Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Sometimes It's Not Funny



J and I titled this blog after our reaction to most of the ailments and experiences we've been encountering in our travels out of middle age and down the long, slippery slope of our dotage. We laugh when we fall and when we get up because falling catches us so by surprise and getting up requires such innovation. We laugh when one of us forgets to do something and again when we do remember and then find we can't do it. We laugh at each other's wrinkled knees and raggedy hair, our pudding-bag-tied-in-the-middle bodies and our baggy eyes.

But, there are things that seem to be happening with more frequency that are NOT funny. One of them is continuous pain. Over the years I've broken three toes and my collar bone, cracked the femur in my right leg, and suffered a hairline fracture in my tailbone. My body is a better weather forecaster than the folks on the Weather Channel, aching in several places whenever the atmospheric pressure changes.

Back pain has been a fairly constant companion over the last dozen years but lately it's been steadily flaring. I've tried various remedies - exercise, stretching, resting, and  medications that made me feel alternately like I could fly without wings or so sedated I could barely move. To keep my mind occupied with something besides the steady ache, I walk a couple of miles a day and do some Yoga poses first thing in the morning and last thing at night. I don't resemble anything like a supple cat or a downward facing dog but despite my awkwardness, the movements allow me movement. I have also begun using what J calls 'old lady aids' -a vibrating back saver for my computer chair, a memory foam cushion with a tailbone cutout, a magnetic wrap. I have a walking stick for helping me over uneven terrain when I go for hikes and I have a pair of spiked grips for my winter shoes so that I can maneuver over the ice without fearing one of those windmill falls that look ridiculous and end tragically.

It's hell getting old. If I had my druthers I'd have stalled at 30. That's where my mental image of myself lies. There I can still toss a 40 pound bale of hay, spend hours bent over weeds in the garden and an equal amount of time hiking or biking or meandering through meadows. I can get out of bed without groaning, get down on the floor and back up in one fluid motion, and stay up past 9 p.m. I can't stay there, though. I keep waking up at 64, wondering where my get up and go got up and went.

14 comments:

Tabor said...

I do not have the energy I used to have and have to really fight myself to exercise...aerobics, yoga, weights. It is a battle that I will not gracefully lose.

Pauline said...

Tabor - I'm not being graceful about it either!

Molly said...

Get thee to a chiropractor Pauline! And sign up for a Tai Chi class while you're at it....I've fallen by the wayside on that with our cold brrrr winter, but intend getting back to it as soon as it's warm again! It really helps and is fun besides, in a serene kind of way.

Pauline said...

Ah Molly, I've been to three different chiropractors and came home much the worse for wear. One actually landed me in the hospital. I find my acupuncturist the best at fixing what ails me.

Pam said...

Oh I sympathise darlin'. I'm presuming you've had bone density tests - not being too familiar with your history. I had all these things you've mentioned to worry about,and the fear of god put into me about possible falls, but the doctor is building up my bones again with medication. Also get your vitamin d levels checked - even in sunny Australia with tanned skin, my levels were chronically low and now that's been addressed I'm pain free.Hope that's helpful - but I'm with you with this post - all the way.

Pauline said...

I'm a good girl, I am, Pam - had the tests and know what's what going on inside - mainly aging bones and old injuries! Aside from the things I complain about here,I am in good health. (Knocking on wood)

JeannetteLS said...

I think that, mostly, I am grateful that I CAN get up when I fall down. The legs collapse on a whim. As I am headed for sixty and the spine disintegrates on its own schedule (nothing to do with aging), mostly I am trying to see that my soul's getting younger in direct proportion to the rigidity of body parts. I like that part. And, practically speaking? I marvel at the freedom from gravity in water, and how I regain my own fluidity as I pump and I balance and I work out in deep water. Walking's out, but not playing in the water, with purpose. This aging thing... I alternate between railing against the inevitable, then discovering the little gifts when I get quiet. Like laughing at it, as you do, and this reconnection with who I really am inside--the four-to-eight year old child who thinks everything is new. Any of you feel that way? Freed of something?

Pauline said...

Jeannette - yes! Freed of something! It's like not having to worry about getting old because you ARE getting old. It's also a relief to think you are getting to the age where everyone says of your foibles, "Oh, she's just old, what do you expect?"

Ruth D~ said...

Hey... long pause to think... Just keep the humor. The rest pales in comparison

persiflage said...

I've read this on a day when I have sat around for most of the day, wanting to drift off to sleep, but instead being woken by my husband. And I thought about going for a swim, but the thought was not realised. All that has been exercised are my fingers, right now. Age and decrepitude combined are not a barrel of laughs.

Pauline said...

Yep Ruth - if you can't laugh...

Persiflage - I know those days all too well!

tattytiara said...

Bodies are precious things, and every ability should be savored while we've got it indeed!

Jean said...

Oui , souvent la vie n'est pas drĂ´le !
Il faut accepter les jours gais ...et les jours tristes !
Je vous souhaite un beau soleil .

http://jeancouleurs.over-blog.com/

Sue J said...

Pauline I occasionally have a back problem that gives me sciatica. I purchased a small device called a Sacro-wedgie off the net. It really works. Well it does for me. Google it and see what you think. It was cheaper than a trip to the physio.