On Sickness and Health

A friend called me this morning. He’s a very good friend, a close friend. We don’t speak often enough.

The conversation hadn’t gone very far when he told me about another mutual friend with an awful form of cancer. Then he told me about another friend of his, someone I’ve met, with another awful form of cancer&#185. And, as the “coup de grace,” he told me about a small, inconsequential operation he had had.

Billy Crystal says we call them procedures, but they’re operations.

This evening another friend called. His son had suffered a seizure – not the first. Now he would be re-examined for the possibility of a rare disease from an overseas trip to a third world country.

Finally I spoke to my dad tonight. A close friend of his, someone I’ve known all my life… someone whose house I ran away to when I was 12 or 13… is in the hospital. He needs surgery but isn’t medically ready at the moment (whatever that means)&#178.

Where am I going with this?

As I faced into the new year, I realized I was approaching my 55th birthday. When I get there everyone will tell me it’s not as old as it seems or as old as it once was. C’mon. This is like putting lipstick on a pig.

Fifty five is old and I am now out of warranty.

No, I don’t feel like an old person and I try not to act like an old person. I have often said, “I’m 54, but I’m immature for my age.” I’m only middle aged if I’m living to 108! Those things that affect old people become inevitable.

Helaine says this is why you should live for the day. In the abstract that’s right. In reality it’s much more difficult to do.

Growing up, getting older, looked so much more promising from my viewpoint as a kid. From here, the view is not quite as sweet (nor as sharp without my glasses).

There is no moral here. I have no uplifting message to tag on the end. Life is a journey – a finite journey. You never know when or how it will end. In fact, you’re the one person who never finds out.

&#185 – I’m not sure why I am using the word awful as all forms of cancer pretty much suck.

&#178 – This guy, a lifelong smoker whose wife doesn’t know, told the doctors he doesn’t smoke. He might as well ask them to cure him by touching up the x-rays.

One thought on “On Sickness and Health”

  1. Cheer up, Geoff ~ when you believe and KNOW the afterlife will be so much more wonderful than anything here on earth could ever be–regardless of how much you may love your life now— you will be “ready”…whenever the time may come. Yes, prolonged pain and suffering are things to be dreaded, but the rest is not.

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