Friday, January 21, 2011
Oh, at first it was little things easily dismissed as fatigue perhaps. For instance, The Old Goat would come out of his office at work, make a little semicircle and walk into a wall.
He felt a bit silly the first time it happened, but when it occurred again he became very cautious of his steps. After all, how many times can one walk into walls before people begin to talk or check your desk drawers for the bottle or worse?
This slight course miscalculation wasn't totally new, although the walking into walls was an added feature. He had been aware of an inability to steer straight when walking down sidewalks. He would sense a drifting to one side or the other and was always making small adjustments not to get too close to the curb. He would kid about it. "I hope a cop never asks me to walk a straight line, 'cause I can't."
Ho, ho, ho, what is it anyway? Are the shoes lopsided? Is it lack of sleep, too much on the mind, aging?
It shouldn't be aging. Eighteen years ago The Old Goat was only in his early fifties and he felt energized most the time, a multi-tasking, go-go-go, always doing something type of guy. He had a good job, a sexy wife and an active social life. And that was probably the whole thing, he was just a bit too active and he was a bit body weary, which sometimes effected his walking, nothing more than that.
Except the little sessions of off kilter were soon joined by more off putting things, like muscle cramps, double vision and attacks by sources of light.
Most people suffer a cramp here and there in life, the usual there being the leg. The Old Goat had those now and again, but this was different. It was becoming a much more than a once a day battle with a stubborn muscle that didn't want to un-tense, plus it was all over his body, his chest, his sides, his neck, even his face.
The double vision wasn't all it was cracked up to be either. It was downright annoying. The Old Goat would come home from a hard day of walking into walls and howling from painful cramps, sit down for a bit of the telly and he would be seeing two televisions, one floating slightly above the other. Or was one floating slightly below the other. It was hard to be sure which was the vision and which was the double vision. It was also very upsetting to not quite be able to focus, especially if a pretty girl in a bikini was on screen.
The eye doctor said there was nothing wrong with his eyes.
Now these things came and went over a period of time you understand. They didn't all slam him at once. The worse was the light attacks. That is, The Old Goat discovered one fine sunny day that he wished for rain, anything but a lot of light. It hurt, really, really, really hurt. He couldn't stand that light. He was driving to work with one eye closed and a hand over his other, peeking through the fingers to see the road. Not only that, his eyes began to feel as if he had half a beach of sand behind his lids.
Naturally he eventually discovered the problem and got treatment. He had Graves Disease and this had led to Hypothyroidism for a while and then flipped to Hyperthyroidism, a fairly rare thing. It had also given him Graves' Ophthalmopathy, a fancy way of saying his bloody eyeballs were popping out of his head. That was what caused the scratching sand feel. His eyeballs were so pushed forward his eyelids couldn't close all the way and his eyes had dried out.
Now we could go in to more of the horrors of this disease and the minutia of the treatments, but not right now. Let's just jump to the chase. He eventually ended up not being able to work and sitting at home under a blanket all day to keep that nasty light away. The Disease had weakened his muscles and he had trouble even walking. It was not fun.
But it did give his best friend some fuel to tease him, the case of the pulled down pants...almost.
Actually this was not his only embarrassing moment caused by his condition. There was another and here is what they were and how they came about.
After some weeks of being basically a blob of jello kept in the dark, he began to feel somewhat better from the medications they started to give him. One day, he decided to drive somewhere. It has been forgotten what he had set out to get, but that isn't important. What is important is he ventured out of the house for the first time in a long while. He drove his car, which was an old Chevette. The gas gauge did not work in this car. He ran out of gas.
He was several miles from home on a fairly unoccupied part of a particular street. He decided he had to walk the few blocks to a main road where there were some gas stations and get gas. He made it to this road and his first hurtle was he needed something to put the gas in, so he found a store where he could buy a gas can.
Spanking brand new gas can in hand, he went into a gas station where two women were attending the counter where you paid for gas from the self-service pumps. He paid and carried his brand spanking new can to a pump where he pumped, lost his balance and fell on his not so brand spanking new can, that is, his rear end. There he sat, struggling now to get back on his feet. (Remember the disease had weakened his muscles horribly, getting up wasn't easy.)
It ran through his head that the two women were probably already calling the cops about the drunken man buying a can full of gas, obviously a deranged individual on his way to commit arson.
Okay, that was embarrassing moment number one, but no one who knew The Old Goat saw it or knew of it.
However, jump ahead some weeks and The Old Goat was beginning to recover. He was on new medicine and even back to work. It was coming up on Valentine's Day and his wife and he had not been out to anywhere together for a long time. He decided they should go out for the lover's day, and anticipating some after dinner activities along the same line, h put on a very skimpy...how can I put this? Oh, let's just be frank, he put on a very skimpy G-string beneath his pants. No one would know but he and his wife. I mean, married couples do these things, believe it or not.
So they went to a restaurant they had never eaten at before (it has since closed and I believe been torn down to make way for a mall that is on that spot today). It was called the Longwood Inn or something like that. It was a slightly upscale place. They were seated and ordered drinks. The drinks were brought and they ordered dinner. But The Old Goat had felt odd upon arrival. His head felt strange. He wasn't sure if he was getting ill or not.
He tried to fight it, but it was really bothering him so he told his wife he was going to the rest room and sit there a bit to see if he felt better. He got up and set off, leaving the room they were seated in and entering a second dining room.
The next thing he knew, he was being carried under his arms by the Host and a Waiter. "Did I blackout?" he asked.
They said, "Yes."
They took him to the lobby and sat him on a chair right there in front of lines of people waiting for tables. People were looking at him. At that point, the waiter undid his belt and the top button and began pulling down his zipper.
"Whoa! Wait a minute. What are you doing?" he asked.
"Loosing your pants," the guy said.
"We can call an ambulance," the Host was saying.
"No, I'm fine. I'll be okay. Don't do that."
The Old Goat pushed aside the waiter's hands and then redid his pants. He got to his feet.
"I'll be fine, " he insisted.
He went back to his wife and they asked the waitress to pack the food to go. Once this was done, they beat a hasty retreat and never went back to that place.
His pants got opened and he doesn't know if his little skimpy Valentine surprise was noticed by anyone, but his pants didn't fall down, not that that had never happened to him, just not this time.