Mystery Visitor

I had some annual medical checkups recently, and I am happy to report I will be around for at least another year.  I signed up for my medical provider’s on-line medical records portal so that I could read my medical chart. I enjoy reading the nitty gritty of my lab reports and such, but I was shocked when I read a radiology report from a recent mammogram. There was a mystery woman described in the report .

“Patient is a 60 year old white female” the report starts.

Wait a minute, I thought.  Where did this 60 year old woman come from? How did she get into my radiology report? Get her out of here!  There’s no one that age around here. I’m not that old!  Well,  I was born in 1958, and I did have a birthday in February. . .But how can I be a 60 year old woman?

I don’t feel “old”. I feel like me, a little stiffer and quite a bit grayer than I used to be, but not old. I know that most of the Baboons are older than I am, but I don’t think of them as “old” either.

Maybe it is a family trait. One of my great aunts resisted  going to the nursing home when she was 95 because she “didn’t want to live with a bunch of deadbeats”.  My father was always proud of his volunteer work with RSVP.  He drove “the elderly” to their medical  appointments when they were unable to drive, and most were younger than he was.  Maybe it is all in how you see yourself?

What about aging has surprised you? What makes a person “old”?

 

 

49 thoughts on “Mystery Visitor”

        1. I had a physical a couple of weeks ago and when the nurse did my weight and height she looked at my thick-soled tennis shoes and said “how tall do you want to be”. Knowing full well that I’m just a smidge over 5’5″, I said “5’6”. That’s what she wrote down, so officially I’m getting taller!

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  1. My daughter and I had the pleasure of meeting Renee and her husband for brunch a year ago. They are very attractive people who seemed to be about 50, maybe a year or two more.

    When my erstwife was pregnant with our daughter, she was 27. During a routine checkup she glanced at the doctor’s notes and saw herself described as an “elderly primagravida.” That stung!

    What makes one feel old? Medical problems. At 68 I felt strong and youthful. A year later I felt old. Was old.

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    1. Sandy gave first birth at age 30 in 1970. They put up several red flags on her chart, but she carried several chronic health issues into the pregnancy.

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    2. I think most of the baboons who attend the Blevins Book Club meetings also met Renee and her husband when they attended a meeting sometime in the fall.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I was up most of the night with a distraught wife. In the evening she was forced to admit the degree of her confusion and turned over money management to me. For her this is hard core old age to face. By fortune she has an appointment with her neurologist tomorrow, who will not blink about addressing the issue.
    I, on the other hand, now have a task to face which matches my skills poorly. I gave more than adequate math skills but have more skills of attending to details and doing repetitive tasks with care.

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  3. The thing that has surprised me this winter is that suddenly I am unable to keep warm. I’m always the one saying it’s too hot in here, let’s turn down the thermostat. Not anymore. My hands and feet turn white, I will probably be still wearing long underwear when it’s 75 degrees out, I may never open another window in case I get chilled, it takes me forever to warm up in bed…you get the idea.

    What really frightens me about this is that, you know when there is a warmish spring day and I would be wearing either no jacket or just a light one and I’d be thinking how fantastic it felt to be outside in the warm weather, then I would see this old woman wearing a heavy coat, hat, gloves, etc. and I would be totally blown away by this. How on EARTH could this person stand to be so bundled up like that on such a beautiful day? What is WRONG with her? AM I GOING TO TURN INTO ONE OF THOSE OLD LADIES? EEEK!!!

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        1. I hate to tell you this, but one of the things you lose as you age is comfort. Young people don’t even think about comfort. It isn’t an issue. As you get older, comfort becomes more and more a goal that eludes you. You try harder and harder to get comfortable, succeeding less and less.

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    1. ljb, if your extremities truely turn white and numb when it’s not supercold, you might have Reynaud’s Syndrome (or phenomenon). It’s a sudden “contracting” of the capillaries in your fingers and toes that can lead to frostbite symptoms, even though the temp might be well above freezing. I’ve had it for a few years now and it’s rather annoying, although happens infrequently. You might want to check it out if the white fingers and toes keep recurring.

