Thursday, 15 December 2011

Old Age - a preview

It started last year with a pain in my foot. After much hobbling and cursing, slight improvements and much relapsing I was finally diagnosed with something that sounded like a right-wing regime in a southern US state: Plantar Fasciitis.

Not for me delicate, feminine afflictions, say tension headaches or anorexia. No, Sir! Extrapolating from the GP's vague words I had been hit by what fat people get when they pathetically decide to exercise while still carrying around their huge, flabby hulk.

After getting expensively fitted with special insoles for my shoes (one type for the running shoes, one type for flat city shoes etc ) the pain got better and eventually disappeared. I was able to resume the regime of huffing and puffing and sweating profusely in lycra garments that keeps me looking so good (what is your secret??).

Now the pain is back. Having just finished a wonderful non-fiction book about cancer, The Emperor of all Maladies, I'm keeping my options open but on balance I think it might be the Fasciitis again.

I'm back to shuffling slowly and wincing visibly with pain whenever I get up, sit down, shift weight from one foot to the other, walk or stand still.

The pain makes me tired and the slowness means I do only a fraction of what I would normally (although mild-mannered intellectual husband claims that most of my kinetic activity generates more heat than light, I still consider this a result! in these times of precarious energy supply).

I find myself calculating the cost effectiveness (or pain/slowness to accomplishment ratio) of any activity - the extra three steps to look into a colleague's office, the walk to the cafeteria - and obsess about how long it will take me and whether I will have the sheer strength to go from A to B.

Your thoughts turn inwards - piloting your body like a battered battleship is all you have energy for. You look at people running up a flight of stairs, jogging, kids skipping down the street with fascination and nostalgia. Oh, yes, you remember that....but you live in another country now.

I have the sneaking suspicion this is what old age will feel like, but applied across the board, from hearing to sex , to digestion - a great huge list of stuff you cannot do anymore, can do but slowly and painfully, could do but it's hardly worth the bother these days. Plenty of wincing and moaning. A creeping bitterness and annoyance at the rest of the world: everyone else seems so strong, brash, loud and in a hurry- what's the hurry? Where is everyone going?

This is it, I've reached the base camp of old age. The long ascent towards oblivion and death begins. Fascist southern foot permitting,

1 comment:

  1. Damn! I had a dodgy foot recently and exactly the same thoughts went through my mind. The difference being that you say it, and say it so well. Foot's better, by the way, since you ask. Sometimes you just have to go to the doctor. (Something else old people do, of course.)