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Don, and the lost cream.

by Once

I am a medical transport driver, driving people to and from doctors appointments.

I am learning to value simplicity these days. To see blessings where previously I saw nothing.

Don had a ride scheduled for 7:00 this morning. He lives in an assisted living facility, or as another passenger referred to them recently,  “a warehouse for the dying.”

I arrived at 7, and the staff was running a bit behind, so they didn’t have him quite ready. Rush, rush, rush, ok, he’s ready to go. Out the door and into the van and off we go. Don is in a wheelchair. He is probably in his seventies, and his hands are large, and you can see that at one time he did physical work with them. His voice is deep and gruff.

“You’re going to have about a half hour before your appointment, and then afterwards, I’ll be bringing you back, Don.” I told him. “Let’s just get it done.” was his quiet reply. 

At the doctors office at 7:45, the front desk informed Don someone had made a scheduling error, and his appointment had been moved out two weeks, “You should’ve received a call, we’re so sorry Don.”

So we get back in the van, Don and his wheelchair all secured down nice and tight, and we head back to his warehouse, uhh, sorry, assisted living facility. I’m craving pancakes, and I wonder if Don had breakfast. I did, but I’m craving pancakes, bacon, coffee, the works. Mmmm.

“Don, did your staff give you breakfast?” I inquire.

“No.” In his deep, stern voice. It belies disappointment and desire, but it confirms his reality – no breakfast, it’ll just have to wait, when in days past, it didn’t have to wait, because Don didn’t wait for anyone. He didn’t need to.


It’s now after 8:00.  Don’s appointment wasn’t until 8:20, and his return ride was scheduled for 9:45. By the time he would’ve been back at the ware-  uhh, sorry, facility, it would’ve been after 10:00, and maybe he would’ve received breakfast, brunch, lunch, who the hell knows.

Don struck me as a withered version of his younger days, when HE ran the show. When schedules revolved around him, and things were made and maintained through his sweat and effort. He reminded me of a broken down mans-man. He has the attitude of a man who knows he is in decline, who knows he’s been placed in a warehouse for the dying, where he will wait. For everything. For food. For cleaning. For laundry, for visits, for rides, for sunrise, for sunset, for tedious routine that finally leads to a day when he just won’t have to wait any damn longer, because. . . well, because. Don knows this. Resignation and memory are his companions. 

I wheeled Don back inside, and joked with him that “at least we got to see some scenery and freeze our balls off.”(Its COLD here today.)

He chuckled.

“It was a good ride” was his reply, as he went inside to wait for his overdue breakfast.

I drove to a fast food place, and parked. As I walked across the parking lot, thinking of hot coffee and a baked apple pie, I realized that today, right now, RIGHT NOW, life is ok. It’s ok. It’s simple, it’s got everything I need, and that’s a good thing.

Simplicity. I have my independence, I come and go as I please, and I have two cats that I love. And I have coffee and an apple pie waiting for me.

I want the world and all its shallow, empty lying promises – but right now, I’ve got everything I need. I want much more than I need. We all do. We don’t know, CAN’T know, contentment. It’s not our nature. Sigh.  The world has been kicking my ass, all of our asses, and it will continue to, but for now, it can wait for me and my coffee.

What did I do with the darn cream? It was right here. . .



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Cause of Death: Suicide 3/14/2019 - 12:38 pm

Sounds like you’ve got a good life, man 🙂

Once 3/14/2019 - 6:07 pm

It has its moments, it’s days. Once I resigned myself to the fact that “this is as good as it gets”, it took a lot of the pressure off.

Rainwatch 3/14/2019 - 12:48 pm

Your story has made me hungry! I think I’ll rustle myself up some sausages,bacon, pudding,beans and fries. Dons predicament is sadly the situation waiting for us all if we make it to beyond 70. Enjoy your coffee!

Once 3/14/2019 - 6:09 pm

Extra bacon for me please. And a refill on the coffee. My grandmother told me growing old isn’t for wimps. Seeing people in these facilities. . . . I don’t know. It just makes me hope for an early quick exit.

Atintofgreen 3/14/2019 - 12:50 pm


Once 3/14/2019 - 6:09 pm


Once 3/14/2019 - 6:09 pm


Once 3/14/2019 - 6:10 pm

Well hells bells. I can’t make emojis.

Atintofgreen 3/14/2019 - 9:11 pm

I like your emojis anyway

shatterediris 3/14/2019 - 4:37 pm

It’s kind of sad to think about the fact that if I had internet access I’d actually be rather happy in a warehouse…. I would be able to focus on the things I want to without any stress about my future…. But I don’t know with certainty if that’s true or not, I don’t exactly want to make it to that age either to find out.

Also you didn’t get pancakes? :O but you were craving pancakes….
Your story really made me want coffee -_-

Once 3/14/2019 - 6:05 pm

Lol. No, just coffee and a lousy pie. I agree in a way about being warehoused, it certainly defines what you can expect out of the remainder of life, and there’s a staff there to care for you and provide for you, as long as the money holds out. Still, I’d hope for an alternate ending. It seems so sad to witness what’s left of a person. Dying can be so impersonal.

shatterediris 3/15/2019 - 12:14 am

I’d actually enjoy the impersonal, cold care from other people probably…. However if they would try to force me to do yard time or anything like that to control my schedule then I’d be in hell.
Basically if I am left alone (or even more likely with a roommate) and a laptop I can be fairly happy.
I have very basic needs I am aware :/

headupunderdarkcloud 3/15/2019 - 5:37 pm

Man, this was a tight read. The message so very true. Even inspired me to get all the way out of bed and to make my own cup of coffee. Who knows what I’ll accomplish next. Keep up the writing

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