try to live together peacefully.   Or maybe it isn’t a disorder at all.  Maybe it’s Walter Mitty syndrome.  Or maybe they are all really choices and I have some fun times ahead.  The only problem is that troublesome issue of money.  You know what they say, “Money is the root of all adventure.”





Is it just me or does it scream “RECENT TRANSPLANT” if you fall out of your own yard three time while trying to mow the grass?

My prior lawn mowing escapades have included running a new Zero Turn mower over two of my prize blueberry bushes before I got the hang of the thing, but I’ve never fallen out of the yard before.  Granted, I was in the deep South where a fire ant mound constitutes undulating topography.  Now I am in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains and my front lawn slopes steeply from my porch to the road.  A few weeks ago I was using the apparently ancient riding lawnmower I had bought after attempting to coerce a push mower around Mount Phyllis.  And it was self-propelled—the lawn mower, not the mount.  (Note to self.  Disengage the self-propel function when going DOWN the incline.)

So, anyway, being low on funds, I searched for an affordable riding mower.  Being low on mechanical saavy . . . I bought one.  The first time I tried to use it, I thought I would surely either topple over going sideways across a mini mountain or rush headlong to a spectacular death speeding down said mountain.  But by the time I finished the front yard—and a bottle of cheap red wine—it wasn’t so bad.  I had learned when to go sideways, when to go up the incline and when and how fast to go down the incline.  (Otherwise, you either fall out of the yard or slide backwards into the road.)  I had also learned the intricacies of self-propel, as I still had to push mow the scariest places.

Unfortunately, each time I used the riding mower, it worked less well.  It slid around and backwards on the hills unless the ground was very dry and the grass was very short—in which case it didn’t need mowing anyway.  Add to that, the cutting deck apparently became unlevel (maybe when I got stuck on the little tree trunk), as it scalped on one side of the cut and was long on the other, requiring a second pass.

When I got done, I called my son – who MAY be wishing I would go back to undulating ant hill territory – to witness the lawn mowing fiasco.  My front yard looked like it had been attacked by a horde of mutant land-dwelling vegetarian piranhas.  As my neighbors all keep their lawns immaculately manicured, this dilemma may resolve itself when I am run out of the neighborhood on a rail—or on my own ancient, inefficient, limping riding mower.

My son looked at the yard in wonder, or was that dismay, then went into the garage to check out the lawnmower.  After a brief inspection he said, “Uh, Mom, did you know your back tires are flat?”  I looked. The left one was low and went flat when weight was applied, but the right one was undeniably flat as a pancake. (We say flat as a flitter down in flatlander country, but what the heck is a flitter?  Could it be a fritter and I’ve been saying it wrong for decades?  But I digress.)

Well that explained the piranhas and also corroborated the reason there is a petition in at least two states to prevent me from handling any kind of tools, yard or otherwise.  Said son aired up the tires, which promptly went flat, and then had tubes put in them and I was back in business.  The yard is neatly mowed, but there was still the matter of the edging.  I’ve just ignored it all summer, except for the one time I tried to weed eat with a pair of scissors.

There was only one thing to do, so I went to the Agricultural Warfare Armaments Division HQ (commonly known as Lowes Garden Department) and purchased an electric weed eater – and a hedge trimmer for good measure.  I came home, and I have suited up and am going in. Lord have mercy, Baby’s got her power tools on!

I am offended.  I opened Facebook this morning and saw this: “Phyllis, it’s almost your birthday.  That did not offend me.  But it was followed by links to pages for Alzheimer’s Association and 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline! That DID offend me.

I have always enjoyed birthdays — mine and other people’s.  I thought they were a day to celebrate – my own entrance into this life and the fact that the world was graced with their presence.  Apparently, I’ve been doing it wrong.  And now I seem to have been warned that this upcoming birthday is the beginning of a major downward spiral.  Either I am going to want to escape using drastic measures, or I’m just not going to remember it at all.

And here I thought I was starting a new chapter.  I was planning on making the next 20 or so years the best ones ever.  I have started writing a new book; I’ve begun laying the groundwork to seriously market the books I’ve already written; I’ve been daydreaming about spending springtimes in Europe.  I wanted to take up hiking and maybe ride a horse again once in a while.

So, now what?  Do I go into mourning  for my lost youth and all the opportunities I allowed to pass me by?  Do I cultivate a deep depression?  (I’ve never been very good at staying depressed.)  Or maybe I should take up heavy drinking and get a jump start on the forgetting.  Or combine the two – get drunk and become absolutely maudlin, then forget why.

