Friday, June 21, 2013

A Woman Named Mickey

I have two great fears. My primary fear is never to be mentioned. Superstition or not, I will never utter that fear.

My second fear, is the terrible process of aging. I don't mean my vanity of wrinkles. I've had those since the ripe old age of fifteen.
What I am talking about is the loss of function in body or mind.

I have access to many places, some cool as hell and some just hell. I have a few homes for the aged or disabled and some with the combination of the two.

Money makes a difference.

I was at a moderate income aging facility. The patients had a variety of ailments. Some slept in easy chairs, some stared at the television. Some wander the halls asking where the elevator is or where someone they used to know has gone.

All this crushes my heart. Sitting here typing, my eyes are welling up.

I don't want this to be me. I don't want someone to be changing my diaper. Or being bedridden, so when I soil myself, I have to be rolled over and someone must clean me. At what age do you lose dignity? I am a modest person, just the thought of this makes me cringe.

What happens if my mind goes and my body stays? What if I no longer recognize those I love? What if I travel between two realities, the present and the past? I don't want this.

While I was at this facility, I sat in the reception area to do my paperwork. A handsome, older woman approached me. I don't recall the full conversation, but she sat next to me and we had a fine conversation. I liked her immediately. Her name is Mickey, she told me, like the mouse. I laughed and said like Mickey Mantle, as part of our conversation revolved around baseball.

When I left I made a mental note to look her up the next time I came around.

When I went back, I asked for Mickey and they directed me to here room. She wasn't there and I was genuinely disappointed.
When I mentioned that I had just missed her to the receptionist, here came Mickey around the corner. I did not expect her to remember me, as over a month had passed. But I greeted her by name.

She asked who I was and I explained that I had met her the previous month and had enjoyed our conversation and wanted to make sure that I said hello to her. She was so pleased.

Then the nature of her disease appeared. She asked the receptionist who I was. The receptionist explained and then her agitation of not being able to remember me set in. There is more to the story but this is enough to tell.

Mickey made me think. She obviously was a great lady to know. Where is her family? Are they local?
It's really none of my business.

I will meet Mickey again.

Next time, I will act as if it is the first time we have met.



  1. Memories are really all we have after a lifetime of living and if those go to........
    What a cruel trick in the aging process.

  2. I have the most tender of spots for the elderly, even more so than children. The elderly have had a lifetime and can remember how strong they used to be, children haven't been strong yet. That makes me so sad. They can't stand up for themselves any longer and so many have no one to stand up for them. Children have someone to take care of them. Don't get me wrong. We have done foster care and even adopted two children, so I know that some children need extra someones to look out for them. But in this country they aren't stuck away in a large institution where they can be forgotten, like the elderly are. I've worked in a nursing home and saw the majority of residents never have a visitor, never got Christmas gifts, never had someone sit with them, or read to them, or bring them new socks. I hope when my time comes that my mind goes first so I don't realize that the rest of me will follow.