Sunday, September 28, 2008


Well, the day is rapidly approaching when Dennis will reclaim custody of his stethoscope, his tongue depressor (an instrument solely designed to render the tongues of children very sad), and his gag swabs, (solely designed to gag), and return to work. As with everything of late, we have mixed emotions. On the one hand, Dennis can’t wait to see his “super troopers.” They are absolutely delightful. He has even been thanked by young patients who have endured particularly disagreeable procedures…once the gag reflex has recovered enough to form words…observing charming etiquette prompted by their moms. The children are spontaneous and cheerful, and can reignite one’s enthusiasm for the welfare of this world in the hands of this up-coming generation.

Dennis has also missed the daily association with the finest colleagues and co-workers in the medical field. (They provide welcome diversion from the incessant presence of…me!)

We have long anticipated this day
We welcome Wednesday!

On the other hand, preparing for a day that at times we wondered would arrive, is a little like anticipating the first day back to school. We are stock piling our dwindling time with such copious fun, that our erratic and bizarre activity is rendering us chronically and moronically exhausted…and slightly light-headed. But we don’t want to squander one precious remaining moment by getting adequate rest. No. No. A suspension of perpetual merriment might cause our eyes to lose that look of the characters in cartoons indicative of the profoundly stupid.

For instance, today we decided to go roller blading at Liberty Park. (That decision alone is compelling evidence of our splendid neurological decline.) We put on our roller blades, and Dennis helped me negotiate the curb to the sidewalk. Talk about the inept leading the impaired!

It wasn’t long before a young man skated past us with extended, gliding strides, graceful, controlled, poetic. He would alternately coast and propel, all with exceeding velocity…and hubristic and entirely inappropriate self-confidence!

Well, needless to say, I was inspired. So I channeled my inner Apollo Ohno and embarked on my first lap of the day. I wasn’t afraid of falling, really. I have no pride. Vanity, yes. Pride, no. Besides, I found solace in the reassuring presence of multiple concentrated cellulite clusters centered around my landing gear. These clusters are programmed to deploy upon impact. They’re not exactly aerodynamic. In fact, they provide enough drag that I can comfortably maintain minimum speed while giving the illusion of forward thrust. In addition, varicose veins intersected with splotches of red on a background of astonishingly pale, quivering thigh flesh presented a wonderful image of geriatric patriotism that caused many of our fellow blade brigade to remove their baseball caps in a gesture of respect. It was all good.

However, we have always loved to roller blade, although ability, unfortunately, has not necessarily been the by-product of practice.

Sometimes things happen that make particular days memorable. A while ago, Dennis and I were roller blading at Liberty Park when a young girl skated past us. She was obviously skilled and able…and pretty. It wasn’t long before she had completed a lap, and passed us again. This time, we noticed that she had worked up a bit of a sweat in the heat of her workout. In fact, the more she skated, the more she perspired, and the more she perspired, the more transparent her skimpy attire became. (It seemed to me the attire became skimpier with each succeeding lap!)

On the third lap, I became aware of an interesting phenomenon: in spite of superior and more aggressive blading skills, not a single male passed her! There accumulated an ever-increasing multitude in her wake. The visual absurdity made me laugh out loud.

Suddenly, I heard the screech of fire engines and their high-pitched screaming sirens. I looked across 7th East to see smoke billowing in the sky and obstructing the view with black. It was alarming, to say the least. But what was hysterically remarkable, was that not one man’s eyes were diverted by the on-going, unnerving catastrophe. Remarkable! I thought it all exceedingly funny,…until I said, “Wow! Would you just look at that fire!” And Dennis said, “What fire?” I ceased to be amused. In fact, it was very nearly the last statement in mortality that he uttered. Luckily, I did not have my lawyer on speed dial.

We weathered that particular atmospheric disturbance, but ever since then, I scope the terrain for perspiring, athletic young women capable of distracting one from a life of devoted sobriety, before lacing on the roller blades. And whenever we hear fire engines screaming by us with ear-shattering sirens, I say, with the sweet, guilt-laden delicacy innate to my gender, “Wow! Would you just look at that fire!” ‘Nuff said.

There is nothing as messy and delightful as a backyard picnic with grandchildren. Everything tastes better when stuffed in the mouth with small, particularly grimy, germ-laden hands. Sterile procedure is discarded, and one only hopes there is an adequate accumulation of immunity to withstand the assault of food with discoloration of dubious origin. Such moments are forever recorded in the heart.

We are savoring the time. We regret the close of one day, and rejoice in the beginning of the next. In spite of, and perhaps because of, everything that has happened, we consider our lives blessed beyond measure.

Our love to all,
The Clot


Cam Ballou said...

Ashton said she is so excited to have Dr. Ashton back to give her shots before Kindergarten!

Brian and Emily said...

Brian and Me are glad to see you going back to work. We have a blog check us at

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on returning to work. You all deserve a great pat on the back and a big sigh of relief for what you have been through the past 11 months. You give others courage in life's battles. Thanks again for keeping all of us that care for you and your family updated! I believe the next chapter could be a book..... Take it easy and don't overdue. Chris C

Anonymous said...

We are excited to see you in November Dr. Ashton!! Tyler and Jacob S.