Bittersweet Reunion

Have you ever called a friend because you had a feeling that something awful happened to them? I have and usually it’s a false alarm. I hadn’t heard from our old friends, Jim and Sue (not their real names), in a few months. I had an uncomfortable feeling that things were not right with them. When Jim answered the phone, he told me that the day before he had visited the emergency room.

I have written about Jim and Sue before. The last time my husband and I saw them was in Charleston, South Carolina, three years ago. They visit the city each year in April. We have joined them sporadically, touring the stately homes, eating at the best restaurants, and reminiscing about the places we had traveled together.

Sue and I met when we worked together as fairly new nurses at a hospital in Jersey City. We double-dated with our soon-to-be husbands and were bridesmaids at each other’s wedding.

I documented in my post, Bedbugs and Friendships, about the last time we joined Jim and Sue in Charleston. To my dismay, Sue was showing signs of dementia. She had asked about a mutual friend three times during dinner. She didn’t remember that we had just stopped at Magnolias restaurant to make reservations for the next day.

We came home from Charleston: Ernie with bed bug bites (thankfully no actual bed bugs) and with a sadness that we were losing a dear friend. The pandemic prevented any get togethers since then.

Yesterday, over the phone, Jim told me that he had been working on his garden the day before. His feet got tangled in some vines. He fell, tumbling down a hillside. His left shoulder was fractured. No surgery needed, just wear a sling. I brought him up to date with my knee injury. I had overextended my leg while doing lunges. I ruptured the anterior cruciate ligament and tore the medial collateral ligament. I was on the mend now three months later but still used a cane outside my home.

When Jim handed the phone to Sue, I held my breath. Each time we talked on the phone, I feared that I would find her confusion to be worse. Despite a thorough work up and medication, her primary doctor has not reversed the dementia, but thankfully, halted progression. Sue seemed no different than the last time we spoke. 

Acknowledging that our aging bodies are not under our control, Jim and I, the designated trip planners, decided we’ll get together in October.

I anticipate a bittersweet reunion.

Color Apple Tree. Vector Illustration. Nature and Garden

Author: Marianna Crane

After a long career in nursing--I was one of the first certified gerontological nurse practitioners--I am now a writer. My writings center around patients I have had over the years that continue to haunt my memory unless I record their stories. In addition, showing what a nurse practitioner does in her job will educate the public about we nurses really do. So few nurses write about ourselves as compared to physicians. My memoir, "Stories from the Tenth Floor Clinic: A Nurse Practitioner Remembers" is available where ever books are sold

14 thoughts on “Bittersweet Reunion”

  1. I hope you have a good visit with your friends. Perhaps being together and remembering all the good times and talking about the good things now, will give you all joy.

    Like

  2. “… It seems to me a crime that we should age
    These fragile times should never slip us by
    A time you never can or shall erase
    As friends together watch their childhood fly” Friends, lyric by Bernie Taupin, recorded by Elton John

    Like

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