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    • CommentAuthorWolf
    • CommentTimeJun 9th 2018
    These ailments and compromises come with the territory of the golden years I notice. I'm the same type as oakridge was mentioning, I just want to sit and absorb things and catch up with myself.

    When a friend came and visited me earlier this week, we drove to a nearby city and had lunch at a hamburger joint in a park we both knew of. I noticed he was walking a bit more stiffly at times and commented on it. He explained that it was his new shoes and he even showed me one. But it wasn't the shoes. It was him, where he also got into the car bum first and then spun around - something I've never seen him do before and another thing that was flying under his radar.

    I see these things in myself. Something I call 'old man walking' where the stride is not full but chopped. Three months ago I noticed my left elbow hurt. That became sharper like a bone spur or anyone's guess so that I could hardly lift the stack of plates out of the dishwasher and up into the cupboard or swing around a pot full of boiling water to drain the pasta. Now it's almost gone but that's been months. I have some deadening of feeling in my feet where they're clearly somewhat swollen at times. I have a red mole on my right arm that has itched for several years now. My ears constantly ring with a high pitch so I have tinitus or whatever that's called. I can open a jar and get shooting pains through my wrist or I can walk right into the side of a doorway suddenly. My teeth are racing to break up and fall out where I've cut out things I've loved eating all my life as too sweet. Those are just some highlights.

    My sister and I talk about absolutely everything, she's one year older and is going through exactly the same things. Almost nobody else talks about the trials and tribulations of the golden years around me even though the joke is that older people talk about nothing but. I get that. After baby boomer life there seems to be some kind of resistance to the idea that we're actually getting old.

    (disclaimer - if you're older than me at 67 and want to make comments about how young I am, you can shove that in your ear. everybody younger than me's experience isn't invalidated just because I'm older)

    I don't subscribe to the medical theory that finding out what's wrong with us as senior citizens as soon as possible is the best thing to do. I don't even have a doctor and haven't seen a doctor in 14 years now. I haven't had a serious cold in that time although I've had depression, anxiety, a touch of insanity, and more emotional pain than I thought could exist in one person. We all know why.

    I've changed a lot. I would have pointed out that it couldn't just be the shoes to my friend thinking I was helping. Now I feel I understand that we need our coping mechanisms where I've learned with certainty that I need mine.

    This is the friend who's wife got inoperable lung cancer last year with a tumor larger than a golf ball, but it died with a single round of chemo and radiation and within one year she was cancer free. Or my x-best friend who told me I was too sedentary and is now recovering from a triple bypass. He once raved to his wife about having my baby back ribs which I made "from scratch". She was impressed. I didn't know what that meant - except they don't even make their own hamburgers, buy salads out of the bag, and think cooking means heating things up. Or my female friend who lives in her daughter's basement and has to work because there isn't enough money - except she's needed and involved now that the daughter has a baby and they both work, and her son Dan is taking her to Amsterdam and Paris next month along with his married partner Dan. You never know what fork is coming up in the road - or any other utensils for that matter.

    I've lost interest in assessing and judging what other people do. That's quite a turnaround from being infuriated and hurt by what other people do. I would call that acceptance but I think it's more a sign of actual healing. Maybe it's both. Maybe some actual healing makes acceptance more possible. They're just words shoehorned into situations anyway.
    • CommentAuthorWolf
    • CommentTimeJun 9th 2018

    Personally, I believe the single best thing I'm getting back (through much struggle) is the ability to genuinely appreciate. That wasn't genuinely possible when I was skewered and turning on the spit, and it isn't some religious experience or dancing in the street, instead it's the experience of seeing more things as fine more often.

    I know that my operating range is limited and fragile. That will be evidenced when something I think is serious happens. I can still easily react with strong anxiety over things that shouldn't really draw such a reaction. I can also sometimes feel the loneliness right in the marrow of my bones. It's what it is which is that it's all changing in unknown ways. I used to feel oppressed as though I was struggling just to be. Now it feels more like unaddressed issues with uncertain outcomes anyway.

