Today I am a man. No, that was my bar mitzvah speech 66 years ago.
Would you believe today, this very day, I am 89 years old. No kidding! Somehow, someone let me live this long.
For 40 years or more, the DMV made me take a driving test every two years because of my poor vision. Last time out in 2013 they gave me a license for five years. I fooled them, at age 87. I stopped driving because I wasn’t comfortable on the road.
And now…drum roll, please! I want to give you my birthday present. Ready? Take one-half an avocado and mush it up and put it on half an English muffin. It’s delicious and a real healthy, light-weight breakfast. All components from life coach Julie Wilhoit.
Sold my car to Carmax and that was a pleasant experience. Nice folks! That same month I acquired a 4-wheel electric scooter and that got me around nicely to the drug store, coffee shop, CVS and a lot of doctors around here. The scooter was great, but the sidewalks tore me apart.
Then last spring I had a series of returning back and neck problems (L4/5 and S1), which led to a July 5th episode where I couldn’t move out of a chair. So, Gabriele got some good-looking fireman to come and take me to the Marina del Rey Cedars Hospital (4 blocks away) where I spent the July 4th weekend while they tried to figure out what was wrong.
With the aid of blood tests, x-rays and scans of all kinds, they finally got to a scan that showed problems in L2/3. With the help of a CT scan at the hospital, they pinned the problem down to a bone spur in that L2/3 area. That was what was causing pain in my legs while the lower back was causing the back pain.
The doctors I was seeing all sort of agreed I couldn’t consider surgery but I needed to see a pain management doctor. This is kind of a mystery classification. Almost all the pain management doctors only do injections of one kind or another.
Oh my gawd, I turned 89 today. I know they say it’s only a number, but my personal experience tells me there’s a lot more involved than just a number.
There’s only so much you can do to thwart the physical and aging problems.
Since July of last year, I have fallen about 12 times. Fortunately, none were serious but some allowed me to have a tour of all the local ER’s. Main cause was probably Gabapentin. It reduced the back pain but made me unstable. Now off it but still a little unstable.
My father lived to 91 (the last seven years in a nursing home) and my mother made it to 97 before deciding she had enough.
I’m not sure how 89 really happened. Certainly, I never gave any thought to being 89. No one gave me a clue or prepared me in any way. On the other hand, I’m sure I wouldn’t have listened.
So let me be honest with you…are things the same—NO! Have things changed that I don’t seem to be able to control—ABSOLUTELY!
• I have shrunk almost two inches
• It’s a lot harder to make decisions
• I struggle to be fast on my feet with comments, retorts or clever responses
• Still have a good sense of direction, but now uneasy about if I’m driving the right way
• Having anxiety, especially about trips and going anywhere
• Takes me longer to write anything, like my blogs
• I now wear flannel shirts all winter
• Can’t think of anything clever to reply on Facebook postings
• Becoming more ambivalent and blasé about going to things; theater, events, and the like
• Not sure I want to travel anymore. After 81 countries and seven continents, maybe it’s enough.
• Every activity seems more of a hassle
• I like staying home more than I ever imagined. It’s just more comfortable.
Is this really happening? I used to be quick on the draw with decisions, comments and opinions. Yes, I know the alternative is not desirable, but does it all have slowly get taken away.
Physically I’m doing pretty well:
• I have almost a full head of hair
• Only about 10 pounds overweight
• Eat less, especially at lunch and dinner but don’t lose weight
• BP is very normal, with no drugs
• Cholesterol a little high
• Have neuropathy—cold extremities and very poor balance. With the help of a trainer, my balance has improved in spite of doctor’s predictions.
• Teeth strong and healthy
• Only real problem is walking. I’m slow and a little like a drunken penguin.
I never tried:
• Skiing downhill
• Skating – roller or ice
I never ate:
• Short ribs
• Pigs knuckles
I always heard that old people sleep a lot. Sure didn’t work that way for me, at least all at one time in bed. At least a nap or two helps!
I’ll give you another report in 10 years, God willing!