Getting old is a pain in the ass

Whoever called old age “the golden years” had a sick sense of humor.

Old age brings aches and pains in places you didn’t know you had.  The wall we hit after too much activity is now closer and harder.  Doctors finish every sentence with “for your age.”

Old age slapped me hard Thursday morning when I woke up with my right ankle swollen about two-and-a-half times its normal size with my shoulders and arms aching and feeling about three times their weight.

Probable cause: Three plus hours on my feet photographing the track meet Wednesday afternoon and evening.  Covering such meets means walking the length of the Floyd County High School and back about a dozen times with no place to sit and take a break.

When I trekked back to the car as the sun was setting, I sat behind the wheel for about 30 minutes before starting the car to head home.

I started to work on the 1900 plus images shot during the meet after loading them into the Mac but fell asleep in the chair before even getting though a first pass the shots.

Doctors found nothing wrong and agreed that over-exertion was the probable cause.  “You’re 71, not 19,” one said.  “You’re not a kid any more.”

Stayed off my feet through Friday evening, when I drove Amy over to Christiansburg for her weekly bingo game at Blue Demon Wrestling Club.  None of the new movies didn’t create any need to shell out for a ticket, so I parked myself at a coffee table at Barnes & Noble bookstore to drink coffee and work on my laptop.

Saturday dawned better in the pain and swelling department and I was able to pack up the video equipment and head into Floyd to film the Floyd Radio Show at the Country Store.

About five minutes into show, severe cramps shot through both of my hands.  My right hand looked deformed and I was able to handle the video controls.  Fortunately, two of my three cameras were stationary and shooting from fixed positions and my third camera sat on a tripod where I could one finger on my aching left hand to handle the zoom and composition of the action on stage.

The pains continued through most of the first hour of the show before everyone took a break.  I headed for the store’s restroom and ran very warm water over both of my hands for about five minutes, which loosened up the joints.

The cramps didn’t bother me during the second hour of the show.  I was able to pack up the equipment afterwards and head home shortly after 10 p.m. but had to stop on U.S. 221 when the hand cramps returned and I had to pull off on the side of the road to let them subside so I could drive the short distance home.

A prolonged hot shower loosened up my joints and 100mg of Tramadol eased the pain before I tried to work on my e-mail and pending needs on the computer but I woke up four hours later after falling asleep in the chair.  Finally crawled into bed around 4 a.m. and slept another five hours before hobbling downstairs to make some coffee.

My right ankle, still swollen, and stiffness in both my shoulder and upper arms, limited mobility so I stayed off my feet for the day  Managed to write a couple of articles and continue work on redesign and changes on Blue Ridge Muse.  I finally finished up the track stories and have a CD of 53 photos to drop off to Wanda Combs on Monday morning before I’m back before the docs to see what the hell is happening and what, if anything, will stop it.

Management consultant Jodie Eckleberry-Hunt recommends cussing as a way to deal with the pains of life. “Swear your way to sanity,” she says.  She writes:

Sometimes you may find yourself in a familiar fucked up situation, and you wonder where things went wrong. Other times you learned the lesson from the past, but now there is a new thorn — in your ass. Fuck. When is life going to get easy?

I hate to break the bad news to you. If you haven’t gotten the memo, life is messy. Humans are messy. It’s just the way it is. The only way to escape the pain of living life is if you die. Some days take more energy than others, but there will always be challenges. It’s like a pulse. The sooner you accept that (you don’t have to like it), the easier it is to handle.

Golden years my ass.  Pain in the ass is a better way to salute old age.  If cussing aids sanity, I’m on my way.

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