There is one huge whine emitting from us, ladies, and instead of grating on my nerves, as most whining does, it comforts me. It tells me I am not alone in my dismay, nor in my disgust, that on any given day or week or month some part of my post-60 body is giving out or causing pain, and that modern medicine isn’t fixing it, but in its impotence in the face of worn-out whatevers, merely suggesting I “adjust” to some new, lower level of functionality or performance.
I’m also not the only one who refuses to take this kindly, or sitting down (even with my bum foot), not the only one who excels at denial, not the only one who vows to “work through it,” nor the only one who tries to do something she’s been told she probably can’t do anymore simply because she wants too -- and then rues her stubborn stupidity.
“You mean I’m never going to hear any better than this?”
“You can’t correct my vision any further? Ever? Even with surgery?”
“It’s degenerative? The surgery is risky and has mixed results at best? And even if the pain goes away, it will come back?”
“I overcame the shoulder pain and I could play golf (actually better than before). But then my finger got stiff and it hurt to hold the club. It’s maddening.”
“I walk. That’s just what I do. Now they tell me that could be exacerbating the problem. But I walk. That’s what I do. I’ve tried acupuncture. And yoga. And Pilates. I’ve tried everything. Nothing helps. Nothing eases the pain.”
“How long do I have to wear this boot on my foot? Who knows? Who cares? Once I graduate from it, I still have to wear a brace. And tennis shoes. I got a wedding invitation the other day that said ‘Wear your dancing shoes’ and I just cried. Really? I can never wear dancing shoes again? Well, a friend’s wedding is one thing -- but my daughter’s wedding? This Mama is going to dance!! I’ve got to figure this out. You know what pisses me off? They don’t care, the doctors; they’re happy with their brace and tennis shoes solution. But I’m not!”
We will fight to maintain our mobility and active lifestyle -- already the numbers of us getting hip and knee replacements are historically high -- and we will fight becoming “old ladies” right yet (and we know we sound like old ladies with each recitation of our aches and pains, so we don’t indulge very often and unless it seems safe). We will push Medicine to do a better job addressing the deficiencies wrought by aging, but realistically, probably not in time to get me back on the tennis court or you on the jogging trail.
So we will whine. To each other. And when it suits us. Because it just isn’t fair, really, it’s not. We took good care of ourselves. We’re blessedly healthy. We’ll live longer than our mothers. But we’re still getting old. And that’s the real curse. I know it beats the alternative. But still. . . .
So, thank you, sisters, for whining along with me. (And feel free to post your whines below!)
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