Then I looked outside.  There were deer in the yard and cardinals at the bird feeder.  The sun was shining and the air was cool.  What do you know about anything, Facebook?  I closed the app and put on my walking shoes (got to build up for hiking, just in case).  Today, the only thing I will forget is that I am getting older.  But maybe instead of my morning smoothie, I will put a martini in my Yeti cup.  Gotta hedge my bets, after all.


It is midmorning and I just finished doing three loads of laundry, vacuuming all the German Shedder hair floofs up from the entire house – including under the furniture — and mopping the floors.  Big deal, most of you would say.  Well, I am here to tell you it IS a big deal.

I spent the last week with a hot sock stuck to my face, swabbing my gums with organic honey and clove oil, stuffing my cheek with black tea bags, and slathering my jawbone with essential oils, while taking every pharmaceutical offered by the dentist.  Getting out of the recliner, turning off the endless Netflix stream of “Virgin River,” and cleaning my house is amaaaazing.

Some people dream of winning the lottery, taking a European river cruise, or spending a month in Tuscany; others imagine white water rafting or wilderness camping.  Me?  I’ve just been daydreaming about a root canal and the energy to scrub the toilet.  Don’t get me wrong.  I have had loftier dreams and I am sure I will again after the euphoria of being able to run the vacuum wears off.  Right now I am high on Mr. Clean and I’ve been tooling around the house sporting rubber gloves and carrying a feather duster like a scepter.

I haven’t even had the root canal yet.  This is all from that under-heralded Wonder of the World, amoxicillin.  Yeah, baby.  That’s what I’m talking about.  With all my touting of natural cures and the dangers of chemical drugs, you may rightly ask if I am concerned about my gut microbiome with all these antibiotics.  Heck no.  In between doses, I am sipping kefir from a wine glass.

I will make this brief, since nobody really wants a play by play, I am sure.  I just had to share my joy.  God’s in His heaven, my dentist is fantastic, and all is right with the world.

ID 115633585 © Yanisa Deeratanasrikul | Dreamstime.com

I used to scoff at people who ran to the doctor at the first sign of a sniffle, or rushed off for X-rays every time they slid out the back steps in the rain.  Suck it up, Buttercup.  Don’t be a weenie.  Go drink some Echinacea tea for the sniffle.  As for that possible broken leg – it might be just a sprain, limp on it a while and see.

So when the dentist recently said, “That tooth will need a root canal.  It is bothering you?”  I said, “Nah,” totally ignoring the occasional twinges I had been getting for the last year.  It was a twinge, for heaven’s sake.  I wasn’t going to be a baby.

So that is how I came to spend the last week holding a microwavable warming footie to my face (not caring in the least that it had last adorned my right foot) and pushing mega doses of ibuprofen down my gullet without regard to the NSAID warnings about stomach irritation.  I was going to die of the golf ball size swelling in my jaw anyway if I didn’t do something, so I couldn’t be bothered with thoughts of a little ulcer.  Besides, I was already taking an acid reducing medication, so it should all balance out.

I was calling every dentist in town to see if I could get a root canal within the hour and blubbering like an infant when the closest appointment was two weeks out.  I even showed up at my primary care physician’s office unannounced to show her my face and see if she could slice open the golf ball or yank out the tooth.  Besides reminding me that appointments were the approved method of getting in to see a doctor, the receptionist and the nurse told me that the antibiotics I was given by my dentist were designed to get the infection under control so a root canal could be safely done.  They also gazed in awe at the protuberance in my jaw, commenting, “Man, that looks painful.”  This did not help.

Dejected, I went back home and stared in the mirror to see if it looked any better at all and wondered how I could sneak in to a dentist.  Maybe force an extraction at gunpoint.  But that was just the fever talking.  I munched on a couple of Tylenol and thought, you know, I never had to wait a long time for the vet if one of the animals was sick or in pain.  They are doctors, after all; maybe I’ll just swing by and . . .  no, that’s crazy talk.  Or, is it?   I shook my head, which brought clarity — and searing pain — then slowly gathered my amoxicillin, ibuprofen, Tylenol, and warming footie and  settled into the recliner with the remote and dreams of a root canal.

I know one thing.  There is no glory is staying away from the doctor’s office and toughing things out.  I could have saved myself a lot of agony by just admitting my tooth ached a bit (and that my leg might really be broken that night since it followed me backwards down the steps).  I am reformed.  If taking care of my health makes me a weenie, just call me Oscar Mayer.