I like to say the phrase that I stole from Gloria Steinem, “Most people my age are dead.” It’s true, so I wonder why I’m not dead. I must be living on borrowed time, yet I feel as alive as ever. Aches and pains are to be endured, especially when first rising from bed in the morning. On the other hand, if you feel pain, you must be still alive. Then there are the pills, too.
I take seven or eight pills early every morning and eight mostly different pills in the evening. Every morning and every evening it’s the same routine, and not temporarily but for the rest of my life, I’ll take sixteen or more pills every day. This seems like a lot of complaining, and I guess it is. It isn’t fair that I still feel lusty, I can still shovel some snow, carry heavy bags of salt and hustle slowly up and down the fifteen stairs about a dozen times a day.
I blame the doctors. In the case of almost all those pills, I had nothing wrong that I could feel, but the doctors told me I needed the medication. Blood tests, urine tests, Electro Cardiograms, and things like that. I did alert the doctors that I felt that my heart could use some attention. I had heard that one can feel an impending heart problem in their arms. I had a daily routine of taking my Doberman, Shadow out for some ‘stick chasing’. I began to notice that immediately after I threw her stick a long way, a mild, peculiar feeling flowed down my arms to my wrists.
My family doctor leaned close to my face and said, “You don’t have angina.” He sent me to a heart specialist and boom – two stents in my heart. That family doctor is no longer my doctor. He seems to be a poor diagnostician. My present doctor is peculiar as can be, but he seems to know what he’s doing so far. His office, his building actually, is very peculiar also. It’s a huge, grand, ancient red brick house, totally hidden behind a row of massive cedar trees at the sidewalk’s edge. One gets to the house on a long, dirt driveway at the edge of the cedar blockade. This is in the middle of town, by the way, around the corner from my home.
As I enter my eightieth year, I experience situations that I would never anticipate. Through facebook, I’ve learned that some of my high school buddies did not actually like me. My kid brother helped me to overcome that blow by pointing out that it was on them, not on me. I didn’t do anything to deserve it, except that my family was more wealthy than theirs, so maybe there was jealousy. It wouldn’t be deserved, because I always considered myself to be the same as they were, and didn’t really notice the economic difference among our group.
One benefit of living longer than most people do is that others who felt something negative about you are dead now, and not feeling anything. My high school girlfriends are dead. My high school adversaries are dead. My first big love is alive, but just vaguely remembers me. Another girl, the most beautiful young woman I ever personally knew, is still alive and claims she always loved me. I used to wonder why I didn’t love her, and now I know. Through communication on line, I realize she’s a bubblehead who is rich from inheritance and alimony, and has produced nothing of worth throughout her seventy-odd years. She’s a gorgeous package, even now, but it’s an empty package.
I continue to live on borrowed time and medications, and will for as long as I can. I have a step-granddaughter that has captured my love, and I want to see her as a young adult. My mother lived to ninety-four – that would suit me just fine.