Friday, August 11, 2017

The Truth About Old Age

I just read some fairy tale, I mean magazine article claiming to blow the lid off the myth of old age. The author declares she is committed to aging with grace and gusto: "I work out at CrossFit four or five days a week, I belong to two other gyms where I do boot camps and spin classes. Last year I became a certified senior fitness instructor and started teaching fitness drumming. I run, I bike, I hike, I kayak and I’m starting to get comfortable on a stand-up paddle board. Basically, I’m an old lady who, by virtue of persistence, tenacity and sheer cussedness, can probably kick your butt."

"Old lady," my ass! Turns out the author is 64, which is not even old, it's older, so why is she even talking? Besides, she goes on to admit that she got shots of Botox to eliminate her forehead wrinkles, so she's not exactly a reliable source. I stopped reading. As for me, at 71 years I am not only merely old, but really most sincerely old. I have wrinkles that show on the outside and all sorts of things on the inside that don't show but that are constantly messing me up, and let me tell you, it's no fun.

The truth is, Helen Mirren and Jane Fonda aside, aging sucks. And although I may appear younger than some people my age it still sucks, despite the fact that I am not fat, do not have thinning or grey hair and exercise with a personal trainer several times a week. I can do squats and lunges and all that other crap. I am strong. I don't fall down. I think young. Some of my friends are less than half my age, so I'm guessing I'm no fuddy-duddy. But here's the rub: my insides are still getting older no matter how much moisturizer I slather on my outside.

How much older, you wonder? I woke this morning and tried to stand up but the floor was slanted crazily and the walls were caving in on me. I felt so dizzy, all I could do was fall back in bed. It was another severe episode of my BPPV, or Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo, which causes one or more of the crystals lining the inner ear to dislodge and float freely inside the ear canal. This results in a severe spinning sensation and completely dismantles any sense of balance. It can last from half an hour to half a day, and it precludes your doing anything except crawling. Apparently it's caused by "aging."

Besides the BPPV, periodically I get ocular migraines which last about 20 minutes and feel like you took a tab of acid but you don't get high, you just see thunderbolt-shaped flashes of neon white light throbbing in your eyeballs. (Not painful but quite annoying.) I take meds each morning for blood pressure and Miralax each night for constipation. I have almost constant tinnitus and far fewer teeth than I started with. Despite dieting, I've grown thicker around the middle. Worst of all, according to my physician, all these horrid conditions are "as common as a penny." He insists I'm in great shape, for someone my age.

So, unlike the 64-year-old young lady who wrote that article, I'll pass on the Botox for my outside. I'm waiting for the day when they can make my inside younger.

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