Oh the retirement years, the days we yearn for. We look forward to the time when there are no alarm clocks or deadlines. The day when someone else’s rules are behind us. A time for reflection, a time for joy and to pay it forward.
As an independent woman, a fit woman and basically a happy woman, my expectations were to read, write, dance and fill my days and nights with laughter. For the most part, many of my days are like that. How quickly the days turn into weeks, the weeks into months and the months into years. I’ve had many beautiful days of lollygagging and numerous exciting adventures.
Then it happened. The gray hair became a little grayer and the ticker decided to add a few extra beats. I inherited a new habit that I promised myself I would never, ever have. Which is to make a doctors appointment, and then tell my family “I’m unavailable that entire day!
The entire day!! Are you kidding me, the appointment was from 10:00 to 11:00. I was appalled at myself. Since when did a one hour appointment become the entire day? I couldn’t believe my own ears.
I decided to never again consider one doctors appointment my entire day. I can also grocery shop, go to lunch with friends, get my haircut and see a movie, yes all in the same day as my doctors appointment!
Or can I?
On this particular doctor day, in spite of the fact that my mouth was on fire from some unknown origin, I was headed to my long-awaited eye doctor appointment to determine the fate of my maturing eyes.
After my third attempt to leave the house due to car-key loss, eyeglass misplacement and the dreaded doctor authorization forms, I was finally on my way.
Even with all that planning I forgot to bring my water bottle, which proved to be a quagmire later in the day. Driving down the highway at top speed, sixty-two, I was recalling my cardiologist appointment from the day before. They took me off all heart medications! What a coup. Besides keeping me from having a stroke, that experience taught me how to take handfuls of pills at a time. Up to that point, I was a one at a time, special tongue placement, kind of pill gal.
Reeling in the excitement, I missed a turn and got to the doctors office almost two minutes late. The receptionist looked at her watch and gave me a dirty look. She evidently wanted me to wait thirty minutes not twenty-eight. While in the waiting room, which was filled with other sight deprived patients, I wisely thought to reach out to my dentist to get an emergency visit to check out the “mouth on fire” issue.
After I made everyone neurotically uncomfortable and adequately rushed at the ophthalmologist office, I jumped in the car and began my eleven mile trip to the dentist. I hadn’t anticipated my eyes being dilated. Even with the visor down and my hand up to block the sun from my eyes, I was squinting. Traveling down the highway at top speed, I had only 10 minutes to get there and wanted to make sure I gave them the appropriate waiting room time period.
Frantically, I found the entrance to the dentist office and after the rapid examination, the doctor pronounced is uncanny diagnosis….Drumroll please… DRY MOUTH SYNDROME. I listened to the wild guess from the dentist, as he read his tooth manual. “There is a possibility that you could have a hormonal imbalance.” He closed the book and announced his epiphany, “Purchase mouth spray from the drugstore.”
I parked in the store lot and hurriedly called my hormone specialist who surprisingly asked me a lot of sensible questions. His telephone diagnosis was that I was most likely having a reaction from a cold I had a few weeks earlier. I listened to his plausible explanation and he immediately sent me a picture of an allergy medication. My car was becoming extremely humid and in my hysteria I was either unwilling or unable to roll down my window to give myself some air. I was blind as a bat and realized I had no water for my saliva-less throat.
I didn’t know the exact moment I realized I needed to go to the bathroom but it had already graduated from a small possibility to a dire circumstance?
After my hormone PA, filled me in on everything I should and shouldn’t be doing, I dragged my overheated sorry ass, dry mouth, exploding bladder, blind self into CVS.
Then the challenges began. I roamed the isles only to find that the labels in the entire store were blurred. “What is the matter with this drugstore!” I then stood in line and quietly whispered to the gal at the register, “Can anyone assist me in picking out this medication? I held up my phone with the picture of the bottle.
She gave me the once over then squinted her eyes. She cocked her head and looked at me with that suspicious, you look like you’re chipper enough to do this task by yourself look. I leaned in a little closer as the tears began to welt up in my eyes. Then and only then did she seem to understand. Tears are always good, I thought. Her demeanor softened and I murmured, “My eyes are dilated and I can’t see.” She gave my hand a quizzical look as I held my car keys. She closed her register and walked me down isle 3 or could it have been 8?
It is possible this might not have been my finest hour!