Yesterday, I was lucky enough to spend the day with my oldest friend here in California. She is not my “oldest friend”, but my longest running friendship here. She is actually about 12 or 13 years younger than I, but she has serious pain issues, suffering from a series of debilitating back problems.
I am writing about this to point out, yet again, how ill-equipped most of us are to see those we love in pain and how as we age ourselves, this will become more and more a part of our everyday life. It breaks my heart to see someone so vital, struggling to carry on with their everyday life and to keep up with family and friends and losing the battle. She is very funny and often makes us laugh with her self-deprecating humor, but those of us who love her can see the pain behind the wise cracks.
As I try to keep these blogs personal and yet relatable to readers, I guess my larger point would be to look around ourselves and see what we can learn about aging. One thing it has re-enforced in me is my knowledge that I am an acute person. I can live with almost anything that goes wrong if the doctors simply say, “you have a splinter in your finger, we must remove your hand tomorrow at 9am” I’m good. If, however they say, “we think you have a splinter in your finger, we are not sure, we will watch it for a month or so and then decide”, I completely fall apart. I don’t “do” chronic well, in fact I don’t do chronic well in any aspect of my life.
Now as I am getting older, I am becoming “acutely” aware of this not terrific trait. If I am not hit by a bus or an asteroid, I may have to deal with chronic at some point. So I am watching my dear friend Caryl like a hawk, to get some life lessons. I hope she’ll continue to show such courage in the face of pain, or better yet for the very unrealistic, immature me, make a miraculous, total recovery and come out to play again with her little friend.
I am older, but I am looking up to you to teach me a thing or two, don’t let me down!