By Jim Hagarty
The first time I saw little black shadows floating across my eyeballs, I thought I was in big trouble.
All of a sudden, spiders were living in my eyes, but when I would try to get a good look at them, by turning my eyeballs left or right, they would scamper away. I would just see a trace of them as they ran to hide.
Panic-stricken, I ran to the doctor. He explained that these were “floaters”, nothing to worry about. Just something that comes with age. I still have them, but I am so used to them now, I rarely see them any more.
The first time a 747 went roaring through my head as I settled into bed to try to sleep, I thought I was going deaf. It was tinnitus. Hearing damage from loud and prolonged excessive noise over many decades had left me with this ringing in my ears that will be there till I die. I barely notice it now.
Other lovely things awaited. Skin tags? Oh yay! Off to the doctor, onto a hospital bed, have them snipped off. They grew back, or at least, new ones showed up.
Skin damaged from too much sun exposure keeps my dermatologist in business.
I have been to all kinds of specialists with all kinds of complaints. I am glad they have been there for me.
But the other night, I had a telephone conversation with a woman who phoned me out of the blue, someone I hadn’t seen in years. She is 80 now. The entire conversation, from her end anyway, was about health and doctors and death. I couldn’t wait to get off the phone.
I met a neighbour the other day, also a senior. She asked me how I was doing.
“Well,” I said, only half jokingly, “I wake up in pain every morning. My whole body. From my toes to my nose.”
“What are you doing about it?” she asked, and was disgusted when I replied:
“Nothing. I want nature to take its course.”
She was not amused.
Maybe I have fibromyalgia or something like it. Maybe there’s a treatment or a pill or a yoga class …
But I feel like I wasted too much of my mid-life worrying about my health declining and now that it actually is slipping a bit, I don’t feel the need to pull out all the stops to reverse what is probably mostly irreversible.
I can walk, talk, see, hear, swallow.
That might be the thing about becoming a senior that can’t be anticipated. We know NASA is going to have to shut down some systems to keep the craft in orbit. But as long as we can look out that little window and see the beauty of the Universe …
It isn’t that the body would begin to degrade. We knew that. In my 40s and 50s, I thought that would be awful.
Now, it seems less of a big deal.
I’ve got a dreaded energy drink cooling in the fridge and a chocolate bar in the cookie jar. A lawn chair waiting for me in the back yard.
Things are fine.