The Best Medicine

Chillin’ with Mom and old mags

By Maria Johnson

So there I was, hanging with my 84-year-old mom in a doctor’s office because, you know, that’s what you do when you’re 84 and upright: You spend days in doctors’ offices reading old magazines, waiting for doctors to refer you to other waiting rooms, where you can read more old magazines.

It’s very therapeutic, this reading of old magazines. You can rip out recipes with impunity. You feel like you’re still in style. And you learn relatively new things.

For example, while sitting in a doctor’s office a few years ago, I learned that Kim Kardashian had married a guy named Kris Humphries in a $2 million “fairy tale wedding” — as if they would have spent $2 million on a fake-ivy trellis and 12-pack of Yuengling at the Elks Club.

Anyway, later in the day, it occurred to me that I’d seen pictures of Kardashian and rapper Kanye West out on the town with, you know, their daughter, and I was thinking, “I wonder if Kris Humphries knows about this.”

Which led me to Google something like, “Kris Humphries fool or what,” which led me to find out that Kardashian and Humphries got married in 2011 and divorced 72 days later.

But hey, I never knew this in the first place, and without that tattered old magazine, Kris-what’s-his-name might have been lost to history.

Mmm . . . where was I? Oh yeah, the doctor’s office.

So the nurse calls my mom in and says, “Let’s get your height and weight,” which causes my mom to shed her coat, shoes, sweater, socks and earrings, spit out her gum and blow her nose.

I exaggerate, of course. But not much.

For the height part, mi madre draws her shoulders back, lifts her head and rivets her arms to her sides. It appears that she has just reported to Parris Island for boot camp.

I recognize this because I do it, too. Everyone does. You’re trying to stretch your weight over more height, hoping to appear thinner. It’s kind of the opposite of trying to make yourself look bigger when you see a bear. You’re thinking, “Maybe if I look skinny, he’ll leave me alone.”

The nurse moves on. She reports that my mom’s blood pressure is good and her temperature is “perfect.”

So now my mom is getting the Big Head because she’s still warm, which is OK because, as we all know, half of feeling good physically is feeling good mentally, which makes me wonder why we all don’t just stay home and watch old Pinky and The Brain cartoons.

But I digress.

So the doctor — who hung the moon, in my humble opinion — examines my mom and declares her to be in tip-top shape. Fantastic. There’s just one thing. A bone density test has shown that my mom basically has no bones. It seems that she has been standing up on the strength of
her moisturizer.

Hmm. Could be a problem.

So the doctor prescribes a bone-building drug called Boniva. Bonnnnn-eeeeee-vahhhhhhh.

Lots of women her age take it. And who wouldn’t? It sounds so restful. Like a resort.

“Welcome to Boniva. Room service is available 24-7. The pool is right over there. The bar is over there. The fake-ivy trellis is over there. (Waves to couple by the pool). That’s Kim Kardashian and Kris what’s-his-name-is. Wave while you can.”

Well, the whole Boniva thing gets me to thinking about how prescription drugs sound so alluring these days. Like Lunesta, the sleep-inducing drug that sounds like a cross between a beautiful moon, a siesta and maybe a high-end moth. Or Abilify, the antipsychotic drug that sounds like the 8th habit of highly effective people. Or Levitra, which sounds like “levitate,” which I’m sure is magical experience for dudes with erectile dysfunctional until maybe four hours later, when the rabbit won’t go back in the hat, so to speak.


OK. Right. So, technically speaking, the reason I’m here, as a
Good Daughter, is to be listening and asking questions on my mom’s behalf. So I ask about the drug that the doctor has just prescribed.

Me: “So, ummm, does this stuff work?”

Doc: “Yes.”

Me: “I see.”

Good thing I’m used to asking those tough journalistic questions.

What? The appointment is over? We can go? Just take a left, a left, a right, a left, go past the break room, through the janitor’s closet, and down the laundry chute to the appointment desk?

Wheeeeee! Here we are.

Are we available at 2:45 p.m. six months from now?

Wait, that’s not Columbus Day, is it? OK, good. Then I guess we’ll be free.

Until then, salud!  OH

Maria Johnson is open to receiving free lunches from drug reps. Contact her at

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