I was in the waiting room with a bunch of old women, all of us waiting to have an eye sliced and diced. I was in for eye #2. I’d been there awhile when the O.R. nurse came over to me and gave me the pre-op speech and put the blue hair-hat on my head. I took that to mean it was my turn and stood to follow her. “Oh no, not yet, dear. Stay seated. We still have someone on the table. If I took you in now, I’d have to put you on top of her!”
I couldn’t help myself…..
“Could I at least check her out first?”, I asked.
Five old ladies and a nurse cracked up and laughed out loud.
Then the slightly naughty jokes started being told……………all of them by the women! I am sitting in a room with five old ladies, all of whom are 75 plus except for the sixth, a nurse, who was in her late 50’s. And each felt obliged to outdo the other with some kind of naughty, ‘…..a priest and a condom salesman come into a bar…’ kind of joke.
The waiting time flew.
Second eye got done. Piece o’ cake! By the next day my vision was 90% there and today, I suspect, I’ll have both eyes pulling together like draft horses. I can see. It is flippin’ marvelous! Two eyes are definitely better than one. And even the one reconstructed eye was way better than the previous two in their prime. I almost kinda wished I had a third one somewhere that he could rebuild. I don’t care what I would look like, it is just fun seeing so much better.
Turns out I like little old ladies. In small groups, anyway. (One-on-one..?…I am not so sure). Who woulda guessed? I’ve had two groups now and they were both a lot of fun. They have some kind of old-lady cohesion thing going on. The yap-yap sisterhood. They all seemed to know each other even tho they had never met before. They started chatting and laughing and talking about quilting, kids, grandkids, great-grandkids, cats (yes, cats!) and how far they had to travel and then they gave up a bit of their life story. They are all old. They are all no-longer-married. They all have cats. And they are living alone and independently.
Four of ’em had I-pads, too!
One old crone said she volunteered three days a week at the senior’s centre! “Yvonne”, I said, “forgive me for pointing this out but I would venture a guess that you are, yourself, a senior!”
“Yes. But I am healthy and active. I sing in three choirs, too. Plus I volunteer at the hospital here!”
One of the old ladies is aboriginal and she still does all her old native things. She just came back from clam-digging up one of the inlets. “Yesh, it was pretty cold. We had to break the surface ice to get into the beach. But we dug up a boatload. We did good”. She was late 70’s. Just barely five feet tall. Didn’t weigh 100 pounds. And they hand-dug the beach with small clam-rakes and collected the little mollusk morsels in large net bags! Took ém all day to fill the boat and then drive four hours back to Powell River. In the winter.
Lot of stories like that.
When my operation was done, they took me down to the lobby in a wheelchair. Sal was there waiting and looking concerned. “Oh, sweetie……..you OK? Everything all right?” I smiled at the old volunteer and said, “It was hell! Oh my gawd! I am gonna need a lot of extra attention. And tea. Lots of tea. Maybe a little lie-down before dinner……………..ooooh……………eye operations, eh? Pretty hard on a guy.”
The volunteer smiled and kept her mouth shut. It was Valentines day, after all, and I guess she figured I was needing a bit of coddling. After all, the men just aren’t as tough.