(A reworked post which first appeared in WOMEN: WE SHALL OVERCOME in January, 2012.)
Now that I’m 81, I'm not only clumsy, I’m becoming decrepit. Which is strange, because I don’t remember ever being crepit. Or ept. Or even ane. You look to be sympathetic. Let me tell you some of my woes.
I’m diabetic, which has not been much of a problem. One time, however, I had a sore on my leg which refused to heal. My doctor thought pure oxygen would help. He had me go for treatments in a hyperbaric oxygen chamber. This is what divers use when they get the bends. This is not for those of you with claustrophobia, which I do not have. You lie in a coffin-like chamber that has a glass top & sides so you can watch TV. While you’re in there you breathe pure oxygen. It’s something “normal” people never need. The treatments take about an hour each, in a series of about 15. I usually fell asleep.
My main problem has been with my feet--specifically, my toes. I refuse to wear shoes unless it’s absolutely necessary. I never wear them in the house. When my kids were small & they’d see me wearing shoes, they’d ask where I was going. I used to give small dinner fancy parties with crystal, china, sterling & bare feet. I have broken several toes by bumping them into chairs.
The first time I ever broke a toe, my husband & I were playing cards at my brother & sister-in-law’s house on a Sunday evening. My brother-in-law was a veterinarian. We decided that he would bandage my foot & I would see my doctor Monday, instead of bothering him on the weekend. Apparently, my brother in law used a LOT of bandage to wrap it, because when I went to my doctor the next day he asked, “Who the hell bandaged your foot? It looks like a hoof!” I said, “Funny you should mention that. My veterinarian did it.”
Another time, I had just had arthroscopic surgery on my knee. The morning after the surgery, I was in bed when the doorbell rang. My husband had gone to work. I grabbed my crutches, which I was not used to using, & started to “run” to the door. I fell & broke my toe against the wall, trying to protect my knee. My yelling woke my son, who came out to see what was happening. He helped me up & got me back into bed, then went to the front door. The UPS driver had left a package for me. In it was a beautiful new cane, hand decorated in lace, which a friend had sent me. If she hadn’t sent it, I wouldn’t have needed it! Sometimes I feel like the old joke that goes, “Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how did you enjoy the play?”
I had a mastectomy a couple of years ago. That didn’t bother me too much except that after I finally got my arm back in working order, I fell & broke it. It still doesn’t work perfectly. For quite a while I couldn’t pull up my own underwear. My son, my husband & I were talking about online dating. I said I should put my name out there with the description, "Old broad who can't pull up her own underwear." Blake thought that should get me several hits!!
I once bought an embroidered pillow for a friend. Maybe I should have gotten one for myself, too. It shows a cow lying on her back with her udder hanging to one side. It says, with the letters dragging down, towards the bottom corner, “No, really--I’m f i n e….”
A meal is not considered finished until I spill something on my shirt----fishducky