I have a new definition of Middle Aged: Middle aged is when your doctors are younger than you are. Also, doctors become plural. Middle aged is when you have more than one specialist you see on a regular basis.
The first orthopedist I ever went to regularly was in Auburn Alabama at the Hughston Clinic. I was sitting there with back pain, and in walks this 12 year old with pink ears and messy hair. I remember thinking “Sweetheart, the bathroom is 2 doors down.” when he said “Hi, Mrs Toot, I am Dr. (whatever) what seems to be the problem today?”
Then I started seeing a nephrologist a few years ago, when the kidneys crashed. I was sitting there, worrying about the kidneys, and in walked this Nigerian version of Charlie Brown. Seriously, perfectly round head, little squiggle of hair in the front.I thought “Young man, does your mother know you’re wandering the halls” when he said “ALLOO MAM! What seems to be your problem today?” That was when I noticed the white coat with his name on the front.
Yesterday I saw a pulmonologist. I was sitting there, wondering if I’d ever breathe properly again, and in walks this 17 year old in skinny jeans and a plaid shirt. That was when the postulation about middle age and doctors formed. The good news about that is that he seemed to know what he was doing.
And all that has me thinking about this whole aging process. I kind of like aging. There is (or should be, in my opinion) a degree of confidence that comes with it. Not the confidence of youth that assures us we are lithe and lovely and physically desirable, but a confidence of experience that says “been there, done that, not worth the trouble.”
I like the physical changes…well, most of them…ok maybe not even most…but SOME of them. The grey in the hair is nice. I am not going grey, instead I’m going the direction of Mom, which is a white/metallic silver blend. Also the boob thing. They’re bigger. I like that. A lot. Granted, it would have been nice to have them bigger when I was younger, but I am taking them as a sort of gift, a consolation prize, if you will. Consolation for the other stuff that requires medical specialists. It’s as if God said “Ok in exchange for loss of stamina and for having to pee every 10 minutes I am going to give you those D-cups you’ve always wanted.” And I didn’t even have to buy them.
Why fight aging? It (unless you have a terrible disease) is inevitable. Sure, according to The Media and everything you see, it is Unacceptable and you should spend lots and lots on all sorts of potions and creams and surgeries in order to look as young as possible as long as you can. Think about whatsername…that comedian…Joan Rivers The Facelift Queen. She’s 70-something and looks every day of it even though she has fought it tooth, nail, and wallet with surgical procedures and injections and Lord knows what else. I don’t know how she took care of herself when she was younger….but I still worry sometimes about the messages out there about the inherent superiority of youth to aged and what that does to people who buy into it.
I was young once, and remember feeling smug about it. I remember being lithe and supple and having the stamina to be able to go for weeks on just a few hours of sleep a day. What’s to envy about that? It was fun but I’ve had my turn and it’s time to let someone else be young for a while. My responsibility now is to keep medical specialists employed, and I am doing the best I can to keep as many of them in work as possible.
Update on the breathing issue: I saw the 17 yr old pulmonologist yesterday. He said No to the pneumonia and thinks it’s more upper airway, asthma and coughing likely exacerbated by GERD (acid reflux). So now I’m on stuff for all 3 issues. The asthma stuff started working almost immediately and I actually went the entire night without coughing once! Huzzah!
Update on aging: My 100 year old grandmother passed away yesterday. I will write a post about that later, when I can think clearly about it. We are going to her funeral in Amarillo so I won’t be writing for about a week. When she was about 90, she started saying “Don’t ever get this old. This is the hardest time of my life. Everyone you love leaves you.” I am happy for her that she is no longer in the hardest time of her life. I will miss her, but I know where she is and that I will see her again. I am very happy that she is with God, and her family that she cherishes. I inherited a lot from her- a love of sewing and making beautiful things, a love of cooking, the joy of relationships with family. There are pieces of her all over our house- things she made, her cookbooks…I will miss her. Don’t say you’re sorry for me that she’s gone. She was very very unhappy in the last year of her life, very frustrated that she couldn’t see or hear well enough to do the things she enjoyed, and she was so ready to go. She lived a very long and interesting (in her own peaceful rancher’s wife sort of way) life, and saw a lot happen in her 100 years.