Elder Issues

“REALLY, you guys should check it out, my heart doctor is excellent. He’s just a kid, like Richard here.  But he seems to know what he’s doing. I mean, he didn’t kill me or anything.  I can give you his phone number if you want.”

Yesterday, we were having lunch with my husband’s new business partner, a handsome 30-year-old CPA who is so cute he “makes some of our clients, blush.”  There we were, three senior citizens (my husband, Alan, his old college buddy and business partner of 40 years, Bob, and me) having lunch with a young whippersnapper (that’s old folk talk…in case you are under 30 yourself).

When you’re a senior citizen, everybody looks like a kid. One client asked Richard, “How old are you anyways?”

We were lunching at CoCo’s, one of the restaurants we frequent so often that the waitresses call us by name.

Anyhow, as often is the case when senior citizens outnumber youngsters at lunchtime, the conversation moved to illnesses, treatments, stomach issues and other medical stuff.  Bob, the oldest member of this lunch club, started telling us about a procedure he recently had:  a “catheter ablation for atrial fibrillation.”

“Sounds ghastly,” I blurted out, as Bob struggled with the proper medical pronunciation.

“Wasn’t that bad at all, really,” Bob began, as the waitress placed his iced tea with lemon in front of him.  “The heart doctor just runs a tube up through a vein in your groin, up to your heart.  Of course, you’re sedated … sort of.  You are in twilight sleep, but you can hear the doctors talking and joking around.”

Bob Fees, my husbands old college buddy. Together they built an amazing and successful CPA firm.

“Can’t wait until it’s my turn,” I said laughing.  “It sounds just lovely.”

“No, really Paula.  It was an easy procedure.  And a common procedure.  The specialist just inserts a needle into a vein in your groin.  And afterwards, I felt so much better…more energy…really amazing.”

I glanced over at Richard, our young lunch companion, and could clearly see he was wondering why on earth he had decided to dine with these doddering old fools.

“You know,” I said, turning to my husband, “Richard just hung his diplomas in his office this morning.  If we keep this kind of lively conversation going, he just might take them down and head for his car.”

My side comment didn’t slow Bob down one bit.  In fact, he was clearly picking up steam and wanted to tell us more about his latest medical marvel.

“During the ablation, not sure how you pronounce it, the doctor destroys tiny areas in the heart that are firing off abnormal electrical impulses and causing atrial fibrillation.”  Bob seemed to be enjoying himself as he picked at the french fries left on his plate. “Of course, like anything medical, there are risks. You know, stuff like nerve damage, blood clots, or the doctor might put a hole in your artery or you might have a heart attack and croak on the table. You know, stuff like that.”

Bob was on a roll now.

“REALLY, you guys should check it out, my heart doctor is excellent. He’s just a kid, like Richard here.  But he seems to know what he’s doing. I mean, he didn’t kill me or anything.  I can give you his phone number if you want.”

“That’s quite a recommendation,” I laughed.  “He didn’t kill you, so he’s excellent.”

In all fairness to Bob, I was the one who had started talking about heart problems. When we first sat, I told the group that my oldest sister, who is eighty-three, had just been in the hospital for some sort of procedure.

“Only one downside,” Bob continued, unabated by our lack of enthusiasm for the increasingly gory details of his treatment.  “Afterwards, there is quite a bit of bruising.  My groin was black and purple and blue all over.  It hurt, and it was swollen too.  Not kidding, you guys, it really was.”

“Really?” I asked laughing. “And how did you know that?”  Okay, so I was egging him on a bit.

“Well, I looked, of course.  What did you think?” Bob snapped back at me, as if I was an idiot for asking.

The mental image of Bob, our grey-headed and balding, somewhat chubby old buddy, bent-over at his waist, peering at his grape-colored groin, sent the rest of the lunch bunch into hysterics.

We have been married so long…50-plus years…that we can finish each others sentences.

“Hey Richard,” I said to our young companion, as we got up to leave. “Don’t miss lunch next Tuesday…Bob has promised to tell us about his recent colonoscopy.  Should be a real page turner and … right up your alley.”

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