Disease of the Week
with Tennis Elbow Jones
|Tennis Elbow Jones|
Just got back from the doctor again this morning. Got me a diagnosis
of aggressive melanoma. I do believe that this latest cancer makes
it official-I have now got me the cancer in over 50 per cent of
my body. From the tip of my nose to the tip of my toes, there's
a whole lot of mutant cell growin' goin' on in this 85 year-old
bag of bones.
They say you never forget your first, and I certainly do recall
my first diagnosis, all the way back in 1951. I was a young Tennis
Elbow making my way across the Unites States of America with the
legendary Eddie "Forkball" McHenry when I felt a lump
in my neck in Omaha that I later discovered was lymphoma, which
I was informed was cancer of the lymphatic system-a crazy set-up
that runs north to south and east to west through the human body
like the old Union-Pacific line.
Over the last 50 years, I've had me some Hodgkin's Lymphoma, Non-Hodgkin's
Lymphoma, Leukemia, Colo-Rectal Cancer, Testicular Cancer, Knee
Cancer, Bone Cancer, Tooth Cancer, (didn't know you could get that
one), not to mention some elbow cancer, of course
cancer comes, the cancer goes, but Tennis Elbow keep on a-truckin'.
(For a complete chronology of all of my cancer diagnoses, 1952-1980
era, check out the track Find my Lump from the Health
Anxiety Blues, a double album that I cut with Sir Miles Davis
back in 1981.)
Why, I even lose track of where my cancer is and where it isn't.
The other day, my nurse saw a spot on my arm and said that it could
be skin cancer and maybe I should have it looked at by a doctor.
I told her, "I've already got cancer there, don't need the
doc to tell me anything new about that!" The nurse was unconvinced,
so to settle the dispute, I consulted my trusty 'cancer book', which
could be best described as a personal journal that keeps track of
where I got it and where I don't at any particular moment.
I tell you, 85 years of hard livin' sure can take its toll on the
memory, as I discovered that my left forearm was in fact cancer
free up to this point in time. But after 50 some years, now it's
about as stressful as goin' down to McDonald's for a Big Mac. Same
old routine-hop in the Cadillac, drive to the clinic, biopsy, diagnosis,
prescription, pills, home in time for The Weakest Link. (I
do admire the sass of that Mrs. Anne Robinson lady)
All the boys on the road told me back then that I was crazy for
wasting my money, but I do thank God for the professional bluesman's
health insurance plan that I was talked into buying when I was starting
up in the business. Otherwise, I'd probably be livin' in a box somewhere
or even worse, tenement housing, instead of the relative affluence
of suburban Chicago. Why, thanks to my planning ahead, I even got
me my own personal nurse to look after me. Which reminds me-I do
reckon that it's right about time for my sponge bath.
Tennis Elbow Jones is an 85-year old Blues legend best known
for his seminal 1963 album, the Should be Dead Blues. His
doctors estimate that he is afflicted with approximately 65 per
cent of all diseases, ailments and conditions known to humanity.
Posted on June 15th, 2001