Archive | January, 2015

Who’ll Stop the Rain?

14 Jan

I had a birthday on December 31 & it was a significant one, primarily because I’m still here & very grateful for that. Having survived a life-threatening illness puts birthdays into a different perspective & makes them all significant… in a GOOD way. Not only have I survived another birthday, I’ve survived another year. Hurray for me!!!!

The blaring truth, though, is that as we get older we have more challenges, especially health challenges. If we live long enough we simply start wearing our stuff out.

Hearing is one of our senses that often takes a direct hit. However, that may be because of hours spent sitting next to million megaton amplifiers at rock concerts back in the day & not necessarily related to the aging process. At least my generation has a plausible excuse for saying, “Huh?” most of the time when someone asks us a question, especially if they’re in another room or in a car.  The real UP side of the hearing disability thing is that we’ve heard some amazing music, seen some amazing bands & been part of a musical era that was simply… amazing. In the end, we’re really rock music veterans & deserve respect because we were THERE & not necessarily because of our hearing loss.

Visual handicaps also seem to come along with the addition of years. I’ve worn glasses since way back in elementary school & been handicapped by nearsightedness, even though I could read anything up close, no matter how small the print.  In the past few years all that has changed.

I’ve been able to read small print less & less easily & now have a pair of magnifying “readers” in my office, in the kitchen & in the bedroom. The bedroom pair, before anyone starts thinking of weird jokes to attack me with, are beside the phone on the bedside table … there so I can read the caller ID when some rude person calls early in the morning & wakes me up. My method of dealing with that is NOT to answer the phone. In my mind, that pays the offender back passive aggressively for calling early & waking me up. But I couldn’t enjoy that passive aggression if I couldn’t see the caller ID … so I have a pair of “readers” in the bedroom, too.

In being less able to read small print, I have gained long distance vision. The improvement has been so great, I no longer have to wear my glasses to drive & am seeing 20/20 at a distance. It’s been an unusual trade-off but one I’ve enjoyed.

My ophthalmologist really has no explanation for this visual reversal except to suggest that a forming cataract may be causing it, in which case, it will be temporary.  (If we’re over 50, age gets the blame for just about every condition from cataracts to fleas). In the meantime, as I’m enjoying visual, glasses-free bliss, my ophthalmologist suggested that I always keep my glasses with me because my driver’s license is still RESTRICTED & a policeman stopping me for a driving infraction will expect to see them resting prominently on my nose. Regardless of my miraculous return from long distance blindness, the police officer can add one more charge to whatever he has stopped me for if my glasses are at home on my night stand beside my “readers.”

Then there are those somewhat embarrassing bladder dysfunctions. If you’ve had children, you seem to suffer this affliction of age more often than those of us who have not. That doesn’t make us immune to “aging bladder,” but it does make us less susceptible. I do OK in that department except when I’m starting an exercise routine after not exercising for a while. Retraining my bladder seems to take a little longer than it used to when dealing with lunges & hops.

Our cat is 18 years old & I use him as an example & an aging gauge. Very often now, while in the litter relieving himself, he will pee on his foot. After digging around in the clumpable litter it forms sort of a concrete paste on his foot that he walks across our dark wood floors. He leaves a trail easier to follow than the bread crumbs Hansel & Gretel dropped & it’s much more difficult to remove. He still goes on those “cat runs” & seems healthy & that’s a good sign. So far, I haven’t peed on my foot but if I do one day, the cat has shown me that I can still be active & healthy. It may just be a matter of trajectory, so I’m depending on that.

Joints suffer horribly as we age. I’ve had a knee replacement & will eventually need one in the other knee. I was discussing my most recent orthopedic appointment with a friend & she told me a frightening tale.

It seems that during a recent heavy rain & wind storm she went out to get the leaves out of her pool skimmer. She got down on her knees in the really cold water that was on the pool deck & got the leaves out. When she attempted to get up, she couldn’t …her knees simply wouldn’t cooperate. After trying every position she could think of she managed to get up by stretching one leg out & sort of rolling. She was cold & very wet & scared. I asked her why she didn’t have her cell phone with her & she said she was in her pajamas & had no place to carry it. She lamented what if no one had found her until she had frozen to death?  I suggested that maybe we actually ARE moving into an age where getting a Life Alert may not be a bad idea. But she balked at that suggestion. “We are still too young for those things … as long as we can crawl.” And I agreed with her.

It occurred to me that it’s obvious there are certain things associated with aging, like succumbing to a Life Alert that most of us will avoid until the very last minute.  One day, while we’re lying at the bottom of the basement stairs with the  laundry spread out everywhere around us & unable to move, we might just have that Ah Ha moment when we realize that ugly little  “calling device” hung so conspicuously around the neck might actually have been a good idea. Coming to that realization when you’ve actually fallen & can’t get up is an eye-opener.

I’ve decided to start a business that will be lucrative & that even those Shark Tank folks may go for. I’m going to design decorative covers for Life Alerts, much like those cute little cell phone covers that are animal print or look like pandas. I will make jewel encrusted covers in many designs that will easily pop onto the Life Alert, look like necklaces & go with every outfit. You will be able to get one for $6.50 or a special offer of four for only $19.99 PLUS shipping & handling & paid in three installments. It will be sold to the world on QVC. They will come in animal print & glow-in-the-dark, black light colors, especially appealing to our generation. If I get really creative, they may include a tiny DVD player to play that amazing music we grew up with.

My husband got me a Mailbox Chime for Christmas. It has a sensor you put in the box & when the mailman opens the mailbox door to put in the mail, a chime goes off in the house & a red light blinks on a small console on the table in the living room. Since it’s a hike to the mailbox in bad weather, this cool little device keeps me from running several times to an empty mailbox. Now I only go when the mail is there.

This is such a useful device I’ve decided that maybe I will incorporate it as a tiny sensor in my Life Alert covers.  You would wear the sensor discreetly in your “dainties.” If you get an unexpected nudge from your aging bladder, the sensor will detect the presence of moisture in your “dainties” & your Life Alert will chime. Or maybe, with a little tweaking, it will play a tiny rendition of “Who’ll Stop the Rain?” sung discreetly by Creedence Clearwater Revival……………

I will have no worries. My “Golden Years” will be financially secure, thanks to my Life Alert covers, which I will market as really cool jewelry … with a twist……