If you were to list the milestones of this journey called aging, what would you include? Do you remember when they started?
My list would look like this:
Gray hair in my thirties.
Reading glasses in my forties.
A colonoscopy in my fifties.
Recently, I added something new to the list that really threw me for a jolt. I’d been ignoring a nagging pain in my hip since last summer. It had gotten progressively worse, and I finally relented and made a doctor’s appointment. As the physician reviewed the x-rays, examined me, and identified the scope of procedures potentially used to manage this, he identified one treatment, then quickly added, “of course, we don’t do that specific procedure for people your age.” My age? What about my age?
I’m not sure if it was my stiffened spine or the stink-eye I gave him, but he immediately added “It’s not something we do for patients over 40.” He then referenced “highly trained athletes,” and finished with a nervous laugh. By that time, I’d already forgiven him.
There was no sign of arthritis which is great, but the likely cause for my pain? I wish it was from an athletic injury or overuse from a physical activity, but no. The answer I hear more and more? It’s an age thing. Seems my hip stiffened up when the pools closed, yoga stopped, and dancing came to a halt during the pandemic. Even walking outside during the summer that mimicked temperatures from hell wasn’t a choice. The end result for me? Some stiff joints.
A few days after the doctor’s appointment, I was moping (or rather limping) around when a good friend gifted me a book she thought I’d like. In LARGE PRINT. Again, the look on my face conveyed a message.
“I didn’t realize I was ordering the large print, really,” she quickly replied. Nice recovery.
Later that day, I looked around the house and began to note other subtle, tell-tale signs that the age-ometer is creeping northward on a faster clip, and I wondered …
When did I start buying Aleve in industrial size packaging rather than the small purse-size bottle?
How did Benefiber find its way into the cupboard?
Why am I on the mailing list for dentures, hearing aids, and pre-paid funerals?
Grab bars in the shower, an extra-long, spring-loaded shoehorn, and a list of foods to help bring my cholesterol down? I didn’t have any of these 20 years ago.
Fortunately, despite all of this, or perhaps because of it, my life is pretty darn good, and I really have no complaints. Except a sore hip which is responding well to physical therapy. That’s good, because I’m far too old and out of shape for a hip arthroscopy. And I’m stretching, every day. I finally figured out that probably 75% of my problems in life can be made better by good stretching.
It’s fun to be back in the pool and moving a lot more. I hope you are healthy and enjoying an active lifestyle. If not, it’s a good time to start.
Final note: I visited our library this morning. Never before have I noticed the room that holds a huge collection of large print books! I believe I’ll be visiting there more often.