HomeAsian AmericansWayne's World: If It’s Not One Thing, It’s Always Another

Wayne’s World: If It’s Not One Thing, It’s Always Another

By Wayne Chan, AsAmNews Humorist

It was like someone flipped a switch.

There were signs — many signs. AARP membership notices. A few years ago I realized I was eligible for the 55 and over “senior menu” at IHOP. Ads in my Google searches promoting walk-in tubs and chair lifts that help you get up stairs.

But, I never paid any attention. I’ve always been active, playing tennis 3-4 times a week. I’ve lost weight and made an effort to watch what I eat.

And then, a few months ago, I turned 60.

OK, let’s go through the list.

Since I turned 60, I went on a cruise to New Zealand and Australia with my wife Maya as well as my brother and my cousin and their spouses. Even though I was the only one among the six of us who wore a mask when we were in crowded spaces, I was the only one to catch Covid (for the 2nd time). Then, while on the cruise, I was chewing on beef jerky when one of my molars broke off.

Getting back home, just after recovering from Covid, I feel some stomach pains, but I figured it was just indigestion. I wait a few days and it doesn’t get any better, so I go in to see my doctor. They run some tests, and they call me back and ask me to come back to the hospital and check into the emergency room for surgery.

I was definitely surprised. I thought they were going to give me some antacids and planned to play tennis later that evening.

I have kidney stones and I need surgery to address it.

The surgery goes well, and I’m back home resting. I go to take a shower, and for the first time in my life, I slip on the bathroom floor and land on one of my knees. I start thinking where I last saw that walk-in tub ad.

What the heck is going on? None of this kind of stuff happened four months ago. I figured that all the aches and pains of getting older were just a part of aging gracefully. I never figured there was actually an internal switch in your body that flipped from “young” to “old” all of a sudden.

But here’s where I’m really conflicted.

After going home after the procedure, Maya, during the course of the day, lets our friends and family know about my kidney stones and the surgery to address it.

She talks to her brother and his wife in Taiwan, who we are very close to, and lets them know about what happened. They both send their best wishes to me and hope for a speedy recovery. It’s very sweet of them.

But here’s where I’m conflicted.

The next day, they call back and ask for my birthday and how to correctly write my name in Chinese characters. The reason? They are going to a temple the next day where they will make an offering and place my name alongside a Buddhist statue and pray for my recovery. I’ve included a picture of my name placed along one of the statues.


I deeply appreciate their thoughtfulness in doing this, but on the other hand, it makes me feel like I’m on death’s doorstep! I figured I’ve got this under control! I’ve got kidney stones! I need to drink more water.

But now I’m thinking — they’re praying for me! Do I have any unfinished business I need to attend to? Who is going to do my eulogy?!? Where is the closest assisted-living facility around here? Should I start looking for those walk-in tub ads for real now?

I’m not trying to make light of the situation, but on the other hand, could you blame me if I did? I’m not the one who seems to think I’m about to “meet my maker”!

I think I’m going to chalk this up to a difference in culture. Come to think of it, all this anxiety has made me thirsty.

Better get some water.

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