Growing Up, er, Old
By: Garland Davis
♫“I ain’t as good as I once was, But I’m as good once as I ever was.”♫…Toby Keith
I tell you, getting old is a bitch. But it is preferable to the only other choice.
Things ache that you never knew you had.
Backache. Tried physical therapy, massage, muscle relaxers, pain pills. Finally just ignore it. Let the son of a bitch ache. They say you should exercise.
Enlarged prostate. Got to piss every two hours and don’t even have to drink beer. When I drink beer, I can probably get that down to every five minutes or so. They say exercise helps.
High blood pressure. Cut down on sodium, watch your diet and take pills. Here again, exercise is prescribed.
Parkinson’s disease. The shakes, muscles don’t do the things you want. Difficult to walk, feels like you are walking in water. Easily lose balance, sometimes reel around like you are drunk. Alcohol not recommended, it hastens the progression of the affliction. Parkinson’s sufferers sometimes fall down, if you drink, you fall harder. More pills. Incurable, you are going to live with it and probably die from it. Exercise again.
I wasn’t sure of obesity or just over weight. So I did some research. If you are a male, you are considered at a healthy weight if your Body Mass Index (BMI) is at twenty-five or below. There is such a thing as too low BMI, but no need to discuss that with beer swilling sailors. Persons with a BMI of thirty or higher are considered obese. So those of us who fall in the area between twenty-five and thirty are just overweight. I calculated my BMI. I came in at 29.9. To get to a BMI of 25, I will have to lose thirty-five pounds. I estimate that I was about twenty-nine years old the last time my BMI was below twenty-five. The solution, you guessed it, more exercise.
I told my doctor that tossing and turning all night and dragging my fat ass out of bed every morning should be all the exercise I need. His answer. He says I need to walk at least thirty minutes per day.
I told him that I get up at four thirty every morning, read my e-mail, and have two or three cups of coffee. The dog and I leave at about six. It is her walk. She is nine years old. She walks quickly and stops suddenly to enjoy a particularly enchanting odor. Probably where another dog pissed. I walk slowly because of my affliction. You know, this twenty-eight-pound dog can drag my two-hundred-pound ass along. But we get there. Most mornings it takes about thirty minutes for her walk. That is if my medications are working. Some days I have to cut it short. Just cannot walk very far on the days I am “off.” Then there is a fifteen-minute walk at three PM and another at seven.
I have one of those Bow Flex resistance machines. I work out with it every other day and ride my wife’s bicycle to nowhere for about half an hour an hour. On the other days, I walk around the block at about a two miles per hour pace. That is if I am “on”. If my Parkinson’s medicine is working and my muscles obey the commands I am sending them. If I am “off”, I usually go much slower for the evening walk if it is really difficult. Sometimes difficult is just too fucking mild a word.
And all these mother fuckers keep telling me to exercise. They have no idea what “exercise” means.
I subscribe to a number of e-newsletters regarding Parkinson’s disease. Interesting reading about current research and advice on living with the disease. I found a link to a Parkinson’s Support Group website. I thought that maybe I could learn some tricks to better help me live with the disease. I logged on but didn’t register. I just lurked reading member posts from the last few weeks. What a bunch of “Woe is me” fucking crybabies. I have heard less crying and bitching from a bunch of twidget strikers who were just told they were going mess cooking. I wanted to tell them to, “Man the fuck up.”
Conclusion. I didn’t write this looking for sympathy. My Company Commander in boot camp told me where I could find sympathy. Each of us has afflictions and crosses to bear. Play the hand you are dealt, the best way you can. It is called life, live it.