Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Some Old People Are Older Than Others


There are old ladies, who, by accident of birth and the failure to die, have reached a certain age but still think, look and act like normal people. And then there's that other kind of old lady, who collects doilies and takes castor oil and is totally off her rocker. I belong to the first group, thank God. This morning I had a run-in with one of the other kind.

For my one-year checkup after hip surgery, I knew an X-ray would be required to ensure the installed hardware hadn't moved. I wore a dress especially for the occasion, knowing for a fact that any metal on my clothing, like a zipper on a pair of jeans, meant I'd have to change into a pair of dorky paper shorts. So there I was, in a lightweight summer frock with no metal on me, ready to go.

The old lady whose job it is to assess one's readiness for an X-ray looked me over and decided I'd need to change into the paper shorts. I demurred, pointing out that I had no metal on me. She insisted, repeating that I had to put the shorts on underneath my dress. I replied that this was clearly nonsense, since an X-ray machine could see through my dress just as easily as through the shorts. She then lowered her voice to a whisper and explained that I needed to wear the shorts "so that nobody can see your undies."

Stunned, I asked, "Who would see my undies, and who cares?"

"The technician might see if your dress rides up," she replied, shoving the shorts at me. "I'm sure you wouldn't want that." Actually, what I wanted was to roll those damn paper shorts into a tight ball and shove it down her throat.  Instead I took the shorts and followed the old lady to a dressing room, where she instructed me to put them on. Sighing heavily, I did. It was just easier.

Once I got into the X-ray room I asked the young female technician if I needed to wear the shorts. She hooted, saying of course not, then added, "That's just Ethel -- she's so afraid someone will see something they shouldn't."

Now that's an old lady. I hope I'm never one of those.

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