Feeling One’s Age

Feeling one’s age is relative. It is a universal truth that the older we get, the older being old gets.

One of my sisters and I had a soul-searching talk thirty-something years ago. Let’s call it thirty for the sake of math. If I were twenty, said sister would have been twenty-seven. She wanted me to really look into the face of my father and notice how old he looked. He was fifty-two at the time. Our fights were aging him. By my moving three thousand miles away, I’m sure that didn’t slow down the aging process. If I had flown out of the nest gracefully, it would have been a different story, but I fell out of the nest. I was  too busy being young and foolish to notice old. My paternal grandmother was in her eighties and my maternal grandfather was in his nineties when they died. I still consider that old.

When I was twenty-eight, I didn’t have a doctor; hadn’t been to a general practitioner in many years. After getting kicked in the stomach playing keep in soccer, I sought out a doctor. Maybe I broke some  ribs was my diagnosis. Cancer wasn’t on anyone’s radar. I had Dr. Church for a couple of years after going through chemotherapy and radiation. But I noticed that sometimes I would complain about this pain or that pain or I would have questions like should I start having bone scans, and she would tell me that I was getting older and of course things hurt more.

I wasn’t ready to call myself old at twenty-eight. Maybe if I had a professional athlete,  twenty-eight would be close to the end of the road, but look at Tom Brady. I opted to get another doctor. Perhaps my doctor was entering her fifties and was reflecting her aging thoughts onto me.

I loved my next doctor, Doctor Herder. When I asked Church about getting a bone scan, she said that there wasn’t a point; if I did have osteoporosis, there wasn’t much they could do about it. Dr. Herder disagreed. Knowledge is power. Yes, I showed signs of Osteoporosis and there was something that could be done about it.

The other night I commented to friends how so and so didn’t act like she  was in her 80s. I was then asked how an eighty-year-old was supposed to act.

The people I know who are in their eighties and nineties don’t act like my grandparents at those ages, though come to think of it, my grandfather might have been still sailing by himself in his eighties.

Right now my body has betrayed me, and I’m not able to very active. Getting my knee, and perhaps foot, fixed will make a world of difference, but these injuries only add to a growing long-term problem. If I work hard with rehabilitation, I can buy some time.

But, I don’t really now what my body is going to be like in thirty years, with the arthritis and the chronic back  pain from the osteoporosis. I’d be surprised that I’ll still be bowling, but I hope so.


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