New Years


Peggy had an esophageal dilation and biopsy on New Years Eve. Afterwards, she was as helpless as a baby, and I was the lion at her gate. Every now and then, she would rouse a little and murmur, “Are you ready to go home yet?” I would say, “Today, sweetheart, it really is all about you, and I want you to rest for as long as you need to.”

We went to a party that night. There were Oregon wines, Oregon beers, and Glenlivet Scotch. I was always partial to Scotch—which I hadn’t tasted in decades—and I drank a bit more than my share. It wasn’t as tasty as I remembered, and I even had the thought that I would have preferred gin or vodka. I so seldom drink hard liquor that I didn’t know my taste had changed.

Everyone split off into groups to play cards. Hearts is something else that I hadn’t enjoyed in decades, and I was excited about playing it again. Unfortunately, no one else at my table had their hearts into it (ha). The woman beside me was about sixty and her hippie party clothes were appropriately complemented by long straight hair—long straight gray hair. She was nothing if not loquacious and, on that count alone, I imagined her as the belle of the ball. I suspected that I wasn’t among her favorites, and immediately felt as if I was fifteen again and had been rejected by the prettiest snob in class. I just as quickly remembered that I was nowhere near fifteen. Oh, what a happy thought: “Been there, done that, don’t ever have to do it again.”

My fellow partygoers mostly thought that it was time for Dick Clark to call it quits, and one man made an ass of himself by mocking his speech. Peggy said she admired Dick Clark’s spunk and looks forward to seeing him each year. I didn’t care one way or the other, but then I never was a fan of Dick Clark. At the magic moment, we all filed out of the house and stood in the drizzle banging pans and lighting sparklers. By 12:15, the belle of the ball and her partner were gone. At 12:30, Peggy and I left. I usually stay at parties until late because the best conversations happen in the wee hours, but Peggy was feeling bad.

When I got home, there was a message from the secretary of my IOOF lodge. He said that one member, Don, is dying and that another, Doyd, is in the hospital with pneumonia. I went to see Doyd today. He and his wife are ninety. She broke her hip and is recuperating in a nearby nursing home, so they can’t very well take care of one another, and the only family they have nearby is a son who doesn’t speak to them. I know someone who has the following on her blog: “Embrace all of life and not just the happy parts.” She is twenty-one and probably doesn’t know how bad some of the bad parts can get. Then again, maybe she does.

Three days after her biopsy, Peggy is still struggling to get up to speed. This is the third time in less than a year that one of us has been tested for cancer, and the waiting never gets any easier.

6 comments:

JOE TODD said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog the other day. It is a work in progress and will continue to make a lot of changes. I read through some of your posts and could relate on several levels. Life sure has it's ups and downs. I have found that my serenity is usually dependent on my ability to accept a situation. Again thanks and I wish you a good year

Strayer said...

I hope Peggy is ok. I sure hope she is. That's scary, the waiting, really scary. The imagination can go wild.

Pantheist Mom said...

Sounds like a horribly rough start to a New Year - with the biopsy and the news about your friends. I hope the news for Peggy is good. She sounds like such a lovely person.

Bill said...

Sorry to hear about Peggy. I agree with you. I am neutral when it comes to Dick Clark. At the same time though, I find it absolutely amazing how well he has recovered. My dad had a stroke around the same time as him and for some reason, I just like seeing how much he has improved each year.

Janet said...

Thanks for stopping by and leaving a note. I'm not really blogging. I just have a space that will identify myself. I felt that was better than leaving comments from an anonymous donor.

I don't think it is wise to embrace all of life. There are definitely things on this planet that I don't want anything to do with, including cancer and pain. If I embraced the horrible parts of life, I would be inviting them to take over my life. Not going to happen.

As cute as your dog is, I would not embrace her either. That would be pure masochism. I would have given her away immediately and have foregone the pain. I'm glad she's enriched your life.

And by the way, don't feel bad about not getting carded. I was offered senior discounts when I was only 50. (This picture was taken at around 43.)

Snowbrush said...

"If I embraced the horrible parts of life, I would be inviting them to take over my life. Not going to happen."

But can one embrace the very thing that they would like to see different? In the case of people (including oneself) does condemnation work better than compassion? I don't know. I do know that if I get too down on myself about something that it seems to thwart change because I start to feel that I don't deserve anything better.

"As cute as your dog is, I would not embrace her either."

The thing about Bonnie is that she takes herself damn seriously. She has a sense of dignity that your basic big old lovable dog lacks completely. I not only love Bonnie, I respect her. She demands it.