We live, we learn – mostly we live. So as it turns out, “twice-weekly PT sessions for six weeks” merely covered Phase 1. Six weeks ended Friday morning and now we try another month. And then we “see.” Not a problem – once I graduate, there goes 90% of my outside social life, so what would be the rush?
Health, though – such a ginormous issue in every direction. Do we possess it? Do we value it? What value are other people placing on our health? Do we take it entirely for granted, or do everything we can to maintain it? Or realistically, somewhere between? And if we lose it, can we get it back?
The past few months have shown us that my bones are in far better health than we knew. And I’ve lost some pounds so my numbers are starting to improve — the dread NUMBERS that cause your extremely caring GP to make sad-panda eyes and counsel you to drop even more pounds and take scary-sounding drugs. I’m just stumbling along for now, thanks, and trying to beat those numbers into submission by means of personal discipline and other words I avoid.
My preoccupation with health at the moment stems from learning that a cousin is going through a hellish experience. He’s six weeks older than I am and we grew up more like siblings than cousins, our other siblings nicely stair-stepped or matched up in age, which made extended-family vacations oh so simple. And now the skinny little boy in the photo is all grown up and overrun by adulthood, and he’s ill and in pain. That hurts my heart. He’s a kind man who’s “been there” for everyone else. And life couldn’t possibly get away this fast and our bodies metamorphose so quickly into whatever stage this is that feels suspiciously like a cocoon, while our 60’s-addled brains go right on scheming and dreaming and making plans like a boss. Wow, whiplash!
Here, in their natural habitat, are my cousin Bruce, his big sister Vickie on the left, our Aunt Bonnie, who was probably still a teenager, and wide-eyed me, wondering what it was all about, Alfie. This was just the other day, I’m pretty sure — I remember the shingles on that house — they were a reddish-brown and felt funny under my fingertips.
Bruce will get well I think, and we’ll all go on. But the knowledge that he’s dependent for now on a wheelchair and round-the-clock help from an only slightly younger brother brings it all home in kind of an in-your-face way.
I mean, today Patty Duke has left the building. In recent days it’s been Natalie Cole, David Bowie, Alan Rickman, Glenn Frey, Pat Conroy, Garry Shandling, and a litany of others in my generation. This isn’t going to stop, and I’m not ready for it. Happen it will, though, that’s how this goes.
We are ALL most definitely playing for time, boys and girls. Make it count.