Marriage: November 2008 Archives

Vision of the future

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I've been on antibiotics three times in seven weeks, twice for strep throat (currently) and once for a throat infection. I would blame my children but I don't have enough energy.

I woke up this morning barely able to make a squeak; I'd lost my voice. I freaked and went to see my doctor, a wonderful ears, nose, and throat man who's been peering down my throat and in my ears since I was 13 years-old. He wears cowboy boots, has a portrait of George W. Bush in his office; hunting licenses are framed and displayed prominently throughout his office and a collection of stuffed game hangs on the walls in the waiting room. He talks so fast I can barely understand him and he's called me "beanpole" since I was a kid. My kids think he's fascinating and I think the feeling is mutual. They always get the spoils of pharmaceutical rep visits; last visit Doc gave them each one of those lighted wands that physicians use to look up a person's nose.

I sat in his office opposite the wall bearing a giant preserved swordfish and waited my turn. The door to the inner sanctum of his office opened and a small, elderly woman wearing what was obviously a wig puttered through the door, assisted by her equally petite husband, who held her purse and beamed at her.

"She's doing so well," the little old man told Doc. He situated her in her seat before disappearing back behind the door to settle their bill. She raised her eyebrows at me in a nonverbal salutation and I smiled back. She was shaking a bit; she rested her elbow on the armrest and her forehead on her fingertips. It was only 10 o'clock and yet she was already exhausted. I could hear her husband and Doc discussing how well she was doing on the other side of the wall. I guessed that they were in their 80s, at least, and marveled at how wonderful it was that they both were in their twilight years together.

After awhile the door opened again and her husband announced: "Ready to go, hon?"

"That's all?" she asked.

"That's it! Let's get home." He offered his arm to her as she rose unsteadily and they shuffled together towards the door. I smiled at them as they left, as he opened the door and held it open for her, all while still holding her purse. He took such care with her and while neither of them could move very fast, he could probably out-shuffle her, yet he matched his pace with hers exactly and flanked her the entire time, hovering, protective.

"I'm so glad we did this," he said, their voices fainter as they made their way into the hall. I thought of all the times I've been sick (I have a weak upper respiratory system) and all the times that Chris picked up the slack unquestioningly; finishing the laundry, loading the dishwasher, placing a glass of water and my by my bed when I've laid in a medicine-induced stupor. I have no doubt that should we, God willing, make it into our latter twilight years, that we'll be shuffling along together, too.

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