I've been holding on by my fingertips, struggling to keep my sanity as I continue to age, age, age. I've tried - I really have tried - to remember it's all part of what we signed onto the day we were born. I think I may be living too long. At 80 years the signs of old age cannot be denied. Each morning as i put my feet on the floor (gratefully),I groan and grunt, stretch my stiff arms and legs, swirl my shoulders to try and ease the aches and pains that crept in during the night, and I know I'm old. No denying it. These are well known movements, familiar but hardly welcomed. They have become habit forming and are easy, albeit someway painful, as I face the new day. I lay back on the pillow, gingerly bend my knees and raise my stiff legs to form a springboard for getting out of bed. I have to try a few times before getting enough “oomph” behind it to be able to sit up on the edge of the bed. So far, so good. Next I slip my bony feet into my well loved and well worn scuff slippers. I shuffle into the bathroom feeling along the wall and holding onto the door jams as I go, until with a few more twists an turns I drop on the toilet and pee a few drops. Only a little in the bladder as the rest has quietly slipped into the miraculous " Serendipity adult leak proof panties. Ah the miracle of modern technology for the old folks! They keep me cozy and dry through the long night. (We've all heard that we come full circle if we live long enough, up to and including back to diapers.) And now the fun really begins.
I begin to assemble my aged body into a modern bionic woman. … First, rescue my teeth from the denture cup where they smile up at me . I say good morning to my old friends. Next I reach for my delicate little hearing aids that are so tiny it's hard to see them. I carefully check which is up and which is down; which is for the right and which for the left. I place them gently into place and voila ….. nothing! I must need new batteries Now this is a challenge. The batteries are tiny, slippery, and hard to see. I shuffle back into the bedroom to pick up my glasses so I can read the size and direction scratched onto this miniscule piece of tin. I determine which side is plus and which is minus. Success!
Now comes the easy part of the ritual. I brush what little hair I have left and my brush catchers the end of the hearing aid and it falls to the floor . “Okay “ I tell myself - …. “no sweat - I just need to be patient and repeat the whole damn process. “
Now comes the rough part… Into the shower , soap up and drop the soap; soap up again and drop the soap again. After 3 or 4 iteration so this test of pure determination, I find my towel and get out of the shower into the freezing - and I mean freezing cold bathroom. My teeth are clicking together from the cold and I quickly pull a sweat shirt over my shivering body. (No sense struggling with a bra at this age.) I’m nolw semi-dressed and ready for breakfast.
But first, the March of the multi-colored pills. Two dynamite little light blue ones for pain; one huge orange horse pill for anxiety; one white circle for blood pressure; one oblong slip and go down for cholesterol regulation; One 81 mg of baby aspirin (again full circle and back to diapers and baby aspirin). Now that my pills guaranteed to add years to my life are obediently taken, I cook a nice warm bowl of oatmeal and sprinkle it with delicious brown sugar and a bit of half and half and sit down to enjoy my treat of the day. Do you think the fact that I consider my warm, delicious, creamy oatmeal my major treat for the day speaks volumes about the qualify of my life?
I'm now over an hour into my day, I still have not spoken nor heard a human voice. The silence of living alone permeates the air and the only sounds to be heard are my own voice saying ‘Dammit… where did I leave my glasses/book/newspaper I've looked everywhere.” sometimes can be heard, “Dammit - now what am I going to do ….I spot my glasses under my bed. I slowly dip down , knees cracking and pain zapping down my sciatic nerveI. I spot them on the floor under my bed. Now this is a whole other story and I I won't bother you with all the details. Just picture an 80 year old, stiff, gray haired old lady, trying to get down on her knees to look under the bed for glasses. And if I'm lucky enough to succeed in getting sown on the floor, the trick will become how to get bak upright. I finally grunt and groan and piss and sass enough and manage to grab my walking cane . I swing it low and around under the bed until the glasses pop out.
Now comes the long, lonely and usually pretty empty day. I search for things to do. I can't knit anymore because of arthritis. I can’t do handwork because eyes are failing. I love books and do read a lot -love my Kindle. I refuse to turn on the television unlit late afternoon. I can only clean out so many closets and drawers. Cooking is no fun at all for only one person. Easy to snack and nibble out of boredom but know I need to exercise self control.
Lots of procrastinating because I must go for a walk in the fresh air …. Lots of advice about muscle atrophy and weakness …. Many “use it or lose it” advice… Lots of “you must walk through the pain - A few “wait and see, in a few months you’ll feel so much better” comments.
I’m tired now … think I’ll take a nap!