Posted in Aging

Crepe Season

 

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written by Nancy Malcolm

My eye doctor is twelve.  She’s smart, thorough…downright delightful, and yet, I have clothes older than she is.  At this mature time in my life, all of my doctors are getting younger while I am heading in the opposite direction.

My orthopedic doctor was talking to me about shots for my knees and said, “If you were my mother, I would definitely recommend this.”  

“That’s sweet?” I thought.

Are the regular doctors in the forty, fifty, and sixty age-range giving up too soon?  Are they retiring, traveling and taking it easy, just like me?

It seems wherever I go someone is calling me “Ma’am.”  I respect the respect but I still feel thirty-seven inside, so it’s hard to compute.

If you are my age and visiting a dermatologist lately, heaven help you!

“What is this?”  I asked him. “And what is this little red spot?”

“It just happens,” he said.  “To people your age.”

Oh, that’s exactly what I wanted to hear.  And the force be with you if during your annual mole check, he burns, cuts or freezes something off of a sensitive area.  “It just happens,” he says. “It could be worse.”

I also wondered if it really is true that our noses and ears continue to grow as we age?    Well, I looked it up and apparently the cartilage in our ears and noses does continue to grow and then it droops.  Gravity takes over and makes the cartilage in the nose and ears look bigger because it is sagging, just like everything else.

I don’t believe I’ve ever been able to bounce a quarter off of my butt.  Maybe the ‘firm’ gene skipped a generation. I remember once, years ago, I thought I was firm, but I see now it was an illusion.  Crepey skin is my new normal.

Recently, my grandson was sitting next to me on the couch.  “Nannie,” he said in astonishment, “Look at your arm! Why is it doing that?”

“Doing what?” I asked, trying to play it off, as I pushed the skin back up toward my shoulder.

He lightly pinched a piece of skin above my elbow.  “This,” he said, and I knew what he meant.

You see, years ago, I remember asking my Grandma the same thing.  “Grandma, look! Your skin stays up if I pull it. Why does it do that?”SCAN0004 (2)

Be aware, children, be very aware!  This could happen to you.

I will never again buy crepe paper to decorate for parties.  It’s just too real.

Two years ago, I went on a crusade to fight the crepey skin situation.  I had watched all the infomercials and ads on TV, and I truly believed I had found the answer.  I asked for Crepe Erase for Christmas and my birthday. It was expensive, but I knew it was pure magic.  It smelled wonderful and the best part was that Jane Seymour was their spokesperson. Jane Seymour is my age and she looks fantastic.  Her skin is youthful and firm.

I was faithful to use it for one whole year.  I exfoliated. I lotioned, rubbing in an upward direction.  I prayed and yet….. I fear I was fifteen years too late to change the course of my crepe.  I’m doomed to have grandchildren gasp in horror at my sleeveless arms.

I’ve had a good run.  I really have, and it’s nice to know I’m not alone.  Jane Seymour is with me as I march into the losing battle of aging.   I have to believe sooner or later she will experience the devastation of the ‘ crepe.’  One thing is for sure, I won’t go down without a fight armed with hair dye, what’s left of my Crepe Erase and Aspercreme.  The trifecta of aging!

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Posted in Friendship

My Dad, My Cat

written by Ginger Keller Gannaway

These days my dRAad reminds me of my cat. As he ages, he resembles more and more my cat J.T.  Both are very old. She is 16 or 17 (no one recalls exactly when we got her from a friend at work). My dad is 92. They move in slow, deliberate ways anJTd show little interest in the world at large. 

Both make annoying sounds. The cat meows incessantly. She starts crying at three a.m. and goes until five. Her vocalizations can be pleading and helpless or demanding and stressed. She starts with short, emphatic, “Meow. Meow. Meow.” If I don’t heed her call for food, she tries sick-sounding, “Meeereow, Meeereow!” and will mix the short cries with the drawn-out ones at uneven intervals. After seven or eight cries,  four minutes of silence might convince me that she’s given up. I smile and settle deeper into my pillow when, “Meertchkmrowww,” assaults me.

Dad’s sounds are more predictable. He moans any time he is conscious. It’s a low steady moan, almost a hum but void of any musicality. It has a pinch of pain in it and a rhythmic quality that is in sync with his breathing. Once my dad’s roommate’s wife told me, “Your dad sorta sounds like he’s purring.” (a weird coincidence of phrasing, for sure). But Dad’s moans have no satisfying feel, and he’s unaware he’s making any sound at all. After he assured me he was not hurting anywhere, I pleaded with him: “Please stop moaning, Dad.”

“What?” he asked.

“Moaning. You’re always moaning.”

He paused, stared at me, and said, “Am I off key?”

