Saturday, June 6, 2015

60 and Catching Up on Doctor Appointments . . .

"It's a gonna happen to you."
From the movie Marty with Ernest Borgnine
which I highly recommend!

I don’t know why they call younger women high maintenance, but they ain’t seen nothing yet. I’ve written about this before, but getting old is not cheap and the amount of work that goes into it is very time consuming and stressful. I have noticed, from the time I turned 30 and every decade after, there has been a decline in perfect health. It starts gradually, so gradually that you might not even notice at first. Maybe it’ll happen when you pick up your child’s medicine bottle and can’t be sure you are reading the dosage right. And, because it affects your child, you make an appointment for the eye doctor, who tells you you now need mild glasses. Those glasses will be forever “tweaked” year after glorious year. Let’s fast forward, shall we?

What happens in your forties and fifties? Well there is premenopause that can last about seven years before you get to the end of this most uncomfortable journey. Your flow may last a lot longer, mine was up to ten days and came about every two to three weeks. Then there are the hot flashes and night sweats and mood swings. Your body has to adjust to the change and so does your family. “Open the damn window, close the window. Is it hot in here or is it me?” Any good gynecologist will advise you to get a bone density test to see if you have osteoporosis and to what degree. Well I went for mine and discovered I have the bones of an 80 year old. Another prescription for Fosamax and calcium is required to stop bone loss. I need to eat better and exercise . . . blah, blah, blah. I know this already, I just have another good reason to get motivated. Of course, being diagnosed with a rare cancer at age 50 wasn’t in the plan, but it happened. The only good thing that happened at that time was my doctor, who I love, asked me if I was 40 and when I said “No, 50,” she said no and looked at my chart to check it and appeared stunned. I also discovered during these years that I had some hearing loss, but nothing to worry about, I don’t need a hearing aid just yet. So I expected, when I turned 60, to face another series of medical issues and my body did not let me down.

About a year and a half ago I discovered that my blood pressure was high and went to the doctor to have that checked out. It was pretty damn high. Here comes the prescription pad for a water pill. Guess what? The old cholesterol is high too, very high. I tell the doctor I’ll try to lower it by diet (like that was going to work). He reluctantly agreed and scheduled me for another blood test soon. Suffice to say, my plan didn’t work and instead I get a script for Lipitor. Good news! I am very responsive to Lipitor. My cholesterol drops dramatically by the next blood test. Eventually, he cuts the dosage in half, but I remind myself I am 60.

But it never ends there does it? The last two years I have been complaining nonstop about my eye glasses. I wear bifocals and kept saying they put the line in the wrong place. It’s aggravating. I just got a new pair a couple of weeks ago and I am having the same issues. WTH is going on??? Yesterday I went with my daughter to the ophthalmologist for her eye exam and to offer a second opinion on new frames she wanted to pick out. As he is talking to her, he turns to look at me and says I should get new glasses. Even when it’s not MY appointment, they find something wrong with me. I tell him I just did and I’m not happy with them. He says he can see that because I keep poking them to keep them up on the face. He says the metal frames are heavy in the front and will keep sliding down. Besides that, when a person is in their fifties and sixties they can’t use bifocals any more. No? No. How old are you he asks. I reply, “I’m sixty. So he says, “Okay so you look young for your age.” But he still insists I need “progressive” lens for in between distances. Just great, now my eyes are playing tricks on me. So he says he can give me a good deal in July, plastic designer frames and progressive lens, when they have their sale. Given my current glasses cost me nothing I may go back and see what he can do to help me see better.

Today I went for my umpteenth CT scan in the last eleven years. It’s a precautionary check-up that I guess will go on for the rest of my life. I’ll see my doctor this coming Thursday for the results. Hopefully, it will just be my “well visit” once again. But there is always a cloud over my head. It’s always something.

Now I will get on my soapbox for a minute. For all you young women this is my parting advice to you. I know you are busy . . . very busy . . ., usually taking care of others, but you really should consider this now, while it’s not too hard. Take care of yourself now. Try to buy healthy foods and leave out snacks, you can‘t eat what isn‘t there. Eating well and giving your body the proper nutrition leads you to good health and energy. Get as much sleep as you need. Sleep is very important for your coping skills and handling stress. Find time in your regular every day schedule to do some exercise you enjoy, even if it’s walking 30 minutes a day for starters. Exercise also gives you an energy boost and can be addicting if you do it daily. Go for your annual physicals and other exams you may need for your stage in life. Do not neglect yourself. Little things turn into big things, curable things turn into chronic and even fatal conditions. As you get older, these things are harder and harder to do. You can make a lifestyle change and be a role model for your children, family and friends. You can be a better, healthier you. Do it! Take it from a wise, high maintenance, old lady who wants to keep her Facebooks friends healthy and happy!

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