For two weeks I have lived with a fear that ran through my life like an underground stream. I would walk through the street or the parking lot and the words of the world-weary Macbeth would creep back into my head:
I have lived long enough.
Long enough for what, I’d ask. Have I run out of ways to make myself miserable? Is God therefore ready to let me fall? Is the joke finally worn thin?
At other times I would feel not a specific fear but a nameless dread: not of death but of the possible ways it could find to take me.
See, I turned 65 in February. Enduring a divorce was not as traumatic. That is not hyperbole. It is my emotional truth.
I got to go onto the Medicare rolls and to go on faith that I could pay for the supplemental insurance that would cushion me rather than demolish me. And I did so in good time.
I fell on my right knee in my own house and tore something called a meniscus. My leg still hurts. I probably cannot run anymore. But the knee is going to be rehab’d before the surgeon tries some arthroscopic procedure. “They’re tryin’ to make me go to rehab, I say no, no, no” [thanks for the loan, Ms. Winehouse]. I never intended to be Keith Hernandez, so why am I getting all this sports medicine attention? It’s all my doctor’s fault.
My new primary care doctor, a marvelous women (surprised?), examined me and said “I feel something in your abdomen.” She sent me for an MRI and discovered that there is a cyst about four inches long on my liver, as well a couple of smaller ones on my kidneys.
I love this doctor. I ask her questions in plain English and she answers them the same way.
“How do we treat this?” I asked her.
“We don’t.” Oooookay. It’s either fatal or inconsequential. So this:
“Are we talking about a malignancy?”
“No, there are no other signs to suggest it.”
And she sent me for a CT scan.
The results came back. No cancer but we have to watch one kidney cyst for awhile.
I was on the phone several hours later and suddenly a wave of exhaustion swept over and through me. I had to excuse myself and lay down because I had a tension headache that felt like someone was pressing their fist into the back of my neck.
I escaped this time. The sword went past my ear, the bullet didn’t have my name on it. Today.
One day at a time, right? Yawwwwwn.
One day the call will come and it won’t be the same call I got today. It’s not exactly scary. It’s sort of refreshing not to be a human voodoo doll for a couple of days.