No Laughing Matter · 27 October 2013

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Health is no laughing matter unless a friend of mine, Mike, is talking about his own.

When Mike talks about his health, it sounds like he would have fun getting hit by a freight train. He has knee pains and hip pains and foot pains. He has had knee surgery after knee surgery and then had hip surgery thrown in for kicks. Yet he laughs it all off with a shrug. “It could always be worse.”

This year, there was something worse. That something was a literal pain in the neck.

It seems that every fall since I have known him, Mike has come back to school with a story to tell about a new surgery he has had. There were, of course, the knees. (He has had umpteen million surgeries on his knees and probably will have more.) And this year, he came back from hip surgery. (Do not ask him about the anesthesia.)

Now, he needs to have neck surgery.

Mike has been in serious pain for the whole school year. (According to him, he has been a serious pain, but that is another story.) He walked like Quasimodo. He had to move his whole body to move his head. He even missed a few days because his medications were not quite right. Despite the pain (that he has or that he is), he still keeps moving. And he still keeps laughing. Even though it literally hurts when he does.

Part of the reason Mike has such a good attitude is because he is faking it. At least according to him. He puts on his happy face and lives life.

Part of the reason is because he has no choice. “What else am I gonna do?” he shrugs.

And part of the reason is because he had such a good time getting where he is now.

Mike says that he is just paying the piper for all the dances he did back in the day. Most of the pain and suffering he faces now are the direct results of the fun and frolicking he did long ago. Like most teenagers, he abused his body. With sports and just being a kid back on the farm. He has said on more than a few occasions that it is a good thing his high school did not have football or he might have some serious problems now.

When it comes right down to it, Mike has a great attitude because he loves life. He savors the good times and passionately rails at the bad times. He would tell you that he does not have the patience of Job, but I am not so sure. He takes everything life can throw at him and comes back for more. Each time more determined to live life with passion and gusto.

It might seem a bit morbid, but I enjoy hearing Mike tell the stories of his visits to the doctors. But it is not morbidity. I love to hear the emotion in his voice. And I love to hear the back story that goes along with whatever malady Mike is facing.

I would not wish my friend’s health on my worst enemy. It is no laughing matter. Unless, of course, Mike is telling the story.

© 2013 Michael T. Miyoshi

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