My Recent Tuneup
By Georgie Bright Kunkel
Every age has its advantages and disadvantages. Life is like that. There is no free ride, as they say. Any generation that hasn’t learned about that is in for a rude awakening. As I have often remarked, “Life is not fair.” But who determines what is fair and what isn’t fair? Being inside our own skin we look at life as surrounding our own selfish desires. It isn’t until we learn to appreciate community that we can gain a true perspective on it all.
All those who have contributed to our well being are remembered—loving parents, friends, partners, offspring and teachers who went that extra mile to give us a boost in life. Gradually, we turn this all around by being the ones who give younger family members and our friends that same kind of boost. Who are your supportive friends? Who are the professionals on whom you depend? I have learned to depend upon my doctor through times of physical downturn. I joke about wondering if all the specialists whom I have visited ever talk together and combine all the pieces of information that each gathers about me—like a human jigsaw puzzle.
And darn the luck, I get no sympathy because my physical problems only bother other people. Allergies with their irritating nose sniffles and cough only get this response, “There must be something you can do to clear up that stuffy nose.”
Today I gussied up in a great outfit to drive to the office of a specialist. While I was sitting in the exam room waiting I was surprised by my legislator walking in. She works for my health provider. She had just been talking to the nurse who took my vital signs and was told, “I hope I am like her when I get old.”
Then in came the doctor who tapped each knee and poked my skin all the way down into my toes that have been numb lately. As I guessed, I now can put a name on a physical problem for which there is no cure. I am content to live with it but hate being told that it goes with the territory of getting older. Don’t you hate that? I mentioned that I was wearing a new pair of shoes—maybe the last pair of shoes I will ever have to buy. Remember when I mentioned having to buy new tires for my car? I thought to myself, “This may be the last set of tires I will ever have to buy.” I say that a lot lately.
When I am in a vulnerable spot I use humor to soften the situation. I thought a little levity on the questionnaire would entertain my new doctor. As I was filling out my family history of illness and the like I had fun with one question—Are you having any difficulty with sex? I wrote jokingly, “Don’t you know that all the men my age are either dead or in care centers? That’s a line that I use on the comedy stage. It is about time for me to return to the stage but the local comedy venue has suffered from management cancellation of comedy night a few times lately. Hope they are up and running again soon as I need to let off steam. At least when I do go on stage I won’t have to remark, “This may be my last time.” Yes, I can still say, “Hello, everyone. I am the oldest standup comic—who can still stand up.”
Don’t expect me to break my leg again to qualify for going on stage this time.
Been there, done that.
Georgie Bright Kunkel is a freelance writer who can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 206-935-8663.