On aging

We all do it, hopefully. Age, that is. The goal is to go from infancy to old age without too many hiccups. Isn’t it funny, though, how our culture reveres youth, even when we say things like “He died too young!” and “She went before her time!” How do you even DO that- go before your time? Isn’t it Your Time to Go, when you go?

anyway…I’m not meaning to write about that sort of thing. What started this train of thought is a pain in my left thumb. It’s pretty painful, too. I don’t know how knuckles are numbered (help me on this, Dad. You can leave it in the comments section), but it’s that one closest to the end. It’s sharp and hurts whenever I bend it. It makes it difficult to grab things though I’m adapting.

That’s what we do, adapt, that is. We find ways around the pains and difficulties. There’s a whole industry based on that, ranging from orthopedic shoes to wheelchairs to hearing aids. Alarm clocks have volume settings, computers have ways to…what do you call it (see, even the internet has ways of looking up words when you can’t think of one so when people read what you’ve written they think you’re eloquent when all you really are is savvy enough to look up synonyms.) I still can’t think of the word…increase the size…I know there’s a word in there…oh heck. you know what I mean. Make the images and letters bigger so you can see them. It’s like increasing the volume only for your eyes.  Dammit.

The Good Dr. H., when queried about the loss of words (I was concerned that 25 years of neuroleptic medication had fried part of my brain), told me it wasn’t the medication, but instead it was The Menopause, and many women lost their words at this stage. That didn’t help much but at least I still know what I’m trying to say, even if I have to dance around it with 200 words instead of saying that one precise word. People are patient with me, because I have grey hair and a cane with which to kneecap them if they’re disrespectful.

I hear another sign of aging is the need for less sleep. I know that’s true. I woke up with an itch on my leg at 4:00am this morning. I scratched it a little bit, and laid there thinking about a piece of beautiful green wool flannel I bought a couple of years ago, and what kind of dress did I want to make from it, and maybe I had enough for a dress *and* a skirt, but I can’t remember (memory issues happen, as you age, plus that was a couple of years ago and a lot has happened since then) if I bought 3 yards or 5. By 4:30 I felt awake enough (and, dare I say it, even cheerful) to get on up, even though I knew the coffee pot wouldn’t turn on until 5. All this after going to bed at 10. I’m an early riser (early-ish anyway- 6:00 is more typical even though I wake up at 5, laying in the comfortable bed, listening to George Winston play piano interpretations of old hymns is an exceedingly pleasant way to start the day) anyway, but waking up at 4:00am is Amish Dairy Farmer early, and not Staring At Old Age early, but I do love going to bed early….I’m rambling. Also a privilege of Old Age.

One of the delights of living in The Deep South, is that people still feel (I lost a word again…it’s not “urge”…hm…) COMPELLED (I found it!! I found the word!!) to be courteous to women and older people, and especially older women. This means if I start rambling in a conversation with a younger person (common now, what with school and a church full of younger people), they won’t be rude and say things like “WhatEVER” and leave. They’ll stand there with a tight smile, nod and make appropriate comments while shifting uncomfortably. Unless they’re my own kids, and those ones will look at me and say  “You’re rambling. Get to the point.” or make fun of me. Which is deserved because I make fun of them a lot.  Honestly I try not to do it, but sometimes when you can’t think of a suitable word you simply HAVE to ramble around the lexicon until you hit on something approximating it.

The house I’m building will accommodate the changes that come with age. The doorways are wide enough for a wheelchair, and the layout is one that will be easy to maneuver. There is a place that a ramp can be easily installed, and the showers will have grab bars built in, and be big enough for a chair, should one ever be needed.  If I should ever need live-in help, there is an area with 2 bedrooms and a bathroom that will close off and has it’s own door out.  All of this is intentional, as I hope this will be the last house I ever live in. Which is an old person thought, if ever there was one. I had the same thoughts with some furniture I recently purchased…that this would be the last stuff I ever buy so make it good quality and easy to get in and out of.  That’s an interesting and novel train of thought- that this is the last (anything)…and I’m ok with it. Honestly, Himself passing away has made the whole concept of mortality one that is much easier to swallow. The process of aging is (hopefully, though obviously not…lost a word…definite{not the word but close enough}) somewhat inevitable, so I might as well embrace it and recognize that it has it’s issues.

Like aches, weird thumb pain, waking up at Amish Dairy Farmer early, and a comfort-before-style sensibility. And pizza causing heartburn. That one bugs me more than anything else. Thankfully coffee is still ok.

About rootietoot

I do what I can.
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9 Responses to On aging

  1. jerseechik says:

    Before I started reading this I was thinking, “Being in school has been so good for Rootie- she’s becoming an eloquent writer again.” I’ve been enjoying each of your posts this week.
    As I was reading this I was thinking, “Oh, yes, the Word Game. Perhaps we can start a line of Old People jewelry: big and bling-y necklaces that read ‘Play the Word Game with me’.
    And then you finish with the disgusting, horrifying thought that someday coffee will be on the Forbidden list. What are you, Stephen King in disguise?
    Anyway, if there is a more digestion-friendly version of coffee (chickory? decaf?) maybe I’d better start drinking it now. Perhaps in stages, or for special occassionns, so it doesn’t seem like Doom.

    • rootietoot says:

      Well, Dad’s approaching 80 and drinks coffee you can float horseshoes in, so maybe with the right constitution and enough exposure…no, that’s not the word….you know, when you’ve used a chemical enough that you’re no longer sensitive to you…dangit…whatever. Maybe you’ll be fine.

  2. rootietoot says:

    OK: Digits are numbered from medial to lateral, that is, the “Thumb” is #1, the Pinkie” is #5.
    The horse has one digit, so it’s numbered #3. Go figure that one out. Evolution, that is. Dad.

  3. Beki says:

    Basal joint arthritis. Ouch. I’ve got it, too. Both dadgum thumbs. It makes me feel old. Opening jars is the worst.

  4. Looking forward to reading about your house – please drop by my blog I’d love to swop notes !

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