Wednesday, November 04, 2009
Tuesday, November 03, 2009
Ah, the joys of aging. Of course, they’re better than the alternative, but still…
I turned 60 in September and this morning I went to see a retinologist, not for pleasure or even curiosity but because, at 60, there are changes in one of my eyes that required examination by a retinologist. When I got off the elevator and walked to the front desk to check in I had no idea what to expect, but I was about to learn that going to the doctor as an old fogey is different from my previous experiences of going to the doctor. For starters, I was almost knocked out by the smell of…um…well, how to put this delicately? Poop. Yup, there was a definite smell of poop in the air, at the check in station at the doctor’s office. I looked around, hoping to see plumbers, but no such luck. There was, however, next to me, leaning on her wheelchair, an ancient, saintly looking white haired woman smiling beatifically up at the ceiling as her nurse whispered rather desperately that she needed to take her into the bathroom to clean her up…and I realized ah, she’s wearing Depends and they need to be changed.
Whoa. That was a little sobering.
I moved down counter to fresher air, got checked in and sat down and waited to be called for my appointment. Eventually, I was called into a room where a technician put drops in my eyes to dilate them. After that, I returned to a waiting area where I was seated next to a very polite little old lady. She was reading the newspaper, when suddenly she turned to me and asked, “Would you like to read the paper?”
Unable to focus, I smiled and said thanks but I’ll have to pass on that.
She smiled back. “I read it, but I don’t remember what I read!” she announced gleefully. Thinking she was making a joke, I smiled and chuckled. In a little while, after finishing the first section of the paper, she carefully folded it, put it down, and picked up the middle section. Just before she began to read that, she looked at me, appeared surprised to see me, leaned over, and asked, “Would you like to read the paper?” I smiled and said no again. She smiled back and said, “I read it, but I don’t remember what I read!” and laughed happily. Apparently she was dead serious, because eventually she worked her way through the entire paper and back to the first section, which she was studiously re-reading when I finally got called in for my appointment.
The retinologist, who had to be close to 70, was friendly. VERY friendly. He introduced himself using just his name, no title. The he asked about the necklace I was wearing (smooth green stones)..."Are those OLIVES?" after which he laughed at his own humor. Then he told me about an award he'd received...finally I realized (hey, I’m old and these things take a while) that he was flirting with me. I was starting to feel good about myself when I realized I was probably his youngest patient by about 20 years. At least I hope all those people in the waiting room were 20 years older than me. On the up side, I’ve decided if worse comes to worse and I end up wearing an eye patch on my left eye...shiver me timbers...I’m going after Johnny Depp...