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.