Driving and cutting hair

It’s been a stressful couple of weeks around our house. My wife had been worried about her father, who has been having some health issues for the past few months.

It all started after he was involved in an auto accident while driving home from work in northern Kentucky. Although he is 80, he still goes to work every morning and cuts hair in a one-chair shop just as he has all his life – and as his father did before him.
His car was totaled, but he escaped with only a few bruises. After a couple of weeks, his doctor pronounced him OK. He bought a new car and went back to work.
But soon after, he began having trouble with his eyesight and occasionally with his balance. He even fell a couple of times.
Jenny and her mother were concerned, but another visit to the doctor produced no news. Days turned into weeks and weeks into months. Then he went to an opthalmologist to get his eyes checked.
The eye doctor told him he thought he might have a brain tumor, and made him an appointment for a CAT scan.  When Jenny’s mother called to tell us, we were taken aback. It’s quite a jump from an eye exam to a brain tumor.
All sorts of things went through our heads. We talked about what scenarios might lay ahead. I thought back to the time when my late wife, Janette, found out that her breast cancer had returned as a tumor in the brain. She died within six weeks.
We waited for the CAT scan results. When her mother called last week, the news was good. It was not a brain tumor, but some sort of blood clot, possibly from the accident, that had healed over. The doctor did not believe it would get worse.
But it also is unlikely to get better. Her father no longer can drive a car, but he can continue to cut hair at his shop. He can ride public transportation back and forth, or Jenny’s mother can take him and pick him up. Either way, it’s a big disruption in his routine.
And if he were to decide to give up the shop, the family’s two generations in barbering would be over. Jenny is an only child.
The situation with Jenny’s father has reminded us how quickly things can change in our lives, how things we assume we always will be able to do can change – or even no longer be possible.
It’s already prompted us to do one thing – fill out the paperwork to renew our passports. As soon as we get over to Walgreen’s to get our photos taken, we’ll send it in.
We let them expire a couple of years ago because we had no trip in mind. We still don’t, but we know we love to travel and just having passports fuels our thinking.
Whether it’s driving to work, or sitting in a sidewalk café in a faraway place, we should enjoy all of life every day. Because it may change tomorrow.

 T. Wayne Mitchell, publisher of the Gazette, can be reached by phone at 662-534-6321 or by e-mail at publisher@newalbanygazette.com.