Can you tell me whatâ€™s ailing me?*You may wonder how a collection of aging Vietnam Era types who hang together, travel together, and party hard and long, which invariably includes
drinking like sailors on liberty sipping an occasional libation and eating like a pack of hungry wolves enjoying fine victuals, manages to continue to remain ambulatory and relatively healthy. If you hadnâ€™t thought about that, trust me: Itâ€™s quite remarkable.
The reason why, in defiance of the aging process, weâ€™re all still raising hell is because, like all first-class teams, we have a Team Doctor, and he would be â€œDoctor Doctor.â€**
Doctor Doctor didnâ€™t sign on to be the Team Doctor, but it just sort of worked out that way. Each of us makes our regularly scheduled visits to see Doctor Doctor for checkups, and during any given week, at least one of the Usual Suspects needs an appointment for an ache â€¦ here or a pain â€¦ there. It would be an understatement to say that he knows us all very well. He knows all our HDLs, LDLs, liver enzymes, and assorted other diagnostic markers lurking in our blood. He has a keen diagnostic sense to begin with, but knowing all of us provides him with an edge in getting to the root cause of any given malady. â€œMartinis this weekend was it?â€
On special occasions, Doctor Doctor (sometimes with his lovely wife, Mrs. Doctor Doctor) has even been known to show up at one of our
drunken brawls social gatherings. Heâ€™ll even have a beer or two (Iâ€™ve never seen him drink more than two) while, I suspect, he silently surveys the gang for clues as to what symptoms heâ€™ll be hearing in the weeks to come. â€œYou think your arm might be sore from pitching a dozen games of horseshoes, or from lugging all that ice? Maybe the upset stomach has something to do with the tequila and kielbasa?â€
He practices â€œnon-preachyâ€ medicine, resting assured that we all know whatâ€™s good for us and what is not. Doctor Doctor always listens and always carefully considers the treatment options. He has never failed to spot a potentially serious problem, and, unless it is a matter that requires immediate attention, he always chooses the conservative approach. â€œWell, it could be â€˜X,â€™ or you might need â€˜Y,â€™ but letâ€™s try â€˜Zâ€™ first, and check back with me in a week.â€ I like that approach, and I like him. Heâ€™s a good doctor and a good guy.
What would you guess is the question that is most often posed to Doctor Doctor by his Usual Suspect patients? The question is regularly asked following his handing one of the Usual Suspects a new prescription, and the question is â€¦â€¦..
â€Can I drink with this?â€
* Reference for younger readers.
** I dare not name Doctor Doctor, lest his professional standing suffer as a result of being identified as the de facto Team Doc for the collection of aging reprobates that is The Usual Suspects.