Who Doesn't Love a Good Reunion?

Yesterday was Mom’s “annual physical.” Ahem... didn’t we just have one of those? Apparently not.... our last 25 doctor visits were for individual body parts. Ahh... I see... no, not the same thing at all...

Mom forewarned me it would be a lengthy appointment and recommended I go do something and come back for her later. Not a chance... I need to actually HEAR what the doctor says so Mom can’t tell me later, “the doctor said I need another appointment,” when the doctor didn’t actually say that...It’s not that Mom is a liar or that she’s trying to manipulate me to get out of the house more often. It’s because she genuinely enjoys a well scheduled doctor visit. For multiple reasons.

I have been blessed and cursed with a mother who has just enough medical knowledge to be dangerous. Once an occupational therapist, she knows the ins and outs of the human body, and she’s not afraid to share it. After all, the doctor may learn a thing or two from her. Right? Sometimes, I become impatient with this imparting of medical expertise.... like I want to protect the doctor from this crazy woman spewing high level terminology for praise... big words that include prefixes like “cardio,” “thrombo,” and “pleuro.” But, on better days (my own....), I can sit and watch Mom regale the doctor with her credible medical references, and summon up a little awe at her great memory and intelligence. Lucky for me, Mom also looks forward to a little poking, prodding, pricking, stitching, and biopsy-ing. You see, doctor’s appointments have become the hightlight of her week. And why not?... a little fresh air... a little intense one-on-one attention... a little social interaction with like-minded people? I get it.   

So – I take Mom into the office, and whoa.... I must’ve missed the invite, but apparently there’s a 1976 high school class reunion in here! There’s Jim, Jane and Janet accompanying their 90+/- year old mothers as well! We all sit in the waiting room saying our “hellos” and catching up. The moms’ conversation is predictable... ailments, deaths, disabilities....but the sub-senior conversation (MINE) takes me aback... We aren’t discussing our children as we would have a few short years ago. Instead, we are comparing notes on our mothers, and frighteningly, our conversation sounds strikingly similar to theirs!

In the world of perspectives, mine has just been given an upgrade. It’s what I call a Sandwich Generation Aha.... where I relate more to the older side of the sandwich, than to the younger. No longer straddling the aging fence, it’s another indicator that I am well on my way myself.

Thankfully, I maintain a kind and loving attitude throughout the one hour doctor appointment (yes- they still exist), and happily provide experiential information about my mother when asked. Aside from a slight adjustment in her blood pressure medicine, all systems are “go.” After a trip to the lab for a blood test (a million miles away from the actual office of course) and a visit to the restroom (another million miles away), it’s time for lunch. Thank God. This is the part I look forward to. My favorite Mom-time is at lunch, after an outing together. It’s the time and place where she gets to enjoy the scenery and non-doctor social interaction with other customers, and I get to enjoy her comments and observations about the same. Honestly, it’s days like these that I realize how much I will miss her one day, and hope that these doctor visits help her live to be 100! 


Emily Gaffney