Is it me or am I getting old?

Today it finally happened. There is a new guy at work that was born after I started here almost 19 years ago. I am definitely getting old but I am extremely lucky to have a really good core group of friends that has been together since our childhood to soften the blow by growing old with me.

I was very lucky to have a lot great friends come a visit when I had my brain attack. So many, in fact, that we had to limit the number of people and at what time people could come to see the freak. 

In the beginning, that is exactly how I felt and I was unsure about allowing anyone to see me in my pathetic condition. My concern over modesty, however, diminished quickly as I had to rely on others to help with the most simple of acts. There is something about being almost totally helpless that makes you re-evaluate your priorities and gain a new found faith in the human race so after a day or  two, when I fully understood what had happened to me, I was fine with visitors. Many of my visitors, though, were not fine with me. 

I can't really explain the looks on my friends faces when they saw me for the first time... pity, worry, fear, mortal, fragile? I don't know exactly but I know that I had felt the same thing in the past. I tried may best to make my friends feel comfortable with the situation– joking around with them and letting them know that everything was going to be alright. It worked, to some degree, with most of them... but not Stew.

I have known Paul (Stew) for 35 years. I had never seen him so white, so quiet or so disturbed to that day or ever since. We finally got a chance to discuss it, Saturday, at our annual fantasy football draft and he came clean about how uneasy he felt in that situation. Because I have made a truly remarkable recovery to almost 100%, we can now laugh about how I had to flop my right arm around with my left for the first month or so after the stroke, when it freaked the bejesus out of him before. Hopefully, he has grown from the experience and will not feel as awkward next time he is in a similar circumstance.

It is probably just because we are getting older but it seems as if we have to deal with more tragedy as we age. It is no longer your contemporaries' grandparents passing away, but their parents now. I just heard that a young lady that I worked at McDonald's with when I was in college died of cancer over the weekend and there were more than several of my High School classmates that didn't make the 20 year reunion because they were no longer with us.

I can believe that everyone is truly uncomfortable with death, illness and aging when they're young and as you age, yourself, and are exposed to more sick and dying people, your tolerance grows and you learn to accept that growing old and passing on are just a part of life, itself.

Stew and the rest of my friends are starting to warm up to me and treat me like they did before the event. They are somewhat amazed that I can do most of the stuff I did before and even some of it I can do almost as well so they feel I can take some teasing from them again. One of them said on Saturday, "I think you just had the stroke so you could get the attention!"

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