My cat, on the other hand, knows she’s meowing. She wants food. “She’s a cat,” explains my husband. “She just wants a taste.” Maybe so, but we can’t leave food out all the time because our dog will devour any morsel she walks away from, and in three minutes she meows for more. I refuse to cow-tow to her unreasonable, middle-of-the-night cravings! I sometimes get up, act like I’m going to the kitchen to shake out some Tender Vittles, and then fake her out and rush back to my room and shut the door on her. 

JT asleep

Perhaps my dad and cat moan and meow to let the world know they are still here. 

Thankfully, both Dad and the cat love to sleep. True to her feline nature, our J.T. sleeps at least seventeen hours a day. She curls up on the sofa arm, the window ledge that gets afternoon sun, or the blanket-covered bench at the foot of our bed for the best sleep.  Likewise, Dad is asleep way more than he’s awake. Every time I visit, I find him napping – mouth wide open and snoring instead of moaning. My, “Hey, Dad!” makes him sputter awake, force his eyes open, and give me a smile, so happy to have a visitor. He drinks some of the smoothie I bring him and soon dozes on and off for the rest of my visit. Even when we watched the champion LSU Tigers take care of ALL their opponents, he’d nod off until our “Geaux, Tigers!” yells roused him. He is as much an LSU fan as he’s a fan of  saying, “Any time is nap time.”

Both J.T. and Dad are picky eaters. Our pet now only wants soft food and gets sick if she eats too quickly. Dad is at the soup, yogurt, and ice cream time of his life with pudding and milkshakes as snacks. Both look skinny and act tired.

The two do share a calm air of acceptance. Their wants are few: a comfortable place to rest, small bits of food and drink, and regular signs of love/attention. Maybe Daddy’s moaning really is his version of purring. He prefers to close his eyes, hold a loved one’s hand, and listen to the conversations from his visitors that make him nod and smile. Satisfied and comfortable, he moans (purrs) and reminds me that he (and cats) understands the joy of serene relaxation.

NOTE:  A year after my mom died, my dad moved in with my husband and me in Texas. Two years later after a couple of falls, he switched to assisted living. Now he’s bed-ridden and in a skilled nursing facility. I visit him several times a week, and I love him way more than my cat.

happy papa

Posted in Friendship

Whoopie Pie

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I woke up this morning still feeling the effects of our night of romance.  Love and passion mixed with snap, crackle, and pop!  Jackie Collins would be disappointed.

 

Nothing is as easy as it used to be.  I’m really not that old but I catch myself grunting when I get up and sighing when I sit down.  I sound like my Grandma!  While everything works well in my body, except for the knees, I am still experiencing the need for some adjustments with …..you know…”time with my husband”!  Let’s just call it making ‘Whoopie Pie.’

 

During our last encounter, you might have thought we were building something or wrestling wild animals.  “Oh, watch it!  That hurts my knees!”  

“My shoulder just won’t move that way…”

“Could we stand up?  My back hurts.”

“Oh!  My neck!”

“Ouch!  I’ve got a cramp in my leg.”

 

Oh my!  While it sounds as if there might have been a trapeze involved, I assure you there was not.  We did have a good laugh over it (or was it a cry?) and then we thought about writing a book.  A sort of ‘how to’ book for the older crowd.  I know it would be a bestseller, in fact, I can just see us touring the nation or even on QVC selling our Whoopie Pie Package.  gluten-free-vegan-whoopie-pies-e1486862496859

 

We could have chapters with pictures (modest of course) demonstrating safer ways to ignite a spark…without injury.  Maybe chapters by ailment:

Hip Replacement Hijinks

Birds, Bees, and Knees

Arthritis Acrobatics  

Maybe even a chapter for incorporating props like a bolster pillow or aerodynamic swings.  Sort of a Kama Sutra for the geriatric go-getters.  Basically, how to make ‘Whoopie Pie’ without injury or loss of limb.

 

I can even envision a chapter on ‘spiffing’ up your gear, such as embellishing your knee brace with feathers or lace.  Even adding lavender or rose hips to your topical liniment so the medicinal aroma is masked.  The list is endless.

 

Stay tuned, lovebirds,  as the book is definitely in the planning stage.  For now, though, when it’s time to make ‘Whoopie Pie,’ we’re going to spend a few minutes stretching and warming up first.  Maybe that should be Chapter One.

 

Posted in Friendship

5 Reasons Why “Getting Old is Not For Sissies”

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It seems like every year something happens…something unexpected, unalluring and unwanted.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m very aware of the alternative to getting older and I am grateful for the opportunity to be alive, but, can I just say…..WOW!  This getting older is not for the faint-hearted (literally) and here are 5 reasons why.

 

#5.  Huh?  What did you say?  Say again?  These ears that once could hear a baby sigh in another room or hear a bag of chips open in the other end of the house, now evidently cannot hear my husband and vise versa.  We carry on a conversation and 89% of it involves saying, “What did you say?”