      I noticed a strange rash on a finger one winter that kept spreading, so I went to my doc and he said, after a quick examination, “Frostbite.” It was winter, but I hadn’t chilled my fingers any more than normal, but he confirmed frostbite and gave me some cream to apply. Got that same rash again a few months ago but I’m sure I didn’t expose my fingers to extreme cold. Gettin’ old sucks in so many ways. 😦 Good luck and I hope it ISN’T Reynaud’s.

      Chris

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  4. I remember seeing the doctor chart and it stating “51 yr old male” and I honestly didn’t remember I was 51. That hurt too.
    53 and counting…

    Got a senior discount on popcorn at the movies last weekend. First, I was surprised it was that cheap. Then I feigned that I was aghast when the kid said he gave me the senior discount.
    Next I’ll be headed for the early bird special!

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  5. Rise and Shine Baboons!

    I am back in town. Yippee.

    Every time we exited the car to have a break, I would try to straighten up and take a short walk around the car. My joints resisted this and insisted on a slower unbending. Uff da. All I wanted to do was stand up.

    Must be the aging thing.

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  6. You think 60 is a jolt, wait till you hit 70, Renee. So far the big surprises are looking in the mirror and trying to fathom who that might be. The sore hip joints after too much dancing, but that comes and goes, and I just have to stay aware.

    The week before I got this flu virus, I was busy morning noon and night for 7 straight days. I don’t usually pack it in like that, and it may be why I was more vulnerable than usual. Guess I may have to pay more attention to over-scheduling… at this age. Sigh.

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    1. A hint for BiR. People who look into mirrors are gonna suffer. I quit looking long ago and can now say I have no idea what I look like because I haven’t looked into a mirror in about five years. This got funny when I had plastic surgery to correct a drooping eyelid. Doctors kept asking whether things were looking better or worse. I think they didn’t believe me when I said I had no idea. 🙂

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      1. The thing that disturbs me is that the face I routinely see in the mirror is not the same face I see in photographs of myself. I’m not sure why thaat is. I know what I see in the mirror is reversed but why does the photographic face look older?

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        1. Here’s a Ted Talk that explains why photographs often don’t do a good job of showing a person the way we see them in real life. Thanks to Steve for sharing this with me in the first place.

          I found this fascinating.

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  7. It’s insidiousness. Getting old attacks on twenty-seven different fronts, 24/7. Joints, eyesight, hearing, sensitivity to cold and hot, reduced endurance, droopy skin, wrinkles, thinning hair, reduced agility and balance, calling people “whippersnappers” and “young punks.” realizing the music you grew up to has been golden oldies for 50 freakin’ years, daily-if not hourly-senior moments, etc., etc., etc.

    Chris in O-town

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  8. I could make multiple comments on every post here. Which is depressing in its own way.

    I dated a woman after my divorce who had an elderly mother (probably in her mid-80s). We visited her once and had an extended conversation about whether she should sell her home and move into an apartment. She hated the idea of moving. But the last winter had been terribly hard for her, and she wasn’t able to cope with home maintenance as she once could.

    That discussion became an epiphany for me. I suddenly saw the aging process as it is experienced. On one level, she was dealing with pain, clumsiness, low energy and things like that. One another level, she was contending with changes in her ability to do things. Change is always confusing, but especially changes in your body, and especially changes that involve losing abilities to cope.

    My girlfriend’s mother dreaded the coming another winter like the last one. What she probably saw and was afraid to say was that the odds were good that the next winter would be harder because she would be older.

    There are benefits to aging. You are spared some unpleasant things like mowing lawns or commuting to a job. You have tons of time for reading. I try to be upbeat, but parts of the experience of aging are hard to take with good humor.

