Friday, June 23, 2006

Health Warning

I have spent my whole life bouncing about in a fit and healthy state. In fact, my entire family has been remarkably fit and healthy, for which I am truely thankful. I have breezed through life believing that disprin can cure all, and if that didn't work then quite obviously major medical intervention was the alternative. I never believed my kids were sick until the school sent them home. Whenever they announced they were ailing, I checked to see if there was a test on that day. I have been a seriously tough mother! Ros and I spent many an hour discussing the fact that the older generation seemed obsessed with tablets, and doctor's appointments, and smugly declared that we, of course would not be like that when we were in our 70s and 80s. We were young, strong and invincible. 21Century superwomen. Of course. The arthritic hands were acceptable. That came from over use of course. But we were tough.

Oh Lord, have those assumptions ever come back to haunt me!! This is a warning to all of you who are young, fit and healthy. The day you turn 50 everything falls apart. Bits break. Things stop working. Your mind still thinks you are 29 but your body goes on strike. You start creaking, even if you go to gym. I look like a crone when I get out of a chair. A bulge appears where your waist used to be. This is particularly noticeable when you do up the seat belt in the car. Standing up and walking in jeans is perfect. Sitting is not an option. That bulge works its way north and you cease breathing. And the non bulging bits start drooping just to get in on the act.
If you are female, your 50th birthday is blessed by an invitation to have a mammogram. Such a kind and thoughtful present. I went, and was recalled for further tests, which mean you plan your funeral in 10 seconds after opening the letter. I was fine, I hasten to add, but I did enquire whether anyone had ever exploded during the process.

For someone who had never darkened the door of the doctor's surgery, becoming someone who suggested bringing a sleeping bag after about 16 visits in one week in a flash of an eye was and is hard to accept. I feel I should have a special chair reserved there for my personal use. From never having a prescription for medicine, to the pharmacist suggesting I take out a pre-pay plan because I needed a shopping bag for all the pills, is too big a shock. Everything takes longer to fix. I nearly had a panic attack last week when I discovered while at a party, that I had left my painkillers at home. I have become that older generation I referred to. Conversations start and end with how are you today? How is the head/ foot/ neck/back/stomach / stress etc etc. I cannot tell you how depressing it is. And it is self-perpetuating. You get more stressed just thinking about it all, therefore the blood pressure soars towards the stratosphere.........and off you go on the cycle again. Groan. And I will not discuss what happens to your short term memory either right now. That is worthy of a blog post of its own.

And it is not just me! Everyone sems to suddenly have developed high blood pressure / diabetes/wheat intolerance / bowel problems / kidney stones / gallstones / protein levels unlevel or heart problems. And the "you need to cut down your stress levels" generalisation drives me up the wall. I am 52. Of course I am stressed. I am alive. This is absolutely not an option. You go to the doctor for a check up, and then you are called back for blood tests, urine tests, monitoring, more blood tests and so it goes. I think it is a plot really. A conspiracy. I am quite happy not knowing if anything is wrong. When I grind to a total halt I will do something. Right now I just don't want to know.

So remember............ do NOT not go past 49. You will stay there and then nothing will break. I wonder if Boots still sells those little pill things which have days on so I don't forget what to take when.......

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