Nothing was wrong with my friend deciding to keep his mother’s powered recliner chair. It elevated his feet and legs into the air, and then later would lower and deposit him onto the floor, similar to the workings of a forklift. Nor was it a mistake for him to let it become his favorite chair. The problem came when both he and the chair grew old on the same timeline. Synchronized aging. Metal parts wear down and tendons weaken. When they give out at the same time, it’s a serious situation.
He was sitting comfortably one afternoon in his electric chair–or, rather, his power recliner, with his feet and legs stretched straight out in front of him in the “up” position. However, when he pushed the “down” button, nothing happened. The chair did not move.He is a sturdy walker with strong legs, but when he chose to exit this trap by crawling over its arm, he joined the chair in malfunctioning. It was not a graceful fall from grace. The doctor thought he might have injured his “miniscus,” in his knee, one of those body parts that is best kept happy and painfree.
I’m sorry to report that I found this all pretty funny. Did I laugh? Possibly. However, about the same time he was recuperating with the attractive, wonderful, and lovely physical therapist Mimi, I was the one who was facing my own senior experience. I badly needed a new pair of glasses. After I had carefully picked out frames (wearing my old glasses that were none too helpful), I noticed a “Two for One” sale sign. I quickly grabbed a lovely lavender frame to use for reading glasses. What fun! And stylish! When the technician fitted my new glasses several weeks later, I swear he smirked as I put the lavender pair on. And he gave me a little purse-type case for them that had handles, not unlike one you’d give a five-year-old. Why would he do that, I wondered?
A few days later I finally noticed the little “Hello Kitty” decal on the frame stems. I had bought a pair of “Hello Kitty” children’s glasses. I imagine I could have exchanged them, but I was way too embarrassed to go back. They probably have a note in their file on me, “This woman may need special handling.”
My friend has a new powered recliner and a knee that works just fine, plus he’s added a fancy gizmo with a big battery that will continue to power the chair should the electricity go out while he’s up in the air. My Hello Kitty glasses are long gone. Lavender, I decided, is not really my color.
We lose a lot as we age, including beloved family and friends. We don’t need to lose those little moments to laugh at ourselves. Madeleine L’Engle once said, “A good laugh heals a lot of things.” Fred Allen also wisely warned, “It is bad to suppress laughter. It goes down and spreads to your hips.”