Claudia Myers column: Keeping up with the challenge
One of my biggest problems in any situation, be it the doctor's office, quilt guild meetings or restaurants, is where to put my cane so it doesn't fall down and cause a commotion.
My husband and I joke that pretty soon our grocery bills will take a dive because with our declining appetites, we'll be able to get along fine with a combined dinner feast of a couple of those little round, red potatoes, a few green beans and a pork chop.
I am beyond the days of watching what I eat so I can get into those expensive jeans I bought. I am well into the "different-dietary-guidelines-for-each-disease-that-has-cropped-up" stage.
There is the "no-sugar, low-carb" diet for one thing; the "no-red-meat, eat-your-fruit-and-veggies" diet for another; and the "you-can-make-anything-taste-good-with-the-right-spices, even-tofu" regimen. One gastric diet shakes a warning finger at fresh fruit and vegetables, making mealtime a challenge, until you're down to canned spinach and cold water, no ice. Ahoy there, Popeye!
One of my biggest problems in any situation, be it the doctor's office, quilt guild meetings or restaurants, is where to put my cane so it doesn't fall down and cause a commotion. If I put it someplace too safe, I usually forget it and have to make a trip back to retrieve it. And I haven't yet learned how to manage it in addition to an armful of papers, fabric or lunch.
Even hanging onto it while putting on my coat somehow deteriorates into a "Laurel and Hardy" skit. When we are out for dinner, it slides under the table with a clatter so that I have to ask the young waiter to come and crawl around on the floor to retrieve it. Ugh! I hate that.
And, if a cane is that much trouble, what the heck am I supposed to do when I need a walker? Do you need a parking permit? What about etiquette? If a friend picks you up in their car to go to lunch, do they manage the folding up and stashing away of the walker, because it is their car? Or, do you do that?
Even though, because if you are using a walker, you are usually not dexterous enough to manage any large folding object, especially one on wheels. Is there a book of good manners and practices that comes with the purchase of every walker?
But when mobility gets to be a problem and you feel like you are wearing a pair of those kid's bouncy shoes with the springs, you learn to adapt or you tip over. So, you join the thousands of other "seniors" who practice the fine art and sport of "furniture surfing." When you walk into an unfamiliar room, you check the contents to make sure there are enough pieces of furniture to hang onto, allowing you to "surf" or glide across the room as you try gracefully to get from here to there.
Walls are good for this purpose, also, but, unfortunately, in a small group, they give you the appearance of sneaking or slinking around the edges — not a good look for an older woman.
I have a theory: Oh, yes, I hear you. What? Another cockamamie theory? Yes. Another theory.
I think that we go along for about three years and nothing changes much, meaning with our health, our appearance, our eating habits. No one says, "Wow, you must have had a rough night!"
Then comes that fourth year when everything I previously mentioned falls apart. All of a sudden, you need tri-focals, your hair starts coming out in chunks, nothing tastes the way you remember it, and besides that, the doctor says you are of an age that you need a procto. Ooohhh, nooo. You get through that year and then everything is stable for another three or four years again.
That's my theory. What do you think?
One of my favorite jokes is about the old guy sitting on a park bench when another man comes along and joins him. The first fellow says, "Hey, there, what's your name?" The new guy is quiet for a few seconds, then says, "How soon do you have to know?"
The reason we have difficulty remembering our best friend's name, or familiar words or street names or even our own name is that, by the time we are out of "middle age," we have crammed a tremendous amount of information into our brains. We have a condition known as "storage overload." All we need is a slight design variation. Might even be retro-fitable! I'm talking about a delete button, so you could get rid of data when it was no longer needed. Good idea, eh?
And who really needs to remember all the words to "Wake Up Little Susie" by The Everly Brothers or the combination to your seventh grade locker? I lived in fear I would forget it when I was in seventh grade, but I think I'm over that now. I know someone who can recite the serial numbers of the very first dollar bill he ever earned. But he forgets to take the grocery list.
Here's what I know about the aging process: If I were a car, I would be a 1985 Buick station wagon, badly in need of an overhaul and body work. And a complete detailing job wouldn't hurt, either.
Next up: "Your mother's voice"