The Time In Between
How would you feel if you woke up one ordinary sunny morning and realized that you were now old? No, really, old. It wasn’t from a horror film or a nightmare but it was just realizing what you were seeing up close, really seeing in the mirror. It happened to me, from one night to the next and I was absolutely horrified. That couldn’t be me, could it? Really? Getting older is something I talk about with friends, in the abstract, I talk to people around the same age that I am or family members, but not seriously. Sure we all have some gentle fears for the future and the unknown but we can all relate to it. Any fears we have go away with our yoga class and deep breathing exercises. Until the day, that one different day, months later, when you are not able to breathe and my heart felt pain all the time and those thoughts become wilder and it truly is alarming. My husband, Gary, called 911 and the ambulance came eventually. Oh, how I didn’t want that, all that fanfare, stretchers and backboards and people taking my pulse and giving me oxygen with the whole street outside, I hated it but I knew there was no choice, so I closed my eyes and with my wicked sense of humor, pretended to be dead.
When the doctor finally came in to see me in the Emergency Room and told me that my heart was perfect and that I had experienced a panic attack, I couldn’t decide if I was relieved or embarrassed at the diagnosis. All they did was hook me up to some oxygen and some sort of sedative and soon I was sleeping. When the doctor ( he looked about 14 ) said I was okay to leave he gave me a prescription for anxiety medication, little orange pills for when I felt this way again, which was probable,”for people your age” the young intern said cheerfully. He said “probable” not “possible” and “for people my age.” What the hell was that supposed to mean? Even though I was groggy, I hated him just for that.
It made me think alright, I guess I couldn’t deny any longer the little things that were happening to me. Like that I had no hearing at all from my left ear, that my muscles had atrophied so much that when I walked up a flight of stairs I wheezed and clung to the stair rail and that when Bootsie, our dog passed we didn’t replace her and we had been such dog lovers because dogs became too much trouble for us.
Gary started sleeping next door in the “extra bedroom” because of his snoring and sleep apnea and after a while, I got over the loneliness and I really didn’t mind having a room all to myself. I just stopped caring and this was easier for both of us. Time was whizzing by, seasons came and they left but the routines remained the same, it’s not as if they were traveling the world or doing exciting things, truly they were JUST the things we did every single day.
Wasn’t I just young? Wasn’t that just yesterday? First, playing on the street corners with my friends, then high school and college. Growing up to be independent and living on my own. Getting married and having the two joys of my life, our son and daughter, then they left us too. It all went in a circle but it kept spinning over and over again.I wore jeans and sneakers in college and I still wear them except now I need orthotics in my shoes. My pants are from the “mom” section and my daughter, when she comes to visit with me, rolls her eyes up in disgust.
Time passes, seasons come and go, people die and babies are born, things are fair and yes, unfair and we have no choice but to hang on for dear life. We need to choose to either fight fiercely for the ride or just give in. Today, Gary and I are going to the animal shelter, we have talked about it; we want to adopt a dog again, hopefully not a dog that needs to run around a lot but a dog that needs love, just like us. We will continue to live and fight, get out of bed and walk that dog, together, for however long we have. We’ll name her Trixie.