Chronic life

Now, if I were to, one more time, remark on how the crinkling my face does when I laugh has now become permanent and thus, can now be officially called wrinkles, I would only be stating the obvious. But it seems that there are now other things that are also here to stay.

30 years ago I slipped on ice and tore a ligament off of the ankle bone to which it had been attached. A surgeon went in and stapled it back in place and after hobbling around with a plaster cast on my leg for 6 weeks, I was as good as new. The experience was momentary and singular. And I got to keep a plaster, leg shaped object with friends’ funny comments on it to remember the incident.

Three days before I was supposed to leave on an airplane to America with my 6 month old son, I pulled my back out. After an emergency hobble over to a chiropractor who spent an hour cracking my back into shape, I was good as new.

10 years ago I cracked a few ribs when I fell against a pile of floor boards while working to build our new summer house. But after a few weeks of always making sure I had a pillow close at hand when needing to cough, I was good as new.

But now it seems that getting good as new is getting harder and harder to get. That stiff ache I feel in my back keeps coming back no matter how many times I go to the chiropractor. It never really seems to go away. And let’s not get me started on the way my shoulders and neck feel. I’ve had all my thumbs and knees x-rayed and now its official. The cartilage is wearing thin. That’s the reason my thumb hurts when I try to open a jar and why staircases are not my favorite direction to go.

I’ve become chronic. Along with the wrinkles and the sagging upper arms, the various aches and pains are here to stay. I take gluclosamine every day for the aching joints. I don’t know if it helps. It certainly isn’t making me good as new. Just taking vitamin C when you have a cold doesn’t seem to be enough now either. I should be taking a whole lot of other pills too: B vitamins to give me more energy, E vitamins for my heart, calcium to keep my bones from dissolving away, and of course the good old fashioned garlic is still on the list. You can get it in pill form nowadays so you don’t have to actually eat it. I wonder if you still smell like garlic if you just take the pills. I have friends who are a bit older than me who take a whole pile of little (and some not so little) pills for breakfast every day. I don’t know if it actually helps them. They still seem pretty worn out, bent over, slow moving and tired to me.

So what is there left to do? If the old body shop fixer-uppers are no longer able to make this old chassis as good as new then I guess this is as good as it gets. I looked up the word Chronic on today. The first definition was: constant, habitual. The second definition was: continuing a long time or recurring frequently. I like these definitions. They seem to sum up what I’ve been feeling lately.

I no longer henna my hair occasionally because I just wanted to add a touch more red to it. I do it to help myself forget all the grey that’s there. I no longer just take an aspirin to get rid of that headache. I take Diclofenac so I can get through the day without my knees reminding me of their existence every time I stand up. And in addition to vitamin C during cold season I’m swallowing glocosamine every day now. I’m pretty sure none of these things are making me as good as new anymore. But they are becoming a pretty constant part of my life. They probably are here to stay and I hope they stay a long time. I guess this is as good as it gets when life becomes chronic.

2 Responses to “Chronic life”

  • Alison Says:

    Nope, there is no more “good as new.” But there is “good enough.” (Or do I mean “still alive”?) I don’t think pills will do as much for us as a good diet and some exercise when possible. Meanwhile, as body parts start to fall off every time I turn around, I like to focus on the good part – retirement is within view!

  • Claris Says:

    I’m sporting the “Forest Gump” model knee brace myself these days! (And a nice little wrist support band when I type on the computer!)

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