    How long can I operate the house by myself? I have no idea and I know that limit is coming as these days race by. I know that but don't worry about it because it will be what it will be and I am clueless to predict what that is. I hate getting older which I'm pretty sure is sane, but I'm not absorbed by it. I've wasted a lot of time in my life worrying about things that never came about and the school of hard knocks seems to have helped me to both see and believe that.

    "Do not go gentle into that good night." I thought that was Byron but it turns out to be Dylan Thomas. Rage, rage against the dying of the light. I get that. But I don't shop there. It can find me just fine with my feet up relaxing, gnawing on back ribs I still have teeth to gnaw with. Later, I'll have my new invention - pineapple ice cream. That's fresh pineapple bits from the pineapple I cut up covered in Hagen Daas vanilla ice cream. My one cat who wants to lick the bowl afterwards hates that - so I put a dab of ice cream into a small glass bowl and when it's melted, I put it down for her while I continue inhaling. When the train comes in, everybody rides. My world. My rules. Don't worry, be happy. Yessir, I believe that. and I'm on it until the wheels come off. That's the way of it and it always has been. It's not the dying that holds the meaning IMO, it's the living. I want my share.
    Yeah, me too. I want my share. Today I went to the Kayak Festival, and tomorrow I'm going to the Strawberry Festival. And on the way home today, I stopped and bought myself one of those ice cream sandwiches made of vanilla ice cream between two big chocolate chip cookies. 510 calories--and worth every calorie! Last Sunday I sang in our massed choirs concert at church--sang for one and a half hours without a cough. Hey, no prob. So for years I didn't even have a doctor--now I have four. Good Lord. I don't really know what that signifies--I'm not as philosophical as Wolf--but I'm not letting them get in the way of me having fun. (And I really do feel fine--I'm not a martyr--if I was having any symptoms of anything, I'd let the group know about it.
    Wolf, at least get the mole looked at. And then, if that goes well and doesn't spook you, address the swollen feet.

    You may die from those things on your own terms, but believe me they are terms that you will be wishing you could rethink.
    • CommentAuthorJan K
    • CommentTimeJun 9th 2018
    Elizabeth, thank you for the update. I hope they can soon get to the bottom of whatever this is. (Is it being snarky to say that maybe the doctor would think it was more dire if he were the one dealing with it?)
    Well, so much for the Strawberry Festival--I couldn't even get Bandit through the parking lot to the riverfront where it was being held--he was just too afraid. Ever since I took him to the Revolutionary War re-enactment in our town last October--and the militia fired off their muskets--he has been afraid of going anyplace where scary guns might possibly be fired. Sigh. I just took him home. When I do the Corn Festival and the Pumpkin Festival later in the year, he will Not be coming with me. I will be taking him for very short outings near home to see if I can build up his confidence again--but if he prefers to be a little stay-at-home dog, that is fine, too. He gets tons of outside activity walking around our complex--we walk along the edge of the woods, and he sees lots of other people and dogs--sniffs everything, chews grass, etc.--but not in a noisy, crowded setting. He leads a very outdoorsy, doggie life--looks like a black powder puff, but trust me, is all dog--so if he prefers to be a bit more conservative in his activities, and avoid those terrifying (potential) colonial muskets--that is fine with me.

    I wish we could post photos here. My Heartland neighbor texted me a photo from my the back yard of my Heartland house this morning. There is a little fawn lying right in the middle of my back yard in the grass. The doe delivered him in my neighbor's vegetable garden a couple days ago, and has been leaving him either there or very close-by. I notified my lawn care guys to be careful in case they do the lawn--to watch out for the fawn, just in case. I'm assuming the doe must be very close by--she could have gone into the park across the road, of course, or may be hiding behind the big over-arching cedars that shield my shed. Fingers crossed. It is an adorable little fawn, and looks healthy.

    Saw my Primary this morning. He admitted they had been worried about lung cancer...well, duh, as if I didn't realize that, too. Anyway, he agrees with the pulmonologist that it just looks like an infectious process that is taking its sweet time about going away. If it were cancer or black lung disease or some dire thing, I would not be getting better, I'd be getting worse. So hey.