I’ve been complaining lately to whomever will listen that I’m running out of things to write about.  But I just learned something that may solve that problem.  It turns out that if I leave my apartment, the chances of something happening that might be interesting to recount are a lot greater.  Funny how that works.

To wit:

I’ve been struggling with a bad knee for some time now, and the moment has come where the only potential remedy is arthroscopic surgery.  Not a big deal in the scheme of things . . . but then again, as the saying goes, minor surgery is when it’s on the other guy.  In any event, I had to go for  pre-operative testing to see if I was sufficiently healthy to having two little holes bored into my knee.  I think this a requirement for any surgery on anyone over a hundred.  Yet another indignity of getting older. (Although, that Senior Metro Card is nothing to sneeze at.)

Low Tech Xray Of My Knee

Low Tech Xray Of My Knee

When I arrived at the medical office, I had to fill out an endless number of forms prior to seeing the people who would test me to see if I was operational.  As I hate filling those things out, I raced through them as quickly as I could. Still, it took quite a bit of time. I felt a sense of relief when I finished and dropped my clipboard at the front desk.  After I returned to my seat, a woman who had shown up in the waiting room after me, leaned over an end table between us and asked if I could help her with her forms. It seems she had forgotten her reading glasses and what she meant when she said “help” was to actually fill out the forms for her.  Bummer!

Because she couldn’t read anything, I had to do a verbal intake. Which meant asking her all the questions on the forms—some mundane, like date of birth, social security number, etc.—some more personal, like what drugs she’s taking, allergies, dates of operations . . . you know, the kinds of things I just couldn’t live without knowing.

After finishing her forms and feeling almost as noble as Mother Theresa I settled back in my seat waiting to be called in for my exam. I was sitting on a two person bench with my coat next to me. And then it happened—my new-found friend, Iris Figueroa (SSN # 347-28-7854), started talking to me across the end table and then asked if she could sit next to me. This, despite the fact that the (large) waiting room was nearly empty. Not to be overly dramatic . . . really, this is precisely the appropriate amount of drama, the intrusion into my solitude along with an expectation that I would provide a willing ear, had me feeling like I was descending into Dante’s ninth circle of hell.  And this, just several months removed from a similar incident when I was about to enter a reverie while biking alone in the country.  The memory of that experience is only just beginning to fade.

Now that Iris had me captive she began talking to me about what she was making for Thanksgiving dinner.  You’ll be pleased to know that she makes pumpkin pie from scratch and without a crust!  Her flan is from a family recipe which, if she revealed it to me (and you can’t begin to know how much I wanted that), her aunt and cousin would kill her.  She went through the rest of the courses and ended with the dessert cakes she makes (from scratch, naturally).  But now Iris went a step further; she took out her phone and starting showing me photos of an assortment of elaborate cakes. One that stands out for me was a large cake that had a series of eight small cupcakes on its top.  This seems to me to be a serious abuse of cupcakes. (Which may lead me to the cause I’ve been so dearly looking for—“Free The Cupcake Eight!!)

Even as this was going on, I was giving thanks that Iris hadn’t also started in with photos of her grandchildren. My guess is her daughter, Eladia (cell # 646 766-9048), doesn’t have any children. Although, in truth, I’m much better at oohing and ahhing over little kids than food. Coincidentally, come to think of it, they’re made from scratch also.

Having exhausted the Thanksgiving meal, Iris brought me up to speed on her biography.  She had come to the States from Puerto Rico in 1944 and moved to the Bronx where she still lives.  According to Iris, when she first moved into her neighborhood, it was “only Jews living there”.  My back stiffened at hearing this, afraid what might come next. Fortunately, what followed was fairly anodyne.

During all this time (which seemed like forever), I kept looking at the office manager begging him with my eyes to save me and put me in one of those little exam rooms even though, once there,  I often feel like I’ll be forgotten forever.  This didn’t happen.

Finally, a nurse came into the waiting room, called my name and nodded for me to follow her.  I looked back at Iris (DOB 9/16/38), waved, and wished her luck.


3 Responses to “Kneemoania”

  1. Bob Says:

    I can’t believe that soc sec number was really iris’s!
    Won’t she be surprised when her next Soc sec check gets rerouted (to you know who)!

    Oh, and I called her daughter on that cell number you blogged. You have no idea how much she appreciates your helping her mom!

  2. Fred Says:

    Perhaps you’re just not comfortable sharing intimacies. Next time, change roles. See you on the biking trails.

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