Future perfect

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  • Isabelle Huppert at the César awards ceremony in February. Photo: Georges Biard

graying new york


My friends and I were talking about a wish list for medical care, even though we know that we likely won’t be around for the results. I’ve been very lucky not to have been hospitalized except for the birth of my children, many millennia ago. However, I’ve heard stories, and I’ve also seen firsthand when I visited John, that hospitals are no place to get any rest. Some of this is inevitable; being woken to have tests or temperature taken, for example.

The worst part of the experience, though, can be sharing a room. Friends tell me of the torment of a roommate blaring the TV all day and night. That would be my personal nightmare. I think it would drive me to pull out all the tubes and wires and run home. Another experience that can drive one wild while trying to rest is a constant stream of roommate’s visitors, including restless children running around and shouting. I mean really; aren’t people in the hospital because they are sick? Sick means that you want to rest peacefully, or as peacefully as possible in such an environment.

So here’s our idea. In the future, hospitals should be built with smaller, single rooms. Personally, I wouldn’t care if it were the size of a shoebox, as long as I wasn’t tormented by a TV, a roommate’s snoring or moaning, or loud, intrusive family and friends. Food for thought for the future.

I have had a recurring fantasy that someday (but unfortunately not soon enough), one will walk into some contraption, have a whole body exam in a matter of minutes, and get a diagnosis immediately. I do happen to have iatrophobia. My Greek friends know what that is: fear of doctors. Fear of doctors, of tests, and of waiting for results. No one likes to wait for results, I realize that. But a phobia is different — it’s like waiting to be eaten by a tiger. I’m sure that in the far future all of this will happen, but I’ll be long gone. Imagine; immediate results. Does anyone else feel this way? I picture a kind of phone booth (remember those?). You step in, there’s a whirring sound, and it’s all done, results and all. Hey, I bet that will happen, maybe even before they discover life on another planet. It wasn’t so long ago that bloodletting was considered good medicine. Look how far we’ve come. Just not quite far enough for me.

Women of a certain age; don’t you just love Isabelle Huppert? Not only is she beautiful and a fantastic actress, she’s 63! Yes, 63 and considered a sexy, desirable woman. Maybe being French has something to do with it, but still. Ask women who’ve tried Internet dating if 63 is considered a desirable age. Thank heavens I’m not in the dating game, and I’m just a bit older than Ms. Huppert (!!!), but she proves that older women can still be sexy and not thought ridiculous or inappropriate for flaunting it. I’m not sure what, if any, work she’s had done on her face, but if she has, it doesn’t show in the truly awful way it does on some American actresses. No puffy lips, no cat eyes, no pulled and stretched looking skin. Just her own erotic self.

Not everyone can be Isabelle Huppert, but we can learn a lesson from her. We’re still vital, desirable beings. We don’t have to curl up and say we’re past all that. Isabelle Huppert is a fantastic role model. And see “Elle” if you haven’t already. Whew, what a movie. Sit back, hold on to your seats and just watch her. She’s mesmerizing.

One more short thought. I’m grateful for the benches that are now on the West Side avenues, but I wish we had more. With a bad back, I’ve sometimes had to resort to sitting at a bus stop, or even a stoop. One bench on every block would be ideal. I hope this will be part of the many senior initiatives planned for the next few years.

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