I woke up Sunday morning to a text from a good friend of mine from grade school (and yes, I know I date myself when I use the term “grade school”) telling me he had suffered a heart attack the day before. He was about to undergo a heart cath to find out the extent of his problems. For a split second, the irrational part of me thought he had taken up smoking crack and was in some crack house sending wild, drug induced texts. Then the rational part of me kicked in and absorbed the truth and realized the magnitude of the situation. Fortunately, he had no heart damage and no heart disease, so they didn’t have to crack open his chest and do surgery. He had what is known as a cardiac artery spasm that brought on a medium heart attack. The cause of the spasm is unknown, but he is home and expected to do well. Whew! What a relief. He scared the patootie out of me. And that’s the part that won’t quit bugging me.
I’m so very glad that he’s going to be okay, but for the past two days my brain has randomly and frequently screamed, “He had a FREAKIN’ heart attack at 46 years old! Just 46 years old!!” Sudden and unexpected. The picture of health and then, bam! A comin’ to join you Elizabeth moment in the master bathroom and an ambulance ride to the hospital. There’s reality smacking me in the face, and reality can be a beetch. It’s a sign that we are not spring chickens any more, and it’s scares me.
It has nothing to do with vanity. Sure, I try to ignore those little crow’s feet and brown spots, but I know they’re there, and I accept those grudgingly. It’s the fact that we’re a little closer to the end of our life than the beginning now, even if we live to a ripe old age. It’s the reality that disease and wear and tear are starting to show up on me and my generation, and I must accept the fact that gosh darn it, I will get old. And that is distressing news.
For the last couple of years, I’ve lived in denial about this. I’ve joked about it and laughed about it, but I’ve truly pretended that time was not etching away at my being. That everyone but me was growing older. That I was immune to getting old. I mean, have you read the title of my blog? I like to think that if I eat enough fiber, drink enough water and run enough miles, I’ll make time stand still. While it may help keep some health issues at bay for a while, it won’t stop the clock, and there are signs that my body is changing.
There’s the menopause thing, but I’m all, “Woo hoo, no more periods!” about that. Sorry male readers, but you have no idea how great of a thing THAT is. For you, it’s like ice cold beer, unlimited sex and a John Wayne movie all rolled together. The downside to no estrogen is I now have a regular schedule for waxing my upper lip.
The gray hair is coming in faster than I can color it. I’m on a regular schedule for that, and as God is my witness I’ll go blond before I go gray. Not that blond is a bad thing. It’s just that I’m a terrible looking blond.
I’m wearing down my front teeth faster than my dentist can bond them. I was referred to an orthodontist at my last dental appointment to see if braces will help. Braces!
I have an eye doctor appointment tomorrow because the vision in my right eye is not as good as it should be. That just popped up recently. Reading glasses are probably in my future.
I catch myself saying, “Huh?” more often so I think the AC/DC is starting to catch up with me. AND the bone in my left hip is thinning so I had to start taking Boniva this year. I’m on the Sally Field train at 46 years old. Chugga chugga.
Now, none of these is really serious, and I have no obvious serious health issues. The only medication I take is the Boniva. Other than an annual sinus infection and the sinuses from hell, I seem to be fine. I’ve never had a broken bone and never been hospitalized for anything other than childbirth. I’ve had stitches only once. By all accounts, I’m healthy as a horse, but I know that something’s going to get me. It always does, so I’m afraid mine will be a surprise, too. My imagination is on overtime worrying about what it will be. Heart attack? Brain tumor? Or maybe cancer. I was frantically checking for lumps last night. A headache makes me worry if I’m working up a stroke. It’s just silly. I know I should quit worrying about it, but I can’t seem to put it out of my mind. I read the obituaries in this morning’s newspaper and took great comfort in the fact that all but one dead person was old. How sad is that? I think I need a vacation. A cruise to Alaska maybe? Isn’t that what older folks do?
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