How can this be?  Soon our children and grandchildren will be raising their voices and mouthing their words while standing right in front of us.  H i  M o t h e r, h o w a r e y o u?

 

#4.  The “eyes” have it!  Cataracts, floaters, flashes, glasses and the always popular, “I’m not comfortable driving at night anymore.”  These brown eyes once could spot a misbehaving student while my back was to the class.  I could ask, “Are your hands clean?” and know the answer instantly from 30 feet.  I even remember so long ago, when I could actually read without adjusting the length of my arm or the lighting.  Sigh…..

 

#3.  Snap! Crackle! Pop! Creak!….you guessed it, the knees.  Oh, I know, some of you still have good knees, even cute knees, but for the rest of us, it’s just not pretty.  You know it’s REAL when you train your 3-year-old grandchild to help you up off the floor.  Goodbye mini skirts….farewell long jogs on the beach!  Hello Aspercreme, knees braces and Motrin.

 

#2.  I hate to even get started on teeth, but I must.  Perhaps you are one of the few who still have all of your own pearly whites.  Maybe you are the lucky one who doesn’t know what a crown is or a root canal.  But, for some, our dental bills look like a monthly mortgage payment.  For many, the reason our teeth look so good is that we paid for them!  The good news is, no one really has to know if they’re the originals or not, as long you keep smiling and don’t tell!  (Be careful with the popcorn!)

 

#1.  Last but not least is food.  I remember when Nacho Doritos were not synonymous with heartburn….when Mexican food or Italian dishes could be eaten any time of day with favorable results.  Now, it seems that almost anything we eat demands a Tums, Gas-X, Pepto Bismol or Prilosec.  It seems that some of the things we used to eat and enjoy, now, are not our friends and while that’s not necessarily a bad thing; it’s something we think about and plan for.  Goodbye, eating late at night!  Farewell, spicy foods!  Hello, low-carb, high-fiber and probiotics!

 

Yes, it does seem that every year something happens; there is something that changes, disappears or pops up.  I truly believe getting older is not for sissies. In fact, as we get older we get smarter, wiser and enjoy life more fully; it just takes a little planning.  Motrin?  Glasses?  Gas-X?  Dental floss?

All ready!  Let’s go!

Posted in Friendship

Ride Like The Wind

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“The bicycle, the bicycle surely, should always be the vehicle of novelists and poets…”  Christopher Morley

 

I’ve always loved to ride my bike.  I’m a professional amateur.  I have all the bells and whistles, yet I just cruise the neighborhood.

My husband bought me my first adult bike fifteen years ago.  I love that old, green bike!  We’ve taken it to the beach and almost everyone in our family has ridden it at least once.  However,  time, stress and a few mishaps have taken its toll, not to mention that it needs new brakes.

Last year I purchased a fancy, light-weight, thin-tired, sleek-seated, lightening-fast, silver bike.  Then, my husband said I must have the padded biker shorts and loud printed shirt to go with.  Next, gloves were added  because these arthritic hands need the extra padding!

Truthfully, the padded shorts and gloves feel great, but when I get all decked out, I feel a little foolish, especially riding the one mile to our mailboxes.  Oh sure, we’ve taken longer rides and occasionally I ride to the HEB for a few lightweight items (sans the outfit), but still I am an amateur in professional clothing.

I do feel conspicuous in my gear, but what I really feel is exhilarated!  As I pedal through the neighborhood, I may look like a senior citizen in biker gear, pumping the brakes and weaving a bit; but inside, I’m riding like the wind!  I’m blazing new trails and I’m a good twenty-five years younger!
As you pass me by on the streets, don’t honk, just give me the “nod”.  That’s what we bikers do…we’re cool like that.

Life is like riding a bicycle..in order to keep your balance, you must keep moving.  Albert Einstein

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Posted in Friendship

Home

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It will happen to all of us, this aging process.  If we are ‘lucky’ enough, we will grow old and eventually need more care, possibly more care than our families can provide.  This is a part of life.

 

Perhaps, we are the ones making choices for our loved ones.  We are making decisions on where to live and how to be cared for.  “This is your new home,” we say.  

 

I see it in their eyes and feel it in the atmosphere; “This is not my home.” they think.  Oh, some people adjust, like Auntie Sue.  She was positive, grateful and kind no matter her circumstance; no matter where she was.  But it is hard for others.  It’s not familiar or comfortable…it doesn’t sound like home or smell like home.  “My heart is not here,” they think.  “I want to go home.”

 

I don’t have a response or even an alternative suggestion; I wish I did.  For it is not always possible to give our loved ones the answers they want.  So, we dig deep into our souls and bring out our bowels of compassion, love and care.  We remember the dignity of others.  We respect privacy and requests for certain things….familiar things.  We do the best we can.

 

Yes, it will happen to all of us, this aging process; if we are ‘lucky’.