Last week, I had a scare. Maybe scare isn’t the right word.
It was more like an incident that made me angry enough to realize that I’m really not good with limitations that may influence how I live. Allow me to explain.
Last week, I experienced a little discomfort. To be exact, I had a pain on my left side, right under my armpit. Let me first say, I’m not the best patient. I’m actually a bit of a curmudgeon when it comes to being sick, or having to go to the doctor or hospital.
So when the episode was occurring, the former, “oh-I-will-be-fine” me, would have ignored it. But the mature, aware “me” that knows what can happen when people ignore the signs, decided to have it checked. Besides, having my co-workers hate me for having to scrape me off the floor—should I pass out—was not an option.
I went to the medical department. And after the poking, prodding, and wading through the five inches of grass that had grown beneath my black bow flats, I had to endure an embarrassing ride to the hospital by way of an ambulance. (I’m not good with unnecessary attention, either) Oh, the pain.
Two EKGs later, I was given a green light that all things were normal. No, heart attack or stroke.
After plopping my cantankerous butt in the car, I drove home with my oldest offspring following close behind. Like any good daughter, she left work to be with me and to listen to my constant grumbling, “I don’t want to go the hospital. I’m okay.”
She looked at me and asked, “Is this what I have to look forward to when you’re older?”
“Damn straight,” I told her. She shook her head and laughed. But after all was said and done, I was relieved that everything was okay.
The next day, I followed up with my doctor. (See? I care about me!) I told him everything that happened and he said, “To be safe, he wanted me to see a cardiologist.” I grimaced. But I knew he had a point. He wanted to rule out everything. Okay, fine. I can do that.
Then he proceeds to justify his recommendation by adding, “You know you have a few risk factors here: “You’re over 50 …”
(Stop here and insert expletives that would make a sailor take notes AND give you a high-five)
Call me high-strung. But by the time he finished with his rationale, I felt as though I had one foot in the grave and the other in quick sand. My immortality was slowly being flushed down the toilet, and for a moment, I felt as though the best of my life was over.
I was furious. Okay, let’s keep it real, shall we? I was pissed.
Don’t get me wrong. I value medical advice, and I know all about risk factors. But don’t tell me because of my age I’m more likely to suffer a heart attack or stroke. I’ve known healthy people in their 30s and 40s, who have suffered heart attacks. Don’t put a number on it.
Still huffing and puffing, I shared what my doctor said with a friend at work. She thought it was ironic that I should tell this story at that very moment. Apparently, on Facebook, the night before, she said someone referred to a 61-year old woman, as “elderly” and the stream of comments such as “Since when is 61 elderly?” went flying. People were in an uproar.
And rightly so. Don’t they know 60 is the new 50?”
Perhaps at one time, when I was growing up, (Yes, I’m a Baby Boomer), 60 might have been considered elderly, because the life expectancy in the USA wasn’t has high as it is today. But haven’t they heard that people, with proper diet and exercise, are living long, productive and fulfilling lives?
Didn’t they hear Carrie in, “Sex and the City 2,” propose a, “To Fifty and Fabulous” toast to Samantha on her birthday?
Okay, I will admit I need to exercise more, and cut back on the gummy bears, and I will. But, come on! Don’t try to scare the crap out of me! My great-grandmother lived to be 96. So, take that “over 50” rationale and shove it. Longevity is in the genes.
I will see the cardiologist and do what needs to be done, if anything. After all, I’m gearing up for the second half of my life and the last thing I need is to be limited in what I do. I have books to write, a grandson to spoil, a dog to take long walks with, a trip to Italy to plan with my sisters, and a Zumba class to take without consulting with my doctor.
Oh, and I’d like to see someone tell Betty White (I want to be like her when I grow up!) that she’s too old, and then take her on in a game of touch football. That would be something else. 😉
Pfft. I’m done venting. Going to watch Golden Girls.