Friday, 10 July 2009

Fiftyplussers out for Tea



My best friend, M, is off to the UK again on Friday, this time for her middle daughter’s graduation in Forensic Science. So we all met for a chat at our local mall. I was the last to arrive and sat at one end of the table to help out one of our ladies who I could see was slowly wilting under the weight of the non-stop monologue of the most notorious of our group - one of those people who can only talk, never listen. The thing is, while we used to be able to take 10-minute turns to sit next to her on these occasions, abruptly making excuses to move on when we could take it no longer, now we feel obliged to listen as she has been recently diagnosed with colon cancer and lives alone. Today we were being subjected to a lengthy description of the various colonoscopy bags on the market and how pathetic some were - even at R100 each! We heard tales of waking up in the night having to deal with burst bags - at which some of our number began to turn slightly green and stopped perusing their menus, deciding to forgo any food and just have black coffee instead. Another lady was looking decidedly thin: she had just come back from three months in Dubai where her husband is temporarily stationed. She had been bored and unhappy there - nothing to do except eat and shop. One tourist trip out into the desert was enough, she said. I then noticed the friend next to me feeling her lip. She quietly asked me to see if it was swollen and I saw that it definitely was. This heralded the sudden onset of a bout of urticaria which would mean that within and hour and a half her whole face would be bloated. She showed me a photo on her cell phone. Unrecognisable. She would need to go to the hospital pretty smartly for cortisone and antibiotics. I offered to take her home to her husband but she first gamely drank most of her tea and laughed and joked with us as best she could. She is just recovering from one of many regular treatments for chronic skin cancer on top of her head. She struggled to her feet, battling with a large and unwieldy leg brace, resulting from a knee op a month ago. She has stomach problems too. As we left, I noticed that our garrulous friend was quiet - pausing for thought? As for me, it was one of those days when it was easy to count my blessings.

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