By Joan Blumenfeld, MS, LPC
“Growing old ain’t for sissies!” as Bette Davis so bluntly put it. She was absolutely right. But sometimes things do happen that are downright funny!
Our father, Mark, was retired. When I arrived for a visit, he was on the phone. Someone was calling to solicit money from him for a good cause, no doubt. He listened respectfully and politely told them, “No, thank you.” The caller continued to explain why the cause was worthy of his support. Mark listened some more with a heightened sense of annoyance and repeated a still polite but firmer “No!” The caller persisted. Finally Mark reached his peak of patience, and loudly sputtered, “No! I can’t! I’m, I’m …. expired!” and slammed down the phone!
We all had a good laugh at his malapropism, which defused a tense situation.
Then there was the time we took Mother to a highly recommended geriatric psychiatrist. We went there to discuss a much touted new medication reputed to halt the progress of Alzheimer’s disease, at least for a while.
This important practitioner of geriatric psychiatry had his office in an old brownstone just off Fifth Avenue on the upper east side in New York City.
I knew we were in trouble as soon as I saw the building! There were fourteen steep brownstone steps leading to the heavy wrought iron door, which opened into a tiny, dimly lit front hall.
The waiting room was small, cluttered and messy; the walls were painted dull mustard yellow. The furniture was circa 1950s Goodwill. The wastebasket was full to overflowing. It was a joke, except it wasn’t!
As we settled down to await our geriatric consult, my father looked around. With a twinkle in his eye, in a loud and bemused voice he commented, “If I wasn’t depressed before, I certainly would be now!” He got no argument from me!
And that probably saved the day. It discouraged him from walking out then and there. After a perfunctory discussion, the doctor prescribed the new medication. Ultimately it had no effect on Mother, either good or bad. But the irony of sitting with my frail elderly parents in a geriatric specialist’s office that was so remarkably unwelcoming stays with me to this day. The incongruity makes me laugh!
PEARL OF WISDOM
Find the humor in situations when you can. These moments will become treasured memories.
Joan Blumenfeld is a Geriatric Care Manager based in Fairfield County, Connecticut. For information visit her web site www.joanblumenfeld.com. © 2010 Joan Blumenfeld.
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