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.