Medical Whack-A-Mole

Jan 30

Whack any moles lately?

Bet you have. It’s sad but true that unless you’re obscenely young, you have a fluctuating variety of minor (we hope) medical ailments popping up all the time.

It is truly like playing Whack-A-Mole. Only with doctors.

Sometimes it’s actually a mole. The dermatologist gets to whack that one. But then it’s your back. Did you strain it? Sprain it? What’s the difference. Can anyone ‘splain that to me? Anyway, next day the pain is gone, but your Go Pro (also known as the Squatty Potty) is not doing its job. Or the Activia is doing it too well and you have unscheduled bonus rounds you could do without. This gives new meaning to The Game of Thrones.

The next day you’re fine in the poop department, but you feel like shit anyway because you didn’t sleep the night before.

So then you sleep well and do some serious walking. Whoops. Forgot that there’s that thing going on with your feet, so that even wearing those hideous shoes that thrill your podiatrist, your feet feel rotten at night.

Listen To Your Big Toe. No, really.

Remember those stories about farmers who could tell it was going to rain by their aches and pains in hands and feet. It’s true! Sort of. Something about the low pressure on the outside letting your inner pressure do whatever it does to make something hurt. And that’s our science lesson for today.

Meanwhile, my big toe is fine today, but I ate something for lunch that didn’t agree with me. What does that mean anyway: Did I say something to the tuna fish it didn’t like? Is the peanut butter angry because I prefer smooth to chunky? I’ll never mention that again, Skippy, promise.

And don’t even get me started about doctors. You have so many of them that even your specialists have specialists. I suspect that if I went to a podiatrist about my big toe, he’d send me to someone who specializes in small toes. Or pinkies only. And if one of these specialists doesn’t find something wrong, the next one will. Guaranteed. To me, the word “specialist” means that they specialize in referrals.

Where is Doc Martin when you need him? 

He’s the doctor who treats everything. . Even if he has to dredge the river to find you. But only on his TV show (which you should watch if you want some escapist fun).

In real life, you get to a certain point , all too quickly, when you have a whole list of recurring “moles,” like digestive problems or acid reflux, with nifty acronyms like IBS or GERD. You also may experience more exotic conditions like peripheral neuropathy (a hands and feet thing), vestibular hypofunction (that’s an inner ear problem “when it’s at home”), or more common ailments like mild hearing loss (WHA’dya say?) or neck  pain, probably from tension due to worrying about all the other whack-a-mole. And the fact that all these things make you feel OLD.

It’s simply that, in the immortal words of Roseanne Roseannadanna, “If it’s not one thing, it’s another.”

And if you’re reading a blog about medical whack-a-mole, you may remember the Gilda Radner character from SNL. On the other hand, if you’re old enough to remember, you probably suffer from some memory loss,  so refresh your memory of Roseanne on YouTube where she holds forth on the dangers of smoking and Other Things.  Laughter, as the saying goes, is still the best medicine.

Not to get all morbid about it, but Shakespeare’s Hamlet, contemplating whether to off himself or not, kinda agrees with Roseanne when he speaks of  “the thousand natural shocks that flesh is heir to.” Face it, even that hangnail is seriously annoying.

We must remember, however, lest we become, god forfend, bitter (!), that however many moles you whack today—or tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow— whacking moles is better than dealing with the alternative.

Not even a specialist can argue with that.


Photo of Doc Martin by Curtis MacNewton on Unsplash


  1. I remember the medical whack a mole…funny stuff!

    • Yes, readers of I Can’t Believe I’m Not Bitter might remember it too. I’m doing some reruns for a new audience, or, as the webmaster says, we’re “repurposing” material.
      Anyway, glad you liked it.

  2. Lucille /

    Yes, I’d rather whack all those moles than deal with the alternative!
    Thanks for a fun post.

    • I was behind someone in my building who was telling a friend that every morning she wonders, “What part of me will hurt today?” But they both were laughing it off so it wasn’t a downer. Just life.

  3. Ah, yes – Just life.
    The longer we stick around, the more we understand how little we control.
    But ‘longer’ means we probably inherited some good genes, so we can’t complain
    too much.

    • “Too much” is the operative phrase here. I reserve the right to rail against all the aches and pains we get to enjoy as we get older. Shakespeare said it better, but you get the point.

  4. Having done the post pandemic round of doctors, I found your Whack-a-Mole a riot. Thanks for the light moments.

    • And they don’t call them “waiting” rooms for nothing!
      But I have learned how to do the Spelling Bee on my phone waiting for all those doctors, so it wasn’t a total loss.

  5. Ellen Kolegar /

    Doc Martin is my favorite doctor. He doesn’t even pretend to listen to your complaints.

  6. Me too! No specialists in Portwenn.

  7. Dr. Quack loves whack.

    • I have questions.
      Who is Dr. Quack? Is this something I should be aware of?
      And does he love “whack?” or Whack-A Mole?
      Mystified in Manhattan,

      • Just thought I would rhyme whack.
        I sure hope there is no Dr. Quack because he/she would have trouble attracting patients.

        • And yet, I am sure they are out there.
          Your comments are always interesting!

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