Saturday, February 28, 2009


This won't be news to most of you, but there are some things that are different about getting old. If we who are old now didn't have such strange new things happening to our bodies, we wouldn't talk about them so often. It is true -- the conversations among old people often focus on their aches and pains, doctor visits, elimination habits, bruises on arms and cost of health care. It isn't that we don't have other things to talk about but these are on our mind a lot and since they are shared concerns, we get them out in the open. It is kind of like the old saw - "Misery loves company."

Aging means making lots of adjustments. The last time I took an airline flight, I rode[a shuttle bus from my car in the parking lot to the airport. Getting onto the shuttle wasn't too bad, but getting off carrying a purse over my shoulder, a small carry-on piece of luggage in one hand and a briefcase full of books in the other was sheer terror. My knees are a bit iffy at this point, and with the steps off the bus being steeper than usual, I had to proceed going down sideways while holding onto the rails as if my life depended on them. At least if a knee gave out, I wouldn't pitch forward onto the macadam roadway in front of the airport terminal where the bus stopped.

In restaurants everyone wants to sit in a booth. I do too, except now it is getting harder and harder to get out by scooting completely across the bench and then hoisting myself up into a standing position "gracefully." Again, it is my knees that seem to be the weakest point, and because of that I'm ready to opt for a table out in the center of the floor, though no one else wants to do that yet. Getting out of a chair is a piece of cake compared to getting out of a booth. I just have to decide which I'd rather have - privacy or grace!

When my mother was alive and getting older, her skin was tissue paper thin and she hated the red bruises she would get under the skin of her arms, mostly. She constantly kept band-aids on them to hide them. I used to tell her that the band-aids looked as bad as the bruises did and not to worry so much about them. Of course I have come to eat my words, as I have inherited her predisposition to early bruising. I have several different size bandages that I use - one is a tiny circular bandage for tiny bruises, and another is a rather large bandage, which works well for cat scratches AND big bruises on my arm. I have been known to explain to someone who asks what happened that I have a cat scratch, when all I've done is covered up a bruise.

I do not like the looks of the crepey skin on my upper arms. I have decided that if I want to wear tee shirts in the summer I am going to make sure they have regular short sleeves instead of the inexpensive little capped sleeve tee-shirts that Target and WalMart feature in their casual clothes department, the kind that all the little teeny-boppers wear.

I am really sorry that getting older isn't easier. But there's not much I can do to change that, other than to baby myself a little and make some allowances for myself. I do think old age really is mentally coming to terms with what 70 or 75 or 80 feels like -- and accepting that it surely doesn't feel like 40 or 50 any more!

No comments: