Monday, June 7, 2010

A Memory For Monday (With An Old Man)

While in college, I worked part-time at a Medical Supply store.  I worked with some fabulous ladies much older than myself, but they treated me, a young, single, college-aged girl as one of their own.  I really grew to love and look up to those ladies.  It was one of my favorite jobs.

I primarily was responsible for the insurance billing, but occasionally if the store got crowded, was called upon to help customers.  We sold everything from support stockings to medical scrubs to colostomy bags to things I won't even mention here....  I could tell you story after story of my hours spent at that job, but out of respect for the privacy of strangers, (and because my daughter reads this...) I won't regale you here.

But, I do have this memory, that I must remember to tell my children about.  They'll enjoy it.

One summer day, we must have been short-handed at the Medical Mart, and I was called upon to make a delivery to a nearby nursing home.  And oh boy, did I have a story that had the ladies I worked with rolling with laughter when I returned...

As I was approaching the front doors of the nursing home, I noticed a nursing assistant helping an elderly man walk.  The elderly man's steps were slow and laborious and his strength quite weak as he relied heavily on the woman to his side.  After initially noticing them, I really paid  no more attention to them.  Until they were about ten-twelve feet from the front door, and I, a short distance behind them was suddenly being called by the nursing assistant.

I saw her pleas before I heard her pleas.

My face turned bright red.  (After all, remember, I was a young, single, college-aged girl.)
There in front of me was this poor, elderly gentleman frozen in place, with his trousers down around his ankles.  The 'slide down' of the dropping trousers had additionally pulled his loose underwear down slightly.

Oh dear.

The nursing assistant was holding the man steady.  The man was not steady enough for her to release her hold on him in order to pull up the completely fallen trousers and the slightly fallen underwear.

And it was now that I heard the plea,
"Could you please come pull up his pants?"

There was no mistaking who the nursing assistant was talking to.  There was no chance to hide. There was no chance to run.  It was just me.

Me, a slightly exposed elderly bum, some fully exposed underwear and a perplexed nursing assistant.
I set my delivery to the side. And with a red face, a stifled, nervous giggle and slightly shaking hands, proceeded to bend down, pull up the fallen trousers and secure them in place.  
(I'll admit, I didn't fix the underwear. I figured somebody else could sort that out later.)

I hurried and made the delivery and quickly returned to work.  And oh yes, did those ladies laugh.
And laugh.
And laugh.
By then I was laughing too.

And though I laughed at this experience then, and of course still laugh at this experience now,  I can't help but  think of the indignities of aging.  I hope that the dear gentleman, who I am sure has now passed away, is not offended by my laughter.
Because really, embarrassing moments happen to us all.
Young or old.

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