Thursday, September 24, 2015

This Just In From the Getting Old Sucks Department....

Years ago, when I sold my first novel, I bought my parents a new car, a 1985 Ford Escort. That was Dad's idea; Mom wanted the white Mustang the dealer loaned her while the Escort was being serviced. After Dad passed away, Mom decided to sell the car. She took it to a used car dealer, and it looked like she might get a decent price for it...until the dealer took it for a short test drive.

Halfway around the block, the fuel pump gave out.

That's what I've felt like in the past couple of years--like a car with a lot of miles on the odometer. The warranty has expired and now everything seems to be going wrong. After I passed fifty, this old heap was junkyard bound. First, there was the high blood pressure. Then, my cholesterol was too high. Then my thyroid stopped working. I discovered I have cataracts and glaucoma. And after so many misdiagnoses, I found myself on seizure meds (I now take two different drugs for the seizures, and seven more for everything else).

If I were a car, I'd be patched together with wire and duct tape.

To be fair, I've been epileptic since I was sixteen, but didn't think I was, because, to my knowledge, I had never had a seizure. I stopped taking the prescribed Dilantin while I was in college. Bad move on my part. Turns out there are non-convulsive seizures. They're the kind that cause hallucinations of a wide variety and really mess with concentration. Over the years, under extreme stress and without proper treatment, the seizures worsened.

But the worst sign of aging has been, for me, arthritis. There are days I can barely navigate our apartment. We don't take meals at our dining room table anymore because I can't sit in the hard chairs. Both of my knees are messed up-- sometimes I can't even bend the left leg.

I used to walk every day. I walked so often, the manager at our apartment complex remarked that I should be skinny because I was always walking.

The trouble was, those walks always ended at a restaurant. A recent study determined that if you live within walking distance of a fast food restaurant, you're forty percent more likely to end up with heart disease. We live within walking distance of 30-40 of them.

As Collin put it, "We're screwed."

Anyway, when I was told I could no longer go out alone because of the seizures (and Collin works 5-6 days each week), my daily walks came to an end and arthritis began. Now, I can't even make plans in advance for those days Collin is here because I never know how bad it's going to be on any given day. The problem has migrated to my left shoulder and elbow, and just a few days ago, the pain was such that my doctor ordered a prescription for painkillers. Just what I need. One more prescription.

Like Mom's Escort, it's become a day by day thing. At least my fuel pump still works. Sort of.

I should probably be counting my blessings. I could be comparing myself to our other old car--the one that looked like its only previous owner was a little old lady who only drove it once a week. Through downtown Baghdad.

That car lost its engine. Literally. The motor mounts rusted through and the motor fell out while we were stopped at an intersection.

I suppose it could have been worse, but I'm not sure how.


  1. Yes, it can always be worse. You could have been a used Yugo that met a semi-truck. My other half just informed me I get a 24 hour pass for the hospital next week. Just what I want. He's going in for surgery and I get a 24 hour pass. I'm onto those brain-washing techniques they splice into the elevator music and I say, get an oil change but stay far away from hospitals!

  2. If it's not one medication it's another. Hopefully the combination works, as opposed to having adverse reactions.

    I'm trying to think of a car analogy that's worse, but the Baghdad one seems to fit the bill.

  3. hahahahaha...
    We need to sit down and compare out problems !
    You will always win because of the seizures.
    Bummer for you though.

    cheers, parsnip

  4. Oh, Norma, arthritis is a horrible condition. The eye problems almost as bad. Can they operate on the cataracs if you have glaucoma? I can't sit on hard chairs for a prolong time because of my leg. Therefore my chair at the table does not match the rest of the set. Who cares? I'm comfy. Prayers.

  5. Whoa! I guess I'm better off than I thought. I think I would go totally stir crazy if I didn't have the freedom to go where I want, when I want to. Hope your engine doesn't fall out for a long time.

  6. I'm so sorry...hang in there...

  7. Oh that's awful Norma, I can't imagine what it must be like to be in constant pain. The other day I Googled 'the benefits of drinking water first thing in the morning' .. have a look Norma, I was amazed at the results and am now drinking two big glasses of water as soon as I wake up and wait at least half an hour before first coffee, that's hard :) but the benefits sound worth it.

  8. I'm so sorry Norma. I've gotten a taste of arthritis and it totally sucks. You have arthritis and more. You remain in my prayers.

  9. Eve: I hope your husband comes through his surgery successfully. I hate hospitals.

    William: I picked Baghdad because it was the only one of the war-torn city options I could spell!

    Gayle: That's a geezer's favorite sport--comparing aches and pains!

    Mari: Yes, they can operate. The cataracts are on the right eye, glaucoma on the left. I always say I'm blind in one eye and can't see with the other!

    Karla: Sometimes, I think the ol' motor already fell out!

    Hilary: "Hanging" being the operative word!

    Grace: I'm a big fan of water these days. I used to drink at least two liters of soda a day. For my devotion, I have a nasty case of acid reflux. Quitting wasn't easy, but now I prefer water.

    Lynn: Arthritis does have a bitter taste, doesn't it?

  10. Like I say, God should've sent each of us here with a box of parts and a warranty. Love you, Norma.


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