Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Growing Old Gracefully

Anna and I were sitting in a waiting room at the hospital very early yesterday morning. My sister was there for a procedure. A man and his wife walked in. The man looked in my direction, he saw me his expression lit up, he smiled and gave me a warm wave. I didn’t recognize him. As he and his wife talked to the receptionist I recognized him. His name is Joel. He lost hair since the last time I saw him.

He had been coming to our Good Old Boys & Girls (GOBAG) meeting but he hasn’t been there for a while. I felt bad that he recognized me but I didn’t recognize him.

After he and his wife sat down I walked over to say hi. He introduced me to his wife by saying “He (me) and I (him) went on those bowling tournaments in Las Vegas and Reno that time….” I interrupted him saying, “Wait! I have never been to Reno or Las Vegas.”

He confused me with someone else. He refocused and realized who I am.

While in the waiting room we decided to have breakfast. We had country steak and biscuit. On my biscuit I spread grape jelly. In my jumbled clumsy movements I dropped the little grape pack onto the floor in front of me. I picked it up and saw the floor had a little patch of grape jelly. I thought a cleaning lady will be by shortly and get it. Then I thought what about all the people who might walk on top of it and get jelly on the bottom of their shoes. They will have a sticky shoe each time they take a step. Being the humanist that I am, I cleaned up the jelly off the floor.

Anna wanted to move a few seats over to be able to watch the news on the big TV on the wall. When we moved I thought I got rid of our breakfast napkins, cups, and paper plates. I know I threw it all in a garbage can. As soon as we moved two Latino women moved into the seats we were occupying. There was a small table with a phone and a Styrofoam coffee cup. That was the same kind of coffee cup I was drinking my coffee from that I bought from the hospital cafeteria. Damn! I forgot to pick it up and throw it away. I didn’t want for my trash to be a nuisance to the two ladies – the best thing for me to do was to take a few steps over, smile and say, “excuse me” and pickup the coffee cup and throw it away in the nearby trashcan. I was about to stand up to make my move when one of the ladies picked up the cup and sipped out of it. It was her cup. In just another moment and I would have made a fool out of myself, again.

Back home, later in the day I called Paul and told him about seeing Joel in the hospital and that is where Paul was. He has been in the ER since the day before. His heart rate had drop to the low 30s. The doctors were trying to decide what to do and his daughter was trying to get him to change over to Saint Joseph’s in Atlanta. I checked with him about four hours later and his heart rate was back to normal and he was checking out of the hospital

Getting old is not for wimps.

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