In the last three weeks I wrote about the fact that, I fell in my bathroom and broke my nose. My teeth almost when through the roof of my mouth. I had bruises everywhere, there was blood everywhere, and it hurt to move. I went in an ambulance to a hospital. At the time, I had no idea that I would be another ambulance one week later. As I was still getting over that fall, at my apartment when, all of a sudden, another problem reared it’s head and I went to the hospital, once again, in an ambulance. I had a series of tests and now all looks perfect. I don’t have anything to be worried about. I won’t go into the details about my last hospital visit, because that is the boring part of the story. I was home the next afternoon looking like my old self and feeling, as good or as bad, as usual. The very best part of my last excursion to the hospital was when the pretty young woman who accompanied me in the ambulance, looked at me, with a quizzical expression on her face and said, “Your husband told me that you were 66 years old, she went on, I think he was very nervous and worried and he didn’t know what he was saying. Are you 56 or 46? “
Well, I didn’t care if I died at that moment because I was already in heaven. You realize, at the time I was wearing a pair of yoga pants and a short sleeve navy shirt. I wasn’t wearing any makeup and I had two black eyes and a slightly swollen nose from my previous fall the week before. My hair was in a loose braid. SHE SAID, “ARE YOU 56 OR 46 YEARS OLD!!! “ Hallelujah! Maybe she wears contacts and she had forgotten to wear them, that day. Lately, when I look in the mirror at myself, I often think to myself, “Who on earth is that old, old, woman staring back at me?” The whole experience was worth it for the fact that a pretty 30-year-old woman didn’t believe that I was 66 years old. (BLESS HER LITTLE HEART!) She asked me the date of my birth. Even though I’m not the best at math … I do know my birthday and my Social Security Number and I rattled them off to her. She also asked me what day it was and who the President was … I told her the name of the Vice President and the Secretary of State. She didn’t ask those last two questions but I threw them in any way to impress her. (Have you noticed how kids today don’t know any pertinent information regarding our country??)
When I arrived at the hospital they asked me more questions. They asked me if I had a Living Will, I don’t, however, I have let my children and family know my wishes. Then she asked, “Who is responsible for you?” I repeated that line out loud. I mouthed the words, “Who IS responsible for me?” I had no idea? It is usually only me. I am the one who is always responsible for everyone else and I am responsible for me. Then she said, “Who do you trust to make decisions for you?” Once again I mouthed the words. “Who do I trust to make decisions for me???” I couldn’t answer her and I never did. She stopped asking, and went on, “ If it ever becomes necessary, do you want to be resuscitated?” Hmmm? “Do I want to be resuscitated? “ This time I answered, “Yes, I guess I do. Just once. If I have to be resuscitated, not more than once; let’s give it one chance, one more chance, for the Gipper.” I know she didn’t understand that last line, because she was young and she probably doesn’t watch TCM movies. She ignored my statement as she wrote down that I wanted to be resuscitated, if necessary, only one time.
My husband and my son and our three animals were visiting me, because it was Thanksgiving the week before and I had fallen and broken my nose and wasn’t quite up to par yet. I seriously had to think…. who in my life would or could or would want to be responsible for me? My oldest son is very steady and reliable, however, he would always worry if he would make the correct decision. It would weigh on his conscience. My youngest son has a volatile personality and is too unpredictable and emotional. He could make a fast decision that he might later regret. Then there is my Was-band; I really don’t know what he would do in an emergency? Oddly enough, I think he might try to keep me alive even when I would rather be dead. Therefore, once again, I discovered that it’s just me. I only have me, to rely on, in an emergency situation. In a way we are all like that. We come into this world alone and we leave the world alone. I did learn one important fact. I am not afraid to die. No, I ‘m not facing death now … I am alive and well and healthy, but no one knew that for sure when I was in the ambulance. I wasn’t in the least bit afraid of dying. That is comforting to know. I actually think sometimes it is harder to live than it is to die. I was only afraid of not being 100 % like my usual self.
When I first realized that I was mortal I was eight years old. I am not sure what happened to make me aware that I was a mortal human and that some day in the future between my eighth birthday and my 100thbirthday, I will not be an alive breathing human anymore. It popped into my head that all of us die and that I was, and still am, included in that most important group, the human group of mortals. We are all here and alive and breathing and thinking and pretending that this life of ours, won’t end, but it does, and it will. The good news is … that this gets easier and easier to handle and accept, with every passing year. In the last three weeks, I have had to remember my mother and sister’s birthdays that were only one day apart. They are both gone. I’ve been to the hospital twice and last but not least, this last Tuesday on a December evening, my building was on fire. A loud-speaker that is on the wall of each apartment made the announcement that we must leave the building immediately and the voice told us not to use the elevators. I walked down 16 flights where I took time to breathe in the beautiful, crisp, fresh, air. I stood outside with the rest of the human beings from our high-rise building and their dogs and cats and I looked at the stars and the sky, and I was still alive, and well, and happy to be alive, to keep on, keeping on.
Until Next Week…