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.