The Day I Turned Old

I’ve put off the visit for too long
they tell me. I don’t have a good reason
just money and time and perfection
or procrastination.

She asks me the usual questions
about diet and exercise
whether I drink or smoke;
this time I find the questions funny:
Have you had a drink in the last year?
I chortle, audibly. Is she serious?
Yes, I tell her.
And she asks about cancer.
Anyone in the family?
Yes, I say. On my Mom’s side. My Mom.
What kind?
Breast and colon.
When did she have it? Particularly the colon.

I pause

Mid-forties, I tell her.

She looks at me with patient eyes.
Well, then it is time to get a colonoscopy.


She tries to comfort me; she says
We like to test ten years before the confirmed onset.

It should comfort me to know that.
If my Mom had gotten cancer in her 30’s,
I would have been screened a decade ago.

But she didn’t
and the word colonoscopy
is just another synonym for old.


[hat tip to Deborah Bryan, whose post “So this is middle age!” inspired this reflection]

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  1. Tom Downs says

    Man, you are so not old. If you’re old, I am ancient. No fair.
    The colo-whatever is a good thing. The whole family has had pollups.


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