Update to Hotflashes, Hand-Me-Downs, and “Honey, Have You Seen Me Take My _____Today?”
Since the previous post was a bit more serious and sarcastic than I normally get, I need to lighten things up a bit. Laughter is, after all, the best medicine.
I wrote the below post almost 31/2 years ago (wow, time flies), and it occurs to me now that it most definitely should be updated. So I’ll post my thoughts from 2010, at a ripe old age of 49, first and then add my more recent musings and additions with red ink. I hope you enjoy:
I don’t know about you, but I’m getting older. Last I checked, I was well into living my 50th year. Now, nobody has actually ever told me, “Julie, you are not likely to live to be 50,” but having not lived in a cave all of my life, I have received this message loud and clear. So what am I doing here?
Here, for example, are a few random things I hadn’t planned on:
1) Hot flashes and menopause: Isn’t it weird that every time I put on my therapy Vest, I have a hot flash? I don’t think they were designed with this in mind.
You know those people who say, “Oh don’t worry dear, those hot flashes won’t last long.” They are wrong. Dead wrong.
2) Wearing hand me down jeans that used to belong to my son: It’s true. My 12 year old son is now giving me his outgrown jeans…and they are too big. I’m trying to grow into them.
Still working on this…
3) Forgetting whether or not I have actually done pretty important things: Did I take that pill? Did I inhale Advair? ”Honey, did you see me inhale this?” This is truly frightening.
I still haven’t nail this down completely, but I believe I have figured out the pill issue. Each morning I poor every single pill and supplement that I must take throughout the day on the kitchen counter. If, at bedtime, there are remaining pills that I cannot identify, I use them as dog treats.
4) Wondering with fear and fascination what will happen if I actually outlive my disability payment: I don’t think the insurance company was expecting this either.
D-day on this one is in 12 1/2 years, and now I actually have faced the fact that I will probably be a bag lady. The good news is that, for some odd reason, I already have the grocery cart. Don’t ask. Only my son knows for sure why we have one in the back yard.
5) Not being able to see whether the needle is actually going to hit the tip of the Colistin vial: Are they making that bulls-eye smaller, or is it just me?
Hey, I am so good at this now that I can do it while vesting! This must be an example of Malcolm Gladwell’s 10,000 hours to mastery.
6) Getting so used to the ringing in my ears, that is seems like part of the radio background: Oh, the years and years of tobramycin….
I have a new game I play with this. I now have a “floater” in my left eye due to “peripheral viscous detachment” according to my eye doctor. It looks like a little hair with arms, one of which is holding a football (I have spent some time examining this). I see it when I close my eyes if I’m facing bright light and it moves when I move my eyeball. So now, for kicks, I play the “make the hair dance to the ringing” game when I’m bored. I’m going to create an app.
7) Routinely wondering if it is possible to lose one’s colon down the toilet: Ok, this is a bit graphic. I don’t know what the magic number of hours logged will be, but at some point, don’t you think gravity is going to win?
I’m still up on gravity, but barely. Nuff said.
8) Getting too “old” to run (read: low back and knee pains): I thought the lungs were supposed to go first.
This is what actually inspired the update to this post. Now I have an L5-S1 disk that is wandering around where it doesn’t belong, the result being nasty back pain. I didn’t really understand back pain before this. It’s amazing how it can bring one to one’s knees…literally. I now kneel down to cough. This draws some interesting reactions from others, I’ve noticed. This is especially true when I’m out shopping or walking the dog(s). Of course the dogs think it’s a game. Oh…I’m rambling now.
9) Making more cracking and moaning sounds getting out of bed in the am than my 16 yr old border collie as we hobble to the kitchen to make coffee.
Sadly, Cisco died two months after I originally wrote this. Now, I still make the noises and I know he’s hearing me from somewhere, smiling his Border Collie smile, waiting for me to hurry up and get there so I can throw him the frisbee.
10) Wondering if I might outlive yet another dog: I don’t know which to wish for.
Now Cookie is almost 12, and Wiley is 10. Both of them act like they are 3 when they see a cat, so I’m not worried yet. The others (yes there are more) are 9, 7 and 3. It is a lively barnyard and nobody is leaving it soon, including yours truly.
11) Living long enough that those foolish years of laying out in the sun on aluminum foil lathered in baby oil has resulted in my wrinkles having wrinkles: Who knew that shins could get wrinkled?
Let me tell you a little secret: The tops of your FEET can get wrinkles!
12) Needing a screening colonoscopy: Of course, if we wait long enough (see 7 above), we can probably just examine it directly:-)
Well, that happened. No, no, not THAT. I really don’t understand why they bother to make “lemon flavored” GoLytely. Like that could possible make it a pleasant experience?
And now for some brand new 2013 additions:
13) Teaching my son to drive. How can this be? He was just born.
14) This memory thing is getting to be annoying. After packing half the house for a three day weekend trip (most of it medical equipment), I just realized that I forgot to pack nebulizer cups. Kind of hard to do one’s treatment without those, don’t you think? Stupid people tricks like this are becoming more and more frequent.
15) Where did my ability to sleep anywhere, at any time go? I now resemble previous partners who were bothered to the point of insomnia by such little things as ticking watches, dripping faucets at the neighbors’ house, dog lip smacking. I could never understand this before. Now I get it. Electrons spinning piss me off.
16) Receiving invitations to join the AARP on a near weekly basis. This just blows my mind.
17) Having doctors that are literally half my age. This would be kind of cute, if they were Doogie Howser types, but they are not. I am old.
19) Living to see (and take part in) clinical trials of the first of probably a long line of drugs that will work together to correct the basic defect in cystic fibrosis. I really didn’t think I’d see this. But I am living it. Every day, I swallow these miracle pills morning and night, and I think of my sister, Kathy, and my brother, Tom, both stolen from this earth way too early by a horrible disease against which they didn’t have a fighting chance. I think about how lucky I am to have made it this far, and what they would want me to say and do on their behalf.
Here’s what I think they’d say: Yes, luck has something to do with it. For all of you out there who are really, really sick even though you have done everything in your power to stay healthy, don’t blame yourself. Blame this fu&%ing disease, and try as hard as you can to hang in there for a few more years. These meds might just stabilize you and allow you many more years than you think possible. But for those of you who are slacking–who don’t exercise or sleep enough or take ALL of your treatments or prescribed meds–don’t blame bad luck and sit around feeling sorry for yourselves. Victory is just around the corner and THIS IS NO TIME TO BE A SLOUCH.
Note to reader: Neither Kathy nor Tom would have yelled at you while living, however it appears that they have become quite adamant in the afterlife.