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11.07.2011

Welcome aboard flight 99 around the Sun

Tish and I spent the morning at the hospital while she had a battery of tests done, some routine, some looking at lumps and spots and all the other things that come with age. I went along because it's what I do. She said she could go alone but, what the hell, we're in this together and when crap comes along for one of us, it comes for us both.

Waiting through her first test, I started dozing (only got 3 hours sleep so far last night) and I had the uncanny sensation of being in the cabin on an airplane. We've all been there, right? Oxygen rich air, quiet voices all around, the odd buzzer or 'ding' going off, and having to try and make yourself comfortable in a not too comfy straightbacked chair for an extended time. Well, waking up in a hospital waiting room when you think you're flying to Bermuda is quite the rude awakening.

On the second leg of our flight (in a different waiting room) I heard a nearby couple discussing their dinner menu until I realized the man was going under the knife and it was his post surgery hospital dinner they were choosing. They spoke with intimate casual and mutual concern. Her for his comfort and health, he for the food. It was typical middle married conversation where a woman speaks her mind about what's going on and the husband resorts to dealing with his fears and anxieties by concentrating on an irrelevant issue. So she tries to join his concern over food in an attempt to say it'll be okay. To my surprise, when they walked past me I saw that they weren't that old and it sounded like they hadn't been together that long. Interesting how the patterns of relationships work.

The final leg of our flight landed us in echocardioland and we settled down to wait for Tish to take a turn on the ride. We found ourselves next to a couple, probably in their 80's, who looked faintly familiar, not that we knew them in the least. As they left Tish said, "that looked just like my mother. Same style of clothes and choice of color, same small frail frame." She was right. The woman was wearing a robin's egg pants suit, had hairdresser coiffed teeth-white hair and walked like a southern breeze might knock her down. "Hmmmm," I replied, "the husband looks like I might by that age." Solid, stooped a bit from sitting too long on a bad back, and dressed without any particular style (no golfing pants, or elderly jeans, etc). "It's us in 25 years."

Without another word I could tell we were both jumping the quarter century ahead to whatever might be waiting for us. Not an uncommon thing, I would suppose, when you see so many older people gathered in one place to look after their ills. I wondered about the grandkids at middle age and what experiences will have scored life into their eyes and face. There's no way when our kids were small that I'd have predicted Buddy in the world he inhabits and Sugar settled down in a mobile home with a low end management job. We dreamed of much more for them. They just didn't dream it for themselves.

We deplaned and drove off to get some lunch. That's the problem with growing old. It seems so far off but it's not. Just a few more of these flights around the Sun and it'll all be over.