Many years ago a fellow I knew said laughingly, “My scalp is hosting a big battle: it’s my dad’s gene for early baldness fighting against my mom’s gene for early graying. Keeps me wondering who is going to win. I’m not crazy for either one of them.” I retorted that at least it was better than the battle my body faced, my dad’s gene for long livers or my mom’s gene for early demise. He agreed that his battle was better.
I’ve always remembered that little conversation. My mother died at 71 and I’ve certainly outlived her, but I just can’t imagine hanging on another 17 years to beat my dad’s record. (And who would want to!). However, there is another minor little race that has developed in my body, and that is between my teeth and my hearing.
The dentist said that teeth were not made to last beyond a normal life span of seventy years, and once you cross that line, fillings become loose and fall out, decay happens under them, they all need either root canals or implants, and moreover, to be presentable we all need Lumineers on our teeth at $1,000 a tooth. Furthermore, the handbook of dentistry says we don’t pull teeth anymore unless we are going to do implants. Bridges? Forget it. False teeth? NEVER! These new dentists consider original teeth to be sacred. Worth saving at all costs, and costly they are!
And what does the audiologist say about my ears? Nothing. The reason he doesn't is because I don’t bother to go be tested. I am well aware that my hearing is getting worse and worse. The audiologist will tell me that it is a waste to spend $1,000 on low end hearing aids, it’s best to pop for $5,000+ and get two of the very latest hearing aids that are set by a computer and will last at least a year if you are lucky, (not mentioning the chronic cost of new batteries.) So since I know I’m not going to pay that kind of money for hearing aids, why pay him for telling me just how bad my hearing is.
How I wish that in my old age it were only my hair thinning that I had to combat or my eyes with baggy lids that have made inroads into my older self. In my darkest imaginings I visualize myself trudging into my 80s using an ear horn and wearing wooden false teeth like George Washington. And the crowning indignity - bald.