Wednesday, 15 August 2012

When you're old, master the short game



My friend Doris called me on Monday. She was in tears because her eighty-six-year-old dad was going into the hospital for emergency surgery to repair an aneurysm in his heart.

The doctor told him his chances of survival were about twenty-five percent.

Twenty-five percent.

Wow, I thought, those are some pretty terrible odds. Those odds didn't include the possibility he would wake up with brain damage or paralysis or something equally awful.

I wondered what was the point? When you're eighty-six, is it worth getting the procedure at all?

Then I thought, snap out of it you selfish little elder-bigot. Just because a person is old doesn't mean they can't be as resilient as the rest of us.

Of course, Ted's going through with it. He's as strong as men half his age.

Or at least he was until recently.

As it stands now, he can barely do anything without become completely fatigued. If this doesn't work, well, I guess from his standpoint, he thinks he probably won't wake up, so why care?

I have to admire the old guy. He's survived a heart attack, a mild stroke, prostate cancer, two hip replacements, ditto knee replacements and skin cancer that resulted in a baseball-sized gaping hole in his massive chest. He survived the passing of his lovely wife and my friend's marriage to a reprobate.

Despite his illnesses, Ted always has a smile on his face. He goes to Florida and golfs in gauze shirts. After Lorna died 10 years ago, he went through a string of girlfriends and has been steadily dating a woman down the street for the past four years.

He is a devotee of Viagara.

Ted also oozes optimism. While he realizes his long game is just about over, he has mastered the short game.

He buys a new car every two years and, until recently, has travelled all over Canada, to Mexico and around America. He attends social events four or five times a week. He loves his life with a passion I can only envy.

Ted is a modern medical miracle, a man who keeps his bionic body fueled by his great spirit. If anyone else got those odds, I'd say settle your affairs, and prepare for the worst.

Ted's still playing the short game.

Good for him.

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