From the archives …
Tweet with us!
In October of 2009 my Aunt Pat died. That was a hard time. I had been fully diagnosed, and knew full well that the same fate could be lying ahead for me. I didn’t really feel like it, but I just had to go to New York and be a part of her services. Aunt Pat was extremely proud that I had become an ordained minister. She was the youngest of my aunts and uncles – I was the oldest of my brood of cousins. We had been particularly close. She had taken me to baseball games (I loved the Mets, she liked the Expos because of their hats), to the World’s Fair in New York, camping, drive-in movies – all kinds of cool things. She was there for all the good things that happened to me – and the not-so-good as well. She was by far the most spontaneous in our family. It was from her I learned to take some risks to have some fun. And, to enjoy the unexpected. At the funeral home, I was saying my good-bye and thinking of all those things and wondering about how far in my future was it that people would be having similar thoughts about me.
One of the challenges with liver failure is the build up of ascites (fluid) in the abdomen. It’s ironic as the rest of your body seems to be shrinking, the middle region keeps getting bigger. It makes getting dressed somewhat difficult. I was still working at the time, and the looser fitting clothes that looked appropriate, the better. Problem was, the looser, depending on the day, the harder to keep on. I don’t know if it was noticed, actually, don’t know how it could not be noticed, but walking around usually had me in some unusual positions in attempts to keep my pants on. I lived with the jokes that I was gaining that contented, middle-age man midriff; I also lived with the reality of a distended abdomen that was a visual and uncomfortable sign of how sick I was becoming.
New York was unusually cold that year. That worked for me when I was there – lots of sweaters and overcoats – much easier to keep in proper place. But Florida was much warmer and I wanted to be comfortable when I got home. I chose to travel in jeans with and an un-tucked shirt. Airport security regulations make it difficult to fly dressed as maybe you normally would, so I opted to leave the belt in the suitcase. I also decided not to check my bag. I had my briefcase as well, so I had my hands full. Getting on the plane was fine. I had checked a seat on the aisle as close to the front of the plane as I could so that I could deplane quickly. We arrived in Tampa, and I stood up (for first time in nearly three hours) and reached above for my bags.
I knew I was in trouble. My pants began slipping south of the border. The bags were pulled down with one hand, and my jeans up with the other. It was going to be a battle. I was OK until I had to start moving. I had my hands full with my suitcase and briefcase. A third would have been useful. Managing to walk off of the plane with my left hand doing double duty holding both briefcase and pants, I was just hoping I could make it to the nearest restroom to make the whatever adjustments needed so I could just make it to my truck.
Then it all went. I lost grip of my briefcase and my pants became a victim of gravity. I was halfway up the jetway with my jeans all the way down my legs. There I stood in my very blue Tommy Hilfiker undies with sailboats, little anchors, and palm trees for all to see. It an instant it came to me – “what would Aunt Pat do?” Turning so that only my posterior was facing my fellow travelers, I looked over my shoulder, and said very loudly: “If you’re going to be in Florida, dress like it. Tommy Hilfiger underwear for men is available at the Ron Jon Surf Shop in the Tampa Bay Galleria in the main concourse of the airport!”
Ya Gotta Laugh!