There comes a time in everyone’s life when the topic of conversation bandied back and forth between friends jumps from grand adventures planned, or even chatty daily trivialities, and focuses instead on the moroseness of health issues. It begins subtly:
“I’m just not sleeping like I used to.”
“Really, me too! For some reason, I keep waking up at 3 a.m.”
Then treatments are discussed.
“My doctor wants to give me sleeping pills, but I don’t know.”
“Have you tried melatonin? Or maybe a glass of wine before bed?”
Followed by the terrifying statement that generally means assisted living is in one’s immediate future:
“Oh, I can’t drink anything past 7 p.m. or I’m making trips to the potty all night.”
What’s happened to all of us? What happened to talk of trailering the horses to meet up at Biltmore and ride those glorious trails? What happened to our dreams of a group trip to the beach? When did our chats insidiously become peppered with blood pressure meds being tweaked and needing the COVID vaccination immediately owing to one’s immune system being deemed “vulnerable.” And dear God, did I hear someone mention, “downsizing”?
I want to run away, screaming. I still feel 30. With every fiber of my being, I’m grateful not to have aches, pains or prescription meds and enjoy the lifestyle I’ve chosen of hard physical labor that comes with having horses. But will all of that be turned off like a spigot when I hit a certain age? Will that happen in 5 years? Next year? I began to quake as I made my appointment for the obligatory colonoscopy. I was overdue for the procedure. Would they find something? Other friends have, with theirs. I began to manifest symptoms from fear: a bit of burning pain, queasiness, getting my affairs in order.
In the meantime, Paul investigated when we would be eligible to receive our COVID vaccine. This is it, I thought. Our lives are being consumed with our respective mortality.
Waking up at the medical center and being given the all clear from my gastroenterologist gave me palpable relief. There had been one tiny polyp, snipped and removed. He’d see me in five years.
(We interrupt this column to smack you across the head if you haven’t scheduled a colonoscopy yet. Don’t be stupid. Just do it.)
It had taken slightly longer than usual, he smiled at Paul and me, as he explained that “with skinny women, it’s necessary to push down on the abdomen to keep the probe in position” for the duration of the colonoscopy.
As I got dressed for the drive home and the biggest breakfast I could consume, Paul mentioned that he’d been told by our local hospital that at our age we’d be lumped in with the very last group of people allowed to get their COVID vaccine.
I beamed. My face wreathed in smiles.
“You’re happy about that?” he asked, incredulous.
Sublimely happy I pulled on my coat. “Yep!” I grinned.
As far as I was concerned, I’d hit the trifecta: Not only was I fine after the colonoscopy, but I’d just been nonchalantly categorized as “skinny” and now, miraculously, too young!
I’m going to look into beach rentals.