ON GETTING OLDER.
It’s a very strange condition, this getting older thing . It kind of sneaks up on you and you don’t even know it’s coming. One day you’re a strapping young man ready to take on the world, the next day you’re world includes a walker and a bed pan. How the hell did this happen to me? To me? To US? How the hell did this happen to US? No one told us that we were going to fall apart in big chunks… that was for old people. Now, WE ARE THE OLD PEOPLE!!!
I was perfectly fine. I mean perfectly fine. Sure when I hit forty I could no longer stay up until 3 a.m. and then operate the next day on four hours sleep. But I wasn’t looking into nursing homes either. I had simply slowed down a tad. And by a tad I mean that if I wasn’t in bed by eleven p.m. every night and got six to eight hours of sleep my body would revolt by coughing up big things that looked like sofa throw pillows. So I learned, the hard way and began going to bed at eleven every night. That seemed to work for about five years… then, suddenly, without warning… I would wake up refreshed and ready to start the day, only it was three a.m. and the day hadn’t started yet. So I would lie there for an hour and try to fall back asleep until I was ready to pull out my hair. Then at four a.m. I would get up and watch the dreck that’s on TV at four a.m. Did you know they now make a wheel-barrow that has four wheels?
The three a.m. wake up call from hell lasted for about two years. It didn’t seem to affect me at all unless you call falling asleep at three p.m. every day normal. At this point I did and thought nothing of it. After all, I was a young man.
Then my friends started dying. I almost took it personally. My closest friends were dropping off like flies. How could this happen to us, we’re so young. How can they be dying… 50 ISN’T OLD . But they were dying and I was faced with the fact that now it begins…
Then came the comma in my life. A little slip down two stairs in flip flops, a slip that sent me flying into the air about six feet and landing me squarely on two ribs, breaking them in two. Then came the famous ride to the hospital in the ambulance where the driver could not find UCLA medical center. No, I’m not kidding you. At one point I asked him, “Do you want me to drive?”
Six weeks after the ribs healed the shoulder blade began to hurt… not just hurt but burn in a way that was non-stop and grew so badly that I could no longer sleep in a bed. The only place I was comfortable was on the floor because flat on my back was the only way I was not screaming in pain. Then one, two, three, four doctors and finally the right doctor who knew what to do. Enter the surgeon and the surgery and the recovery and the tests for the surgery… and what’s this blood in your urine?
So, I heal from the surgery and then back to yet another doctor to find out I have stage one Bladder Cancer. Turns out if I had not fallen they would never have found it and well you know what comes next. But as luck would have it, it was at such an early stage that simply removing it was enough… no chemo…no surgery. Just a check up every six months where they shove the UCLA Marching band up my dick. Who would have guessed that falling and breaking two ribs and rupturing you neck disc would be a lucky thing? Not I.
Then there was the six month period when everything was good. Until one day at the UCLA Band practice the doctor said, “Wow! Your Blood pressure is through the roof.” I wonder why, you have a semi truck up my dick. And now it’s a whole new group of doctors and new medications. Father time is sitting on my shoulder laughing his ass off, “Still feeling like a young buck, are you, Steve?” One medication made me so insane that even I noticed I was crazy, while another slowed me down so much that people in comas would say, “For crap sakes, snap out of it.” Finally got the blood pressure under control.
But there was more… suddenly my hands were so tight I couldn’t close them. My hips were so painful that simply sitting sent me screaming out of the room. But who can walk when your hips are so painful. Then my ankles hurt and my wrists…then I started getting emails for assisted living and Forest Lawn and walk in tubs. I looked over my shoulder and my life was catching up with me then I realized I was in such pain, I couldn’t look over my shoulder. And then my friends began to have grandchildren. How the hell can people my age have grandchildren? After all we are only 28..but there are the pictures my friends, their grand children and in one case…THEIR GREAT GRAND CHILDREN. Holy crap, look how old my friends got. All the time I’m denying the fact that I was right there along with them.
I want a t-shirt. AGING SUCKS. I think that sums it up. Today at the doctor’s I learned I have macular degeneration. Oh joy. Oh Rapture. Now I have enough illnesses that I’ll have to list them alphabetically. This part of my life, the retirement part, was supposed to fun… instead it’s a long slow march to a casket. And so why do I write this? So why do I kvetch in open for the world to see? I write it in the hopes that young people reading this will take note and take care of themselves. I write it so they’ll enjoy life while they can. I write it because I was invincible as a young man and now two days without a bowel movement and I can’t fit into my walk in tub.
I write this because we have to take care of ourselves… catch this shit early and be on top of our own health. Take care of yourself people. You are all you have.
ON GETTING OLDER.