Oh my mortality

I had a doctor’s visit this morning. Nothing special, just a routine check up for blood pressure and all of that.

My doctor was running late so I had some time to sit and entertain myself.

When all my email was read on the iPhone and I’d caught up on Twitter, I started people watching. You know, people watching at a medical center is quite a thing. You see a lot…

Anyhow, pretty soon, a nurse came down the hall pushing an elderly man in a wheelchair.

They came into our waiting area and the nurse helped the man to get up onto his feet, and he then took a few steps with the aid of a cane.

As he shakily got to his feet, he said to the young nurse, “Who would have thought it would come to this, eh?”

He said it in a wry way, but it carried a deep note of sadness.

The man was, by all appearances, pretty healthy. He was probably in his late seventies and from what I could see, was suffering a very bad hip.

The nurse helped the man get settled into the seat, with a groan.

He gave me a weary smile and I smiled back.

The nurse said to the man, as she departed, “one of my patients told me that his best advice was simply this: just don’t get old.”

“Yes, certainly,” said the man, with a sigh.

The whole exchange made me a bit melancholy. I remember when my dad struggled with rapidly advancing lung disease. His mind was fine but his body crapped out on him way too early.

How angry that must make a person, your legs, your lungs, your eyes, your whatever body part you want to name just doesn’t work like you know it should.


And me. Still fairly young but full of the knowledge that I’m not taking care of myself as well as I should. Now is the time to tend to these things.

Time marches on, whether I’m keeping step with it or not.

And even now, I know some parts of this ol’ rig don’t work like they should. But I still have time.

Time to remember to enjoy my legs that still carry me easily, a heart that still beats strong. Lungs that take in air without coughing.

Yes. It was just a nice reminder, a needed wake up call.

Because one day I might be uttering to a kindly young nurse, “who would have thought it would come to this?”

Sorry for the sort of down post today. The rain and the doctor’s waiting room has me in a very thoughtful place.

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  • Anonymous

    For 20 years, my husband had a job that was exciting and fulfilling, but physically strenuous. It has left him with arthritis (from all his broken bones) and in a great deal of pain. And yet, when I asked him if he would do it all again, knowing the eventual consequences to his health, he said, "Absolutely."

    He is fond of saying about his physical problems that, "It beats the alternative." He is referring to the many friends he worked with who died young. I like his attitude. I have been dealing with my own challenges lately from aging, and I have to say I hate it. Getting older sucks. Majorly. I try to keep his attitude in mind when I have yet another part of my body start giving me trouble. I have to agree – it beats the alternative.

    Although, I do have to say that he keeps threatening to die within the next five years – before our two daughters reach adolescence, specifically. I tell him that if he does I will track him down and drag him back from the afterlife. I am NOT raising teenagers myself. :)

  • Karen Fayeth

    Anon – I think it is fantastic that rather than cursing the aching bones and joints, your husband sees clearly that they are a bit of a side effect of a career well worked.

    THAT is admirable!

    And two teenage girls….ay yi yi!!

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