Aging just sucks, there’s not much else to say about it. We are often faced with responsibilities which can wipe out that sense of freedom we’re supposed to experience in our golden years. I’ve come to accept that I live on a rollercoaster, one that has not slowed down the least bit. I get in that long stretch, lulled into complacency when suddenly I feel the world tilt under my feet and a lurching in the pit of my stomach.
It’s one of those times, 18 months worth. A week from today I’m having a minor throat procedure to widen a narrowing esophagus. It’s not really a big deal though I’m dreading it totally. The problems I’ve been experiencing, gradually intensifying this last year, have not been spasms but rather a passageway that wouldn’t allow a 2 millimeter pill to pass to my stomach. I’ll be knocked out for this little ‘procedure’, where they stick a wire down my throat and “tear” (the nurse used that word) the tissue, and will walk out of my own accord. Figuratively. I’m sure they’ll ‘wheelchair’ me out to my mother’s awaiting car. This revelation is paired with blood work indicating low white blood cell count-unexplained and probably no big deal. It means more blood work in a month and maybe a trip to the hematologist. My fear? Well, aside from the mysterious diseases I found in an internet search. All this medical crap will cause the insurance company to raise my premium, the one I pay out-of-pocket. The one that is already $713 a month.
I think I need to find a husband.
Which takes me to the ex-husband who I care for, as in caregiving. Sunday I went to visit him in assisted living. I brought coffee and a cherry turnover-his favorite, because I was there to tell him I was getting him qualified for Medicaid and moving him to a nursing home. He took it pretty well, though I cried unexplainably through much of it. Little tears, no sobs. It had been a long stressful week of acknowledging the truth of my choices and the consequences and a week of admitting that I can’t adequately provide for his health care, or my own, in this semi-employed state I live in. Two part-time jobs isn’t enough.
I’m looking for a job as a 56-year-old woman in a young job market. I want to maintain my dignity, i.e. I don’t want to wait on tables. I don’t want to give bj’s in the alley behind some bar. I’ve given up an amazing number of luxuries and even a few necessities-and the truth is that I’m not really missing them. Though I do long for the occasional massage. But, I can’t give up much more-well, I could give up wine. But… really? Choices, again.
My personal life has been a mix of the good, the bad, and the ugly–I’m slowly working my way through that. But it also hit a messy place recently. So, as I came to the blank page this morning the first thing that sprang to mind, was Warren Zevon. What a musician. I didn’t really discover him until I was about 52. Werewolf in London was all I knew of the man and even then I couldn’t tell you his name. The one CD I own is full of poignant songs. This is one of my favorites, right along with Don’t Let Us Get Sick. That song always makes me cry; it triggers that longing for a companion to share this rollercoaster ride.
If you saw me in person you wouldn’t see any of this. I look healthy, a bit overweight (and believe me right now that’s on the top of my get fixed list) but basically I look pretty good for a mature woman. And, I’m not dragging my sorry butt around looking like the messy, melodramatic hag you’re seeing this morning. But things are shifting in my body-as with all of us aging souls. My aorta is getting smaller, or was already small? And, now my esophagus. And, heavens let’s not forget the fucking broken bone in my foot that may or may not be completely healed. I think of this time as one where I should be expanding, not contracting. If I were a Baptist, I might say that God was calling me to …something? Or punishing me for my sins. But, I’m not. It may just be that The Universe is gently suggesting I start making better choices.
For now, I think it’s fair to say that my shit’s fucked up.