She said the only way I could breathe clearly is if she gave me a pig noise, like this. Really! What are you laughing at, doctor? I told her that I can only breathe clearly if I lift the tip of my nose, so she said maybe I would have to decide on whether I could live with a nasal obstruction or a pig nose. She knows I am an artist, because I told her so, and I told her I am also a practical man, and I need both lovely form and lovely function combined into the same nose.

Then the hearing doctor, well the gal who does the test, she set me up with something to try – a hearing aid sample – and I kid you not, I could hear the very footsteps of the spider stealthily crawling along the wall above me. The very footsteps! But alas, the price of this delicacy was over six thousand dollars, and if Medicare says they cannot afford to pay for that kind of thing, I wonder how on earth they think we elders can!

How am I exercising if my nose is so obstructed? Motivation, my friend. I am biking on a stationary bike and treading water in a pool and doing much more. I start out choking and spluttering, holding my nose up for the first ten minutes lest I swoon, but then I focus on the prize: I want to have a pair of sexy legs for when I get strong enough to go dancing again. What are you laughing at, you think the ladies don’t notice that kind of thing? Ah, the innocence of youth, who still see their sweet mother in every woman they meet. Time is a great teacher, my friend.

Oh, and the nose doc who claims she cannot help me without turning me into a veritable swine sent me on to a psychologist – not for vanity. She said I seem stressed. Being taciturn by nature, she cannot imagine anyone being loquacious by choice. Because it would have to be an absolute crisis to loosen her tongue. Oh, these Northerners! And she was projecting her own preferences upon poor little me. But I accommodated the needs of the nose doctor, due to my native delicacy with the ladies, and met with the psychologist. I can help you with the diagnosis, I told her as soon as I sat down. I have the mind of a 16-year-old and the body of an aging horse. My mind keeps making promises that my body cannot fill, and thus I suffer. If you can fix that, I told her, you will become a millionaire. Ah, doctor, you laugh. She didn’t.

Okay. My prescriptions are all set, and so am I. Oh! And for my follow-up, please, please, make sure I am scheduled with you yourself, doctor. Last time they pawned me off, yes, sure, you work on a team, but still they pawned me off – and my first thought when I saw the strange doctor’s face was a sinking one – my doctor doesn’t love me any more! What are you laughing at, doctor? This is serious for me! I want our relationship to continue. Think about it! We have been together as doctor-patient for near upon 13 years now, longer than either of my marriages lasted! And you are most humane. So, as very few men say this time of the morning, especially if they have just spent the night with a lady whose big brute of a husband is about to arrive back in town, I really want to see you again! Ha ha ha – why are you laughing?