Monday, July 25, 2011

Old as dirt and twice as charming

There are a lot of things a preschooler doesn’t understand. They don’t seem to understand the value of money, time or vegetables. They don’t understand that things wear out.

TroubleMaker and I were in the car doing some errands the other day and he wanted his window rolled down. The car is 10 years old and the window by his car seat doesn’t work anymore. I explained the mechanism had broken. The window had worn out.

PhotobucketWhy did it wear out?

Everything wears out eventually.

He paused for a moment and thought about that. Then he asked me if I was going to wear out. Perceptive.

Right now I am 51 years old. I am quickly approaching my 52nd birthday. Rumour has it that after that is my 53rd birthday. Aging doesn't stop.

After a half century of good and bad decisions I am starting to wear out. Most of the hair has fallen out of my head; I don’t even want to talk about where it is growing instead. My teeth require more work than I thought possible. My right arm and shoulder are giving me problems. My cholesterol is climbing. I have chest pains. My hips are bothersome. My knees start to smart just thinking about climbing the stairs. My heels throb. At night my legs twitch. Even my bladder is becoming a nuisance.

Sleep has changed for me.  If I sleep in the wrong position I end up with a stiff neck. Sleep is not supposed to be a risky activity. Do I have to get in shape to sleep?

I have never been much of an athlete although I used to swim, cycle, cross country ski and play squash and racquetball. I wasn’t in great shape but I wasn’t completely pear shaped either.

Time and chocolate have a way of sneaking up on a person. They also have a way of wreaking havoc on your joints, ligaments and muscles.  So I did what any self respecting man would do, I ignored the symptoms.

Of course I couldn’t ignore them when I tried to stand or walk. Not completely. Not to the point of being able to hide them.  So my lovely wife noticed.

At this point I would like to stop for a moment and explore one of the differences between men and women. Men are about doing and women are about communicating. Science based television programming aimed at smart people always seems to get around to this topic. Anything about our own strengths and weaknesses is always popular.

My wife communicated to me what I should do and it had nothing to do perdition or traveling, so I did it. It has ended up being several trips to the doctor as well as a couple of trips to labs for testing.

In the end there was nothing terrible wrong. A couple of sports injuries, a lax attitude, a fondness for chocolate covered long johns and a love of scotch have taken their toll.  So far no one has indicated beer is a problem. I didn’t think I would ever have sports related injuries. Too bad they were football so I could at least brag about the glory days.

But all is not lost. Medications can help with some things. Pain cream and applying ice to the affected joints can help others. Proper fitting shoes can help. And exercise.

With a busy 3 year old son who just gets busier and busier I am left with one alternative. I have to get into shape. So we are hunting for a tread mill and I am visiting the fruit crisper in the refrigerator more often. I wonder though, if I end up with more energy, what will be the next thing on my list?

I would like to pass on a message to any young people reading this: Quite reading about the aches and pains of middle aged people and go get a life.

As an insightful nurse told me during all of this, aging is not for sissies.

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