As we sat in the waiting room of the Orthopedic surgeon Hubby was due to see, I looked at him and said with a wry smile, "Tell me again why we were in such a big hurry to grow up when we were kids? Why doesn't anyone ever tell you this part?"
You know, the part where your parts start to kink, wrinkle and fail. At least now many of them can now be replaced. I'm sure some day, they'll just take a few cells from your body and grow a new "whatever" you need fixed.
Hubby nodded with that expression of someone in pain who is trying to remain upbeat. He has a high pain threshold...but I've known him since he was 17, so I can take one look in his eyes and discover the truth. Four years ago this surgeon replaced both of his knees, about three months apart. The surgeon remarked at the time on how dense Hubby's bones were...joking that he went through 2 saw blades for the first surgery, making him buy "diamond tip blades" for the second.
We ran the gauntlet of the world's longest fill-in-the-blank medical questionnaire (so long that Hubby said, "You know the answers. Let me know if something stumps you."), to the "let's talk payment plan", being weighed, x-rayed and talking to the P.A., who we knew from the previous surgeries. (And yes, they allowed me to go back with him, which meant I got to listen to 10 minutes of hunting stories before a plan was made.)
Oddly enough, it was the "payment plan" that proved most...interesting.
I wrote a check for the day's visit and the lady asked me for my driver's license. When she was noting the number, she looked up with a smile and said, "Hey, I'm one of those!" as she pointed to her name tag, which bore my maiden name. I asked who she had married, only to discover her name had never changed. So, good southern gal that I am, the next question is always, "Who's your Daddy?" When she told me, I instantly recognized the name and smiled.
"You know who that is?" she asked, rather surprised.
I did. First I offered my condolences, because he had passed away within the last year. She was amazed I knew that. I replied I remembered him in a way only a kid could and I hope she wouldn't be offended.
When I was growing up, I called him "the Funeral Cousin."
Intrigued, she asked me to explain. I shared that when I was a kid, it didn't matter which one of our clan died, her Dad always attended the funeral. I recognized him immediately, but for some reason, could never remember his name. Every time I would ask Dad, he'd tell me, and I would say, "Oh. The Funeral Cousin." Thankfully she wasn't offended and even smiled. I asked who her Granddaddy was and since I handle our family tree, I knew her Granddaddy and mine were brothers. When we exchanged names, she remembered my Dad. We laughed about the small world moment and moved on to the next room.
As I sat in the exam room, waiting for Hubby to get back from x-ray, it made me think how many times I'd sat in a room like this when Dad had cancer. Waiting for x-rays. Results. News sometimes good, but invariably bad. Yet Dad had the same "I got this!" spirit that Hubby has when dealing with a physical problem. Then for a moment, I got the oddest lump in my throat. Somewhere from the back of my brain, where good memories generally dwell, came a sad one. Today was the day in 1995 that we buried my Dad.
Then just as soon as the tears wanted to fall, something made me smile. Of all the people who came to Dad's funeral, I only remember speaking to a fraction of them. The one I remember?
The Funeral Cousin. He came up to me at graveside, hugged me tight like a father would and told me what a good a man Dad had been. Thanks Alfred, for always being there.
Part of me wonders if our Dads were watching this morning, mine shaking his head that I couldn't remember a simple name and hers laughing that he'd had a nickname that still stuck from my childhood. I wonder what they thought, seeing their girls together this morning, trying their best to help others. I'm hoping they'd be as proud of us as we were of them.