I just reached a major turning point in my life, one that I was not expecting, nor did anyone warn me of it in advance. So just what has happened at this particular turning point which, by the way, seemed to coincide with my 80th birthday?
Suddenly I found my physical prowess lacking as well as my mental abilities, etc., etc. Simple chores that I have always done around my house have now become major tasks leaving me quite exhausted when they are completed. Spreading a few bags of mulch shouldn’t exhaust me but it does. Brushing the pool used to be just a minor chore that required little effort but now I feel like I have raked all of Miami Beach with one hand. I am noticing in my neighborhood many, many homes with “FOR SALE” signs that were not there just a few years ago.
My wife postulates that these are homes owned by older people who simply are no longer able nor can they afford the normal maintenance that they have dealt with for so many years.
Another change is one that requires me to check my calendar each day to see which doctor I am going to on that particular day.
Don’t ask me how many doctors I go to because frankly I have yet to count them all, although if I would count the pills in my various pill boxes: morning, afternoon, night, after meals, etc. I could probably average it out but I prefer to not do that.
I do remember visiting my older relatives some years ago and seemed to get a kick out of the number of pills that they were taking and wondering whether I would ever find myself in that same position. Well I have! I still marvel and wonder how all these pills find their way to the proper place in my body — i.e. liver, stomach, head, ears, eyes,, etc. I for one don’t believe that they do and as a result I dread each time a doctor refers me to still another “specialist” for my problems. Each doctor seems to have their favorite drugs and as a result I have literally tons of pills to take with every meal, between meals, when I go to sleep, and when I wake up.
Of course, my brains are still in place but they are not functioning as I would expect them to. Ask anyone in my age category how often they find themselves getting lost in their automobile even when driving in very familiar territory. I can’t tell you how many times this has happened to me. The reason being that I’m simply not concentrating on what I am doing and relying on muscle memory to get me there. This no longer works after a certain age.
Fortunately I have one of those cell phones in my car which allows me to call my wife and get directions to where I am going.
Example: I eat many meals at a nearby Taco Bell and have been going there for years. I had to call my wife, (my home GPS) to find out where they had moved Taco Bell to. Her reply: “it’s where it has been for the past 30 or 40 years” but apparently I went to the wrong shopping center looking for it.
That is not the first time I have done something like that. I have gone west instead of east on several of the roads running through Miami and if you go west far enough, you will end up in a swamp with alligators. Please be careful.
I have a badge that I wear to various business meetings and conventions that says simply, “I don’t remember your name either.”
That saves a lot of embarrassment and groping for people’s names which are buried somewhere in my hippocampus, but I don’t know exactly where or how to get it back to where I can use it. Talk to anyone in their senior years and I promise you that one of their major complaints will be remembering names of people that they know very well.
I was telling my wife (what’s her name) the other day about this problem and got little sympathy. I am starting to notice many clinics and meetings dedicated to memory loss but I forget where they are or who was running them so I may not be able to take advantage.
There is nothing worse than starting a conversation telling someone about this fabulous movie that you just saw and when they ask you for the name of the movie you draw a blank. This happens with books that I am reading, TV shows that I have watched and meals that I have eaten. I can assure you that I have done all of these things but I simply do not remember where or when or how.
I used to consider myself very advanced in using a computer. I had one of the first ones ever available to consumers and over the years was able to keep up with most of the advances and changes in software and hardware. Unfortunately the people making and designing these things don’t have me in mind when they change from Windows XP 2, 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10. Frankly I can no longer keep up.There is a program called Photoshop which I became quite adept at using over the years as my job was making catalogs for various companies including covers and design, etc. Now simply designing a cover for a magazine or a book or anything else seems beyond my ability. I hate that I once felt very comfortable operating an automobile where all I had to do was steer and shift, etc. Now my wife refuses to allow me to push any of the many buttons on her modern car which she herself doesn’t really understand, but she doesn’t want me messing up her car.
Somehow we recently lost a Bluetooth connection to her cell phone and, who knows, maybe it was my fault but it was something that I could not fix. Like many senior citizens I go to a geriatric psychiatrist for help with some of my problems and whenever I complain about my age he replies that “age is just a number.” I am sure he is right, and that being the case I asked if he could assign me a lower number. Unfortunately it doesn’t work that way. The only alternative to these increasing numbers is one that we prefer not to think about. So I won’t!