My dear blogging friends: It’s not good news. So, I’ve decided to sign off. Just throw in the towel, and forget about it.
OK, OK…I’m exaggerating. But, for the first time in my experience, I fully appreciate the cliché that aging is not for sissies. I’m ashamed to admit I am a sissy.
My body began the genuine decent into old-agedom this past year. A multitude of little things are playing Stump the Chump with my otherwise good health, none of which are fatal, even when added together, but it is a shock to my psyche. Now there’s no denying I am middle-aged, and this is what happens when one is middle aged. I just didn’t expect it to happen seemingly all at once.
I accept the lines around my face, the significant filling out of the once (somewhat) slender figure, and the graying hair. I was prepared for all of that. But, the extent to which my body has filled out, and the growths, lumps and bumps that popped up took me by surprise. The other thing I did not consider was that basic sustenance would become an enemy: I now have to think about the effect of every bite of food, and every sip of any liquid other than filtered water, or else pay the price. Have I sat for too long? Good God, yes, but… I have to be sure not to exert, or put undue pressure on my limbs, lest I strain the damaged sinews and tissues. Every couple of weeks I have to check the integrity of my eyesight against a funny little chart and document any changes, because something is amiss, but no one is quite sure what to do about it. All I know is any bright light bothers me. A lot. And when they tell you things will get a bit loose and flabby, they are also referring to the wee-tiny muscle that holds back the contents of the bladder. The dam is not broken, thank God, but apparently there’s a hole. And, God-forbid I should cough, or sneeze, or laugh. A fun night joking around with friends now has an entirely different set of embarrassing consequences. Oh, and never mind the ravaging effect of menopause. I have resigned myself to being made a limp dish rag by the never-ending sensation of suddenly burning up, coupled with heavy perspiration spouting out of every pore, from head to toe (ear lobes sweat?! Go figure, but they do).
I stand in my bathroom glaring at the battery of plastic amber bottles in the cabinet, thoroughly disgusted. The little yellow one’s for that thing, and the peach one is for the other. This large beige one keeps an inflammation at bay, and the white one is for the pain of the third thing. Two of them I’m to take with food; one at breakfast and one at dinner. The others I’m to take on an empty stomach and one I’m only supposed to take at bedtime. All else failing, says the doctor, there’s another kind of therapy, or a shot, or there’s surgery. Or, you’ll just have to live with it. Everything requires follow up appointments every 3-6 months, or weeks, depending. The thing I find very upsetting, every time something pops up, is I first have to go through at least one test to rule out cancer.
Last night, I came to a breaking point. Another symptom manifested yesterday and I all I wanted to do was curl up on the couch and bawl like a baby until my Mommy made it better. My grief turned to rage, and, it being Friday and the start of the weekend, I decided a little anarchy was in order. So, I got up and moved as I wished, unchecked and unconcerned with the strain to my damaged tissues. I didn’t test my eyesight against the chart. I ate, and drank, as I pleased. I went outside, despite the pollen warning in the weather report, to take in a rare clear night and enjoy a brilliant half-moon. My eyes itched and watered, but I just let my over-active immune system generate as much mucus as it wanted. I refused to spray anything up my nose, or pop another pill. To hell with it. For one evening, I was going to reclaim the laissez-faire of my youth, when my body could absorb and process anything I put it through, and still manage to get a solid, uninterrupted, full night’s rest.
I live in a neighborhood of jam-packed together condo and apartment complexes, and yesterday was the kind of early harbinger of the end of winter that compels people to open all their windows. As I sat quietly on my deck, taking in the loveliness of the night and focusing on calming my anxieties over my degridated body, my hearing (which is still pitch perfect, thank you very much) picked up on the unmistakable sound of two people in a state of sexual ecstasy. Now, if there’s one thing that will make anyone feeling less than up-to-par feel even worse and completely like a home-bound, bed-rest invalid perpetually hooked up to an I.V. and heart monitor, it’s the sound of (I assume) physically fit young adults making crazy, hyper-ecstatic love.
My reverie broken, I went back inside, turned on the TV to nearly full volume (because, even with all my windows and sliding door shut, I could still hear them), and poked around the refrigerator and cupboard for something, anything, that could be counted as a big slice of chocolate fudge cake with rich, dark chocolate frosting.
I don’t miss my youth, but I do miss being young. Growing old is much harder work than I anticipated. It clearly takes a certain kind of resilience to rise above, and see your way through. My folks and older relatives made it look pretty easy, so what would I otherwise know of it? But I think I now understand why older people seem to be either detached and depressed, or exuberantly active, determined and upbeat. There’s no middle ground anymore. You can’t move unaware through the aging process. One must decide to best the situation, or otherwise succumb to defeat.
So, I’ve had my little childish fit. I must now decide how to play the hand I’ve been dealt. But, maybe later. After I’ve had a soothing soak in the tub and a second glass of Chardonnay.
I intended to write something that “set the scene” of a lovely vista or gathering of people for TBP 1000-Words prompt, but ended up needing the catharsis of writing to muscle through my rotten mood last night. So, I force-fit the prompt to this post. Thanks for bearing with me.