I have heard that a big part of old age consists of doctor’s visits. This hurts, or that starts falling apart or this isn’t working the way it used to. Sort of a planned obsolescence; like cars or a toaster oven. Whenever I called my parents they were headed out to this doctor or that and it seemed they spent all their time maintaining their health.
I believe we have truly entered the era of the bionic grandma. New knees, hips and Lord knows what’s next are as common as Botox in LA. The baby boomers are refusing to go gently into that good night and they are carrying pitchforks and lanterns to stop whomever tries to stop them from living to the hilt. This is a good thing because it means spending more time with our grandchildren in a younger and healthier way.
However, I insist on drawing the line when I need a specific doctor for every inch of my body.
The other day I found myself calling the feet man, the knee man, the shoulder man, the back man and the varicose vein man. After all those calls I was exhausted and checking to see if there is a finger man who can restore your dialing ability and will to live.
Obviously there are only two men suited for that job! Ben and Jerry, specializing in Cherry Garcia.
This whole falling apart piece by piece thing that seems to occur when old age looms on the horizon is a big bummer. In my youth, going to the doctor meant getting a booster shot every two years, an immunization and an occasional trip if a flu or cold attack was imminent.
Conversations with friends that once consisted of gossip, news and where to find the best deals on tooth implants, now focuses on who is the best doctor, takes your insurance and what so and so just had removed or replaced?
The fact I have to keep a notebook the size of the US census bureau for my list of doctors is getting old fast. I mean what if you hurt an arm and the injury lies between two areas of expertise, whom do you call?
It could be a stressful decision trying to figure out whether the injury lies within the purview of the shoulder, forearm or wrist specialist.
This falling apart part of being a grandma is a hard one to maneuver. Instead of spending time with my angels I am seeing the hip guy or the toe guy or the thigh guy or the neck guy from the earlobe up or middle finger guy.
This is not always easy since there seems to be referred pain wreaking havoc whenever possible as well. I never understood this entirely. Is there a little guy in your body sitting around making referrals at some tiny reception desk? Does the pain line up and report in and wait to see where it should go next?
“Hey neck, you need to refer that pain down the left arm and stop at the elbow. Knee, shoot that pain down the leg and into the big toe. Nope, just the big toe, up to and not including the toenail and keep it specific.”
Does anyone remember the good old days when the country doctor actually knew everything? When people sat in his office with their chicken or basket of fresh fruit as payment and he was able to tell them what ailed them in any part of their body and how to cure that ill?
Was that a dream or did it really happen? Did they have to fill out a constant barrage of papers to see him and wait in a room for an hour?
I find myself having strange conversations with my own body these days. When I get up in the morning I hesitate before I place a foot on the floor. Before I even feel the first pain shoot through me, I ask. Okay body, what’s it going to be today? Feet, hip, neck shoulder? Did I sleep on that right arm again? Oops, I must have twisted my knee while I was sleeping. Damn meniscus whatever the hell that is.
I now know words and parts of my body I lived a lifetime without a hint existed. I am suddenly fluent in muscles, ligaments and joints that are rapidly being overtaken by arthritis. The rhyme should now go, and this little pinky went to the arthritis clinic for a shot of cortisone.
My pinky toe ain’t so cute no more!
There have been days when I actually considered duct tape to keep myself together before leaving the house. Perhaps a designer duct tape to match each outfit? Burberry plaid or Chanel quilted with little CCs or a Betsy Johnson neon?
Gone are the days when I would hop out of bed in the morning raring to go. Now the raring is in my head and the flesh is stalling and begging for mercy.
I limp to the bathroom and make some coffee and after about half an hour I am walking semi normal.
A doctor friend used to say that if you wake up after forty and you’re not in pain somewhere, you’re dead. Today I think fifty would be the cut off, because of better diet and exercise. And let’s face it, some seniors are in great shape downward dogging and Tai Chiing through the morning.
A study was done years ago that proved that baby boomers had such great muscle memory from all the walking and playing outside they did as kids it was easier for them to get back into shape than our children to get into shape for the first time.
I fear that study ignored the fact our muscle memory may be going as fast as the rest of memory.
Perhaps we should wake up those muscles every morning before we get out of bed and remind them what great shape they’re in.
“Hey muscle, remember the swimming? Remember walking to school every day and back home for lunch then back again. Remember no television and playing outside until dinner and riding our bikes everywhere?”
Wait, I just got an answer.
My left knee just asked, “and what have you done for me lately?”
Oh well it was worth a shot. I guess my left knee has a better memory than I do now.
I feel like I have a war going on between my brain and my body. My brain is gung ho to go and my body is in a retirement mode. It’s shopping for rockers while my brain believes it has tons of stuff to do every day. Bucket list items to fill, dreams to realize, a full life to live.
Now I know there are many my age that are blessed with the body of a young and vital person.
Many are not so blessed.
I do know however that exercise and a healthy lifestyle will increase your ability to feel good and live an active life.
So I guess I’ll have to negotiate a truce between the parties involved.
Brain and Body could we compromise here?
Brain you get to focus on one dream at a time. Body you need to jump in where you can and help out. If we all work together perhaps we can still manage to live a productive goal-oriented life. And I will consider one less chocolate chip cookie or two a day to do my part.
Are we all on board here?
What? I can’t hear you.
Oh brother! Ears could you cooperate and get with the program?
A Great Recipe From Norma:
Coconut Almond Chicken Chunks
1 package of chicken tenders (You can also use drummettes)
1 cup of sweetened coconut
1 cup sliced almonds chopped well
1 cup of Panko crumbs
1 cup of flour
2 eggs beaten
Canola oil deep enough to deep fry but not totally cover chicken
Salt and pepper
Cut chicken into pieces as desired may be strips or chunks. Salt and pepper chicken
Combine all dry ingredients
Dip chicken into flour, then egg and finally into coconut, Panko and almonds combined.
Drop gently away from you into the 350-degree oil.
Fry until chicken is cooked on both sides, approximately 7 minutes.
Drain and serve with pineapple sauce.
1 cup crushed pineapple
1 tablespoon apricot preserves
½ teaspoon of Dijon mustard
Mix together until well combined