Samuel Beckett’s existential play, Waiting For Godot is my favorite play. Two characters, Vladimir and Estragon, wait for the arrival of someone named Godot who never arrives. I have always seen this play as a metaphor for life/death/God. Recently, that metaphor became a reality.
Alright already, what the hell am I talking about?
Twenty Questions!!! Fugetaboutit!! How about three? What is joined at the hip with LIFE? What is not animal, vegetable or mineral? What has many different shapes and names and, according to Mel Brooks, does not like garlic?
You got it! DEATH!
Come on guys, it’s almost Halloween. So many of its forms are present in and around houses, so many movies have him/her as the main character (Darth Vader was not named after Mickey Mouse) and what do you think the Gothic look is all about.
Death. Of course, death.
Is my focus on death coming from a general malaise and melancholia? We all know there is plenty of reasons for these feeling at this time in the world and most particularly in the United States and most, most particularly in Washington, D.C..
RIGHT ??? OF COURSE, SHE’S RIGHT!!!
But, no! It is not!! Where is it coming from?? Thank you for asking.
Recently, I had a health scare… or as the medical world calls it, “an incident”. It happened only a week ago. I am bored telling what happened so if you want details you’ll have to call the Emergency Room of the hospital, my primary physician, my cardiologist/nurse practitioner, my children local friends and the butcher, the baker, the candle stick maker… oi vey, the list goes on.
Suffice it to say, I survived. No, not suffice it…. I am over the top happy to report, I’M STILL HERE!!
I know you are wondering, and if you’re not, you should be… So, if I’m still here what’s with this DEATH THING? I think there are medical records that have reports of people scaring themselves to DEATH.
After “the incident” and from Sunday through the following week, almost every day, I waited around for DEATH to arrive.
I tried to pretend I wasn’t waiting. But just like you can’t fool Mother Nature (an old television commercial), I can no longer fool myself. Maybe for a few minutes I could, or even an hour, but eventually, my fear coupled with a large dose of neurotic anxiety, got the better of me. And I do mean better because I allowed the scare I had to hang out in my consciousness. In the past, I would attempt to hide what I was really feeling. I wanted to be BRAVE. Here was the actress, again, playing, yet, another role. Not that sometimes acting “as if” can’t work miracles because it can and it does. It is just that there is a time and place for everything. I needed to find out what happened. If I was acting as if nothing happened, I would be actually hurting myself. Been there. Done that.
The Emergency Room staff and tests were wonderful. I was dismissed with their seal of approval. As my Physician Assistant said to me, “ Right now, you are the healthiest person in the ER.”
And then he added those ever magic words…FOR A WOMAN YOUR AGE.
Wait a minute! I wrote a show with that title… a funny show about perceptions of a society about us elders.
I have long recognized myself as the older, and I mean older older, woman. No more wolf whistles for me. No more leaping across the dance floor or dance class. No more 2-hour one woman shows (truly the hardest to accept). What is my problem? All those limitations and more to come as time goes by, they are actually getting in the way of my health care and allowing my neurotic tendencies to have a field day.
I accept that there is a segment of society that discounts the older generation. We are THE IRRELEVANTS. Actually, some of my nearest and dearest are included in that group of discounters. It’s ok. I know what I know about myself. I love a challenge. I want to continue to explore. I still love to travel; not able to go to all the places I want to go but there is enough for me to see and please my gypsy spirit. I love asking questions. I love reading and learning anew. I love living alone but I am not a hermit.
If everything is so good, why was I waiting for DEATH?
Because “ the incident” occurred in my 86th year and some, not all, thank goodness, of the medical profession that I encountered were discounters of my generation. No one says it like it is… no one actually said to me, “Oh, come on, you’re 86, what do you expect?” However, I am not an 86 year old you can readily fool. As an actor, I am a student of human behavior. I have to be to do what I do.
There was an easily discernible for me eye rolling and hidden yawns that set my alarm to ringing. Hey medical profession, I want some answers! I want some explanations. Attention must be paid. I know answers may not be readily accessible and information limited, but do not…do you hear me…DO NOT BLOW ME OFF.
I waited for DEATH because initially I felt I was not being heard. It made me feel helpless and hopeless. Frankly, it felt a little like being in my childhood home.
So what to do when this happens. Become proactive. What does that mean?
I became my own best friend and medical advisor. I found medical professionals that talked to me. I mean really talked me and answered my questions and actually advised me. I am on the trail of the cause for my “incident”.
Oh, don’t misunderstand me… I am still waiting for DEATH. I think it is appropriate at this stage of my life.
Actually, I think it is appropriate at every stage of my life. DEATH is ginormous… gigantic… bigger than sliced bread… BUT, it has a sister, brother, whatever that for me is more bigger and definitely better.
LIFE, LIFE, LIFE!
Right? Of course, Right!!!!
Love ~ Sally-Jane