they want my shit in tasmania

Yesterday, during the distraction hour, which is what I call the lead up to going to work, when I can neither do or not do anything, I heard the postie's bike down in the street. Went out to see if there was anything - bills, junk - in the box. Sitting on the stairs was a bulky white envelope. Had the Australian Government Emu/Kangaroo logo on it in blue, and I glimpsed my name through the cellophane window: Dear Martin Edmond, it said. O god, I thought, too shaken even to pick it up, it's the Tax Dept, they've got me. But, on the way back, natch, I did. Brought it inside, ripped it open with trembling fingers, swearing to myself, my delinquent stupidity that always catches up with me ... but it wasn't the Tax Dept. It was something much more gruesome: a Bowel Cancer Testing Kit. From Tasmania.

I'm someone who's never really had health issues. A few broken bones here and there when I was young, a bout of meningitis when I was twenty something, and that's about it. I've generally acted as if I'm going to live forever or, at least, suffer no serious damage getting there. I've drunk, smoked, snorted, ingested, even (once only, I don't like needles) injected whatever I wanted to whenever I wanted to. My heart is good, I'm not over-weight, my kidneys are ok, my liver's holding up, there must be tar in my lungs but I can easily swim a kilometre at the pool without feeling strange afterwards. But, for the last month, and really, if I'm honest, for the two and a bit years before that, I haven't been quite right.

It's vertigo, a mild form, but persistent, which means the world whoomps and blurs each time I turn my head. Can't unblock my ears, haven't been able to for ages. This condition comes and goes, sometimes it's almost imperceptible, at others, so bad I can't hardly get out of bed and have to hobble round with a stick. The Doc I saw in Darwin when it first came on, said he didn't know what it was. My GP here murmured Menières Syndrome and gave me some pills, which did absolutely nothing. Now I'm booked to see a specialist next week ... if it is Menières, another Doc in the cab told me this week, it's incurable but can be 'managed', whatever that means. Basically it's a malfunction ... at least I don't have the tinnitus that's sometimes associated with it.

It's well known that healthy people handle illness badly and I'm no exception. Perhaps that's why the Bowel Cancer Testing Kit fills me with horror. But, my maternal grandfather died of that disease so I guess I'd be stupid not to take it. What you have to do is so revolting I won't even start to try to describe it. It's going to take me a while to work up to that. Meanwhile, the White Envelope sits on the bathroom floor, under the washbasin, waiting. I'm beginning to wish it was from the Tax Dept. And then there's another question I can't help asking: Exactly whose tax dollars are paying for this? Surely not mine ...


chiefbiscuit said...

I'm sorry, but the surprise contents of that envelope made me laugh right out loud. But that doesn't mean I find your health problems funny.

Martin Edmond said...

don't be sorry, Chief. it cracked my sons up too. I must be slow, I've only just realised we met at Bluff ... your alias had me distracted. thanks for other comments too.