Conversations with friends and family have changed as I’ve gotten older. It seems all my conversations now include a medical update. The following is a typical conversation with my mother.
Me: Hi, Mom.
Mom: Who is this?
Me: It’s me, Cindy, your daughter.
Mom: OH, Cindy, you’ll have to speak up I can’t hear you.
Me: It sounds like you got a party going on. Do you have company?
Mom: No. it’s the television. I keep it loud so I can hear it. I have no trouble hearing the commercials which they blast. Hold on while I lower it… ok, I’m back.
Me: That’s better. You really need to get a hearing aid. Anyway, how are you? Have you worn the perfume I sent you?
Mom: No, not yet, my knee’s been acting up so I put BenGay on it and wouldn’t have been able to smell the perfume. Last night I really stunk. I was a mix of BenGay and Vicks vapor rub when I got in bed.
Me: I just bought a brace for my ankle that’s been acting up. How’s Uncle Tony?
Mom: Uncle Tony just had emergency hip surgery.
Me: Oh, no. What happened?
Mom: He was walking to his car to go for the physical therapy he gets for his shoulder on account of the car accident when he slipped and fell on ice. Turns out he needed a new hip. Now, the therapist comes to the house. He’s so happy he no longer has to make the drive; the lucky bastard. I should give him one of my walkers.
Me: One of your walkers? How many walkers do you have?
Mom: Two, my drugstore had a sale, buy one, get one fifty percent off. You never know when you’ll need one.
Me: You never know.
Mom: He was home in a couple of days. The surgery went off without a hitch.
Me: I remember after my surgery they told me I needed to eat something before I could go home. They gave me a Saltine cracker. I was just diagnosed with high blood pressure and they give me a salted cracker. Then the sock they put on me before surgery went missing. Since I was unconscious and immobile during surgery, it’s a mystery how it happened. I wonder if everybody looked at my foot. Sure am glad I had that pedicure.
Mom: Did they give you medication?
Mom: How many you on now?
Mom: Three? Ha! That’s nothing. I’m on eight. A rare side effect of the new medicine my doctor just prescribed is death. Death! Can you believe it? The information packet advised me to contact me doctor in case of a rare side effect. I would think death’s a rare side effect, wouldn’t you?
Me: I most certainly would.
Mom: Well, how can I call my doctor if I’m dead? Death is permanent, not temporary; unless it’s a soap opera. On soap operas people come back from the dead all the time.
Me: True. There’s no coming back from death. Death is a nail in the coffin.
Mom: Coffin?! I don’t want to be buried. I hate coffins.
Me: Not many people like them.
Mom: I want to be cremated. Remember that in case I drop dead from this medicine meant to help me. Can’t believe I’m on another drug. When you’re young they tell you ‘Don’t take drugs.’ When you’re old they tell you, ‘Take drugs.’
Me: I’ll remember – cremation, no burial.
Mom: Have you and Ralph decided to be buried or cremated?
Mom: And, what does he want?
Me: He said he’ll be dead and for me to surprise him.
Mom: I gotta go, time to take my pill.
Me: Ok. Bye. Talk soon.
Mom: Maybe, maybe not, depends if I up and die from this pill before then. You know how I hate to complain.
And that concludes our medical update.