The room is dark.  The technician is polite… professional… distant.

“Any history of cancer?” she asks.

Cancer? God no. We’re looking for gallstones, right? Find the stones. Remove the stones. Easy peasy. Cancer? Why did she ask that?

I lie on the table and hold my breath at all the right times. Roll this way and that at her command. Maybe if I’m a good patient, I’ll get a good diagnosis?

I think about my mother, gone for nearly a year, and of the endless medical procedures she endured during her last few years of life. She was old, nearly 90 when she died. Like most old people, she spent an inordinate amount of her dwindling time in a health care maze of doctors appointments, lab tests and hospitals.

Now, lying on the exam table, I wonder if I have taken her place on the medical assembly line.  I suddenly feel old. Vulnerable. I’m in my 60’s… early 60’s… but 60’s just the same. I’ve entered the decade when stuff happens. I stare at the cheap reproduction of Monet’s Water Lillies on the wall while snippets of recent conversations float into my brain.

“Did you hear about Jane? She had a heart attack last week.”

“How’s Bob doing after his knee replacement?”

“Did you hear how Eileen’s tests for lung cancer went?”

I used to be young. I miss being young.  I look up at the ceiling and bargain. I’ll never take another day for granted again. If I get through this without one of those heart stopping diagnoses that divide your life into “before” and “after”, I’ll make the most of each and every day. I know I’ve said this before, but this time I really mean it. Really.

I spend the next few days trying not to think, or worry, about the test results. And then the email comes from my doctor. All is well.  My life has not yet divided into “before” and “after”.

The sun is shining brightly, beckoning me to keep my promise. I head out for a walk around my neighborhood.  I finally make plans for that hike to see the fall colors before the first snow blankets the mountains.  I may not be young anymore but I’ll never be any younger than I am today.

My wise mother once told me to seize my sixties because it could be my last good decade. Okay Mom, you got my attention. I’m listening.  Tempus fugit.  Gotta run…



About Carol Bryant

Hi. My name is Carol Bryant. I'm a transplanted New Yorker, living in the shadows of the Rocky Mountains. While it was skiing that initially drew me to Colorado, it's been the laid-back, outdoor lifestyle which has kept me here for nearly 30 years. I'm a writer, nurse, travel agent and mediocre tennis player. I began my writing career 20 years ago, writing essays and magazine articles. Recently, I completed my first manuscript and am currently seeking representation for this work. It's a memoir of my nursing career which spans two continents, forty years and some of the most intriguing characters who have ever entered a hospital. I’ve been told that if I ever hope to have my memoir published, I need to establish a platform – a following of readers who enjoy my writing. So, I am shamelessly asking for you to become part of that platform. I plan to blog on various topics that I find entertaining. If you are entertained, moved to cry or laugh out loud, then I have accomplished what I have set out to do. I feel as if I am taking that first, timid step out onto the frozen lake, hoping that the ice will hold me. It’s scary as hell but I’ll give it a go. After some of the things I have faced down in my 40 years of nursing, how bad can blogging be? It beats shaving scrotums.
This entry was posted in Aging, CARPE DIEM, death and dying, TEMPUS FUGIT and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to CARPE DIEM

  1. profkf says:

    I know the feeling :)….just finished my first half marathon this past Saturday at 64…sometime I promised myself a year ago (feeling all 64 years today while my muscles ask me why I did that to them)


  2. Phil Bryant says:

    The secret to old age used to be diet and exercise. Add to that seize the moment, if you want life to be fun along the way. Well written – makes you prioritize when test results determine your life expectancy.


  3. Mensa Ms says:

    blockquote, div.yahoo_quoted { margin-left: 0 !important; border-left:1px #715FFA solid !important; padding-left:1ex !important; background-color:white !important; } This really resonates~

    Sent from Yahoo Mail for iPhone


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