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  9. One of the things that has surprised me about aging is the fact that the person that lives inside my head is much younger than the person I see in the mirror. When I think back on my childhood and youth, most adults, regardless of their age, seemed old to me. When doing the math now, I realize that most of these “old people” were in their forties at the time.

    Fortunately I’ve always liked “old people,” and have spent a fair amount of time with some who were older – as in over 75. The common denominator for those that I have found to be good company is an ongoing curiosity about life and about others. Etna and Eleanor at 98 and 95, respectively, were fun to be with because their minds were active and curious, even as their bodies became frail and vulnerable.

    A lot of healthy aging depends on your attitude. If you spend more time worrying and fussing about the things you can no longer do, as opposed to celebrating and doing the things that you can, life will be a drag. Sometimes a small shift in perspective is all it takes. Time and again I am struck by the realization that I’m still learning, and for that I’m grateful.

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  10. OT – Singalongs at the DAC! (Danish American Center)

    Dan Chouinard “Minnesota’s Accompanist” is leading a new program of singalongs in the DAC atrium! The first one is Monday April 2nd at 7:00 p.m. followed by another on April 30th.

    Dan Chouinard is well known for his appearances on MPR and as an accompanist to many local performers. His singalongs happen twice a month, one in St. Paul and one in Minneapolis, and now a third has been added at the DAC! Dan calls himself an enabler of community singalongs and his programs have a loyal following, including some DAC members who rave about how much fun they are.

    With the lyrics projected on a screen, Dan leads the singing from the piano and everybody follows. These programs are free and open to all with a free will donation, so come and join your friends for a rousing songfest!

    For more information about Dan and his singalongs, you can check Dan’s calendar page at: danchouinard.com/calendar

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I may have said this before but when I turned 55 I sent my mother a sympathy card. On the inside I wrote “sorry you have a daughter old enough to get the senior discount at Perkins”.

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    1. I have been preparing for this day for two years. I did it about as well as I could. She in the end is handling it. I am five years younger, so we have always assumed I would end up more in this role at some point, what with all her health issues. She told each of our kids her story.

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  12. One of my occasional gigs is as a sketch artist for General Mills. I sit in on sessions where a group of product managers and sundry personnel are tasked with coming up with new product ideas or new variations on existing products. It’s my role in these sessions to sketch the concepts so that the written concept has a visual counterpart. Unspoken in the transaction is that often the visual representation is more concept laden than the original written one, in part because the visual requires specificity that the written one can gloss over and in part because I have been dealing with General Mills products since before most of these participants were born. These product managers have gone to very good schools and, having been selected from myriad applicants to their positions bask in their accomplishment and feel the need to ‘splain things to me. As far as I can discern, they never notice the extent to which I have dignified their lame concepts.

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    1. This is not an era that recognizes what experience can do, what the trained eye, mind, and hand can see and do. As a child I knew so many older men who had a long lifetime of experience to see the fault, find the simple solution, carry on no matter what, work in harmony. I did not pay that much attention but as I wrote about that era I remembered what I had witnessed. I hold a grudge about how the about to retire great teachers were not applauded. I saw so much time tempered wisdom and sometimes genius in teachers I met, but to say that always brought upon me stories of bad teachers.

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  13. Over the years I’ve related stories starting with the phrase “One of the girls I work with…” It occurs to me now that it’s getting harder to justify the term “girls” when many of us in the flower shop office are 60-ish, and some have grandchildren. I used to think it was kind of silly when older women used the term “girls” to refer to themselves. But that’s the sort of thing that creeps up on you, along with creaky joints and an inability to focus on small print.

    One of my friends used to sometimes recall things that happened “the other day, ten years ago” only now it’s “the other day, 35 years ago”.

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  14. I recall a line from a short story, I think it was by Alice Adams, in which she describes a character as feeling “as though youth were a club from which he had been unfairly excluded.” I can relate to that.

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