Wednesday, April 22, 2009

What are you looking at?

I'm old. Not old old, but older than most people I know. I'm older than everyone I work with and, in my circle of friends, I think I'm the oldest. Which, up until yesterday, didn't bother me.

But yesterday this vertigo gave me a flicker of what it will be like to be old.

My mind is distracted by my lack of balance. I have to be careful how I walk, mindful of my frailty. I'm focused inward, on my condition, and medicine has become a constant source of conversation.

That last is the real mind fuck. I've spent enough time around oldsters to know that their medical condition is one third of the old-timers' holy trinity. There's golf, who's died, and what's wrong with my bowels.

I don't like this. In bed last night I wondered if this was the beginning of the end. If those moments of frailty would just expand until they consumed my entire day. If, as my inner self looks on in horror, I'll shortly begin babbling about my blood pressure instead of books, phlegm instead of film and be blissfully unaware when all those around me edge towards the exits.

I'm hoping this all goes away after they juggle my noggin in May. Right now I want to rest.

But even more than that, I want you kids off my lawn.

11 comments:

eviljwinter said...

Dave, I'm not quite 43. My blood pressure is horrible. My sugar isn't far behind. My joints ache. My liver looks like that of an alcoholic (and it actually takes me a week to polish off a six pack.)

Treat these as nuisances, and the little brown bottles in the medicine cabinet as part of the morning routine.

Otherwise, you get old before your time.

Anonymous said...

Come on, Pops. You can't check-out now. Certainly like the rest of us you need to work another 15 or 20 years. Just the thought of that will keep you young.

Joe Saundercook said...

There once was an old man who never complained, had no regrets but a million friends, and who died in a peaceful glade surrounded by the gentle creatures of the forest.

And as soon as his chest stopped moving they ate him.

I'm not exactly sure what this means, but if you want go out yelling at young people and complaining about your meds, why the hell not? It's better than dying in a rock fight...

norby said...

Dave, I'm 37 and I've been on cholesterol meds for at least, well, so long I can't even remember. I can get off the actual cholesterol med, it's the triglycerides, no matter what I do, they won't go down. I spent last summer comparing my medications with my grandmother and her friends.

Feel better yet?

Stephen Blackmoore said...

My dad died at 51 of a heart attack. So'd my grandfather and great grandfather.

GGG, though, I'm not sure, but he was a pimp in 1870's San Francisco who was not well liked. I think somebody shot him for renting his sister out to the local sailors.

Anyway, if I make it another 10 years I'm in the bonus rounds.

My point here, I think, is that you're still alive. Yeah, shit breaks down as we get older. Knees go to hell, hearing turns to shit, you need to eat more fiber.

But getting older doesn't mean you're dead. Yeah, we have to make adjustments and do more maintenance. You had to do that at 30, 40 and 50, too.

Have to do the same thing with your car, too.

So, think of yourself in car terms. You're a 67 Mustang, not a 58 Edsel. That makes you classic.

RedTree said...

I've been having these same thoughts. I saw an old man struggling to get into the post office yesterday, all hunched over and slowly moving one crooked foot in front of the other. I admired his determination but, having severe back problems myself, all I could see was myself as him in my later years. It wasn't the struggle or the pain that bothered me in this scenario- I'm used to struggling and I can handle pain. It was the way the younger and healthier people avoided him, avoiding the uneasiness they felt from his situation. All contact with people would be altered.

And in that moment, it bothered me more than I had suspected it might...

Anonymous said...

A friend was diagnosed with your condition ten years ago. He's 69 now and races Corvetts on the weekend.Cheer up David, just a bump in the road. Take it from a 14year cancer survivor....

Gerard said...

I wish I raced Corvettes on the weekends.

Anonymous said...

You just have rocks in your ears. My wife Heather tells me that everyone has rocks in their ears. Just try to think of the rocks in your ears as anti-gravitational rocks, they move around too much. Apparently it's really not all that uncommon. Nor is questioning what's going to happen next as we approach 60. I doubt that your holy trinity will include golf. I don't doubt that you'll spend more time with you inner self, as long as you don't misplace it, along with the glasses and car keys like I have.-SDA

Beneath the Carolina Moon said...

I've worked directly with "elders" for the past 25+ years; so long that I actually became one myself. People who work in this field either quickly burn out of it and fall out, once the face the fate that is to be theirs, or they embrace the unique individuals who have learned to embrace life in ways that make every day lived a joy. Learn from those people. They have insights we all need. Misery at any age is misery. If we are lucky, age is inevitable. Being miserable isn't in most cases, even when you have good reason to be.

Dread

Anonymous said...

Dave,
It's horrible, isn't it? I had a bout of vertigo and I thought I was gonna die. And it is the otolith (ear stones) thing, most probably. If it hangs on too long, a physical therapist can do "Eppley Manuevers" on you, and it ain't like anything you experienced on bivouac in the Army.

Hope it doesn't last long,
Deg