With the encouragement and financing of my employer, the hospital,
Twice a year I haul tail to a physicians’ convention.
Usually I choose the thing for the gland and kidney crowd,
Of which I am a member, but sometimes I’ll take in a
Shindig for cardio or pulmonary or gerontology,
Especially if it’s held someplace warm and fun,
And with lots of direct flights. You’d think
My husband would come along, but he never does.
Then again, I’m not sure I’ve ever
At every convention I always run into someone I know.
Yesterday it was Tim C., my old partner in gross anatomy
Lab in med school. Back then Tim C. and I and some
Others spent hours together pretty much ever day,
Cracking crude jokes over the cadavers, trying out the Latin names
Of the muscles, and showing off our surgical handiwork on the
Pickled tissues and organs. The stiffs were soaked
In formaldehyde, stank to high heaven, but none of
Tim C., now a bald allergist in a shiny suit, spotted me in the
Hotel lobby. I shrieked and we hugged and we traded a story
Or two about our lives and our kids, and how far we’ve come,
And eventually we hugged again and bid our good-byes. Then
This morning I ran into him again, but this time I just nodded and
Walked by quickly, and he seemed relieved to do the same. We had
Done the emotional reunion, which was great and all, but did not
If you are my patient on the examining table, you have my attention,
And I will diagnose or treat or resolve or medicate your ailment or
Injury or complaint to the best of my ability, which is highly-trained
And long-experienced. Then, when you depart and all paperwork is
Complete, I will forget about you, at least until I see you next time,
If next time there shall be.
Over time, I learned that this approach was also ideal for both
Colleagues and subordinates. Just easier that way.
The third of the four children, and the third girl of the brood,
Just left home for a summer of scuba diving, to be followed by
Her first year of college. She says she wants to study marine biology,
But knowing her I expect a variety of switches and sidetracks.
We’ll be getting together over Christmas, with all the kids, as usual.
The only one left at home is the baby boy, now in high school, and
Who talks about dirt bike racing and getting a tattoo, the latter of
Which I will not allow.
Thank God for my husband.
When I return home he will be glad to see me and we will kiss hello,
But very quickly we will resume our lives of attending to details,
Negotiating schedules and home repairs, doling out money, and the
Occasional night at a restaurant or a show or a charity event.
My husband will look exactly the same as always, as will I, by which
I mean we are aging together at the same rate and not so noticeably
Because we are with each other so often. He is a good man whose
Touch in bed is comfortable, and occasionally he delights me by
Shutting up about his football team and his relatives and his political
Candidates and other subjects that do not interest me.
My private prayer is that we die within a few weeks of one another,
When the time comes.