Tuesday, February 24, 2009

What to expect as you get older

Not that anybody will pay attention to my warnings, because plenty of older folks warned me and I was too busy enjoying life to pay attention at all; and that's how it should be. Why waste your good years dreading the bad ones?

I don't have what you could call crippling arthritis. My knees are shot, but I refuse to have replacements unless I can't walk. Why? Because I've heard too much about staph infections and blood clots... even from my orthopedist, who also told me that when you have replacements, there's a danger of infection setting in at that site at any time.

If I'm going to take all those risks, I'd better be crippled first.

I can walk with Cliff every day, although I walk slower than I used to, and going down hills hurts. I can walk for hours on a sight-seeing tour of a museum. Standing in one spot, though, as I have to do when I'm cooking a big meal, is mighty painful. I'm learning to sit down to do things I used to stand up to do. I wonder if that's why my grandma used to sit on a tall stool to peel potatoes, roll out dough, and so forth. Did she have bad knees?

I can't kneel without great pain. Of course, even if I had a knee replacement, I'd be told not to kneel. So, Dear Lord, whatever happens, You'll have to listen to me as I'm sitting on my butt.

The most painful thing of all for me is to bend over for long periods, like I have to do when picking beans in the garden, or planting seeds; I don't understand why this hurts my knees so badly, but it does. I plan to sit on an upside-down five-gallon bucket this summer when I'm harvesting my crops. If I have some crops.

Arthritis has invaded my left hand, at the base of my thumb, so now it hurts to chord my guitar. It even hurts to pick up a full glass of tea, and every once in awhile I almost drop my glass when I first pick it up. The pain isn't that extreme, mind you... just enough to remind me that I'll never be young again.

I have this pain in my left buttock that comes and goes (a genuine pain in the a**). Yep, old Arthur likes to spread the pain around.

Years ago, my Uncle Leo told me I was slumping too much, and that if I didn't make an effort to hold my shoulders back and stand up straight, I'd end up hunch-backed like Grandma.

I paid attention and made an effort to correct my bad posture. It worked, until the arthritis pain set in. I've noticed that when there's pain anywhere in one's body, it's hard to stand tall. You can't help giving to the pain. I'm sorry, Uncle Leo. It just hurts too much.

I hope this doesn't sound like a self-pitying rant, because I don't mean it that way. I enjoy life. I thank God for every day He gives me.

I'm just saying that I understand now what my mother, and others, told me back when I was young.

Enjoy your youth. If your body isn't hurting anywhere, thank the good Lord. It may not always be that way.

Pain, however, is better than the alternative. So far.


Sugar said...

totally agree my friend.

Rachel said...

I have weird pain issues, with no explanations...until now. The base of my right Thumb? The pointer finger on my left hand? All with no injury? Yeah, I blame you and Dad.

Not really. I have the knee issues that I've had since my teen years (remember?) and the issues with my wrist that we tried to fix in the teen years. Whatever. I'm not bedridden, so I'm happy.

Laura Marchant said...

I am only 29 and I already feel like I am falling apart. My knees pop every time they bend, I get kidney stones, my posture could use some help...please tell it doesn't get worse, lol :-)

cw2smom said...

I always think of that saying, "Old age ain't for sissies!" when discussing my aches and pains. LOL! How true it is! Hang in there Donna! I love how you keep on keepin' on with those knees! Wear those suckers out doing what you love! Blessings, Lisa

Paula said...

Good advice. Seems everytime I get one thing cleared up another pops up but I'm standing perpendicular and I'm thankful.

Muhd Imran said...

You are a very positive person and makes the best of what is given. That is wonderful and inspiring.

Well, I guess that is what one will be going through when age catches up... something we cannot avoid, but what we can is be in the positive mind like you.

Thank you for reminding. Always be grateful for the good things you got, because it may not stay like that all the time.

Have a fruitful and painless week ahead.

Helen said...

I agree with you. One of my uncles has that thumb pain and goes to his neo surgeon and gets a cortizone shot right in that joint and he is good to go another three months. His doc ask him each trip when he is going to let him do surgery on that thumb. His answer is as long as these shots work never. Helen

Humble wife said...

Are you ready for an herbal remedy? I have problems with my left knee(ooooowwwieee) and I started taking a spoonful of honey with a sprinkle of cinnamon on it every day, and I am feeling a difference.

Perhaps it will be worth the effort?

No matter, I am a silent follower of your path as are many to come. We are so cocky in our youth,..and when it starts falling apart oh boy...

Diane@Diane's Place said...

I have crippling arthritis at 45 and have had it for at least 10 years, or that's when it began bothering me to the point that it affected my activities. Both my knees are bone on bone, but like you, I'm not having replacements until I can't get around at all. In the last 5 years I've started having new pains to add to the knees. It's basically all over me but at least I don't hurt everywhere every day. So far.

I agree with you. If anybody is blessed enough that they don't have daily pain, they are indeed fortunate and should thank God that they don't hurt.

I'm mostly known as 'MA' said...

My mom always said to me - If you think you feel bad now, just wait til you get to be my age. She lived 83 years and til the last one of her life was pretty healthy but she suffered from arthritus and really slowed down. I'm hopeful that the next 5 years will be pretty good, because she said she didn't really start to fall apart til she hit 70...
Age is a matter of mind over matter they say,if you don't mind it doesn't matter.

I guess I don't mind a few aches and pains.
'On Ya'-ma

MissKris said...

I've had aches in my joints for a long time now, especially in my lower back. In fact, until we bought our memory foam mattress, sleeping was no longer pleasurable and restful. Some mornings I'd wake up so stiff it'd take 5 minutes to roll out of bed. My knees aren't what they used to be, either, but I'm down on the floor playing with the grandbabies and up and down, up and down, up and down all day. I just keep plunking along, tho. I'm with you on the replacement surgeries...I've seen too many of the older folks in my church especially who've had nothing but troubles since they've had knees or hips or both replaced. Some hobble around even worse than beforehand! So...just like on my list of no hair dye and no nips and tucks anywhere on my body, I'll just keep plunking.

Antique Mommy said...

Yes ma'am. The most important thing you can do, in my opinion, to age gracefully is to maintain your flexibility - mentally and physically. I never dreamed that getting up after sitting Indian-style (I supposed that term is no longer PC) on the floor, could be such a challenge or take so long!

Hollie said...

I already have arthur issues too.

Pamela said...

Seems like I've had aches and pains my whole life. I just forget about them....so they must not be too bad, huh?
Hope today is pain free for you.