Sunday, February 2, 2014

The Eden of Old Age

Storm Clouds on the Horizon
When does the tag "Old Age" start? It it a definite statement of fact, or is it something that is neither there nor here?  
            My initiation into old age, was when I started the university. I was 40. I had seven children, 19 to 12 years of age, and I was a working mom. I had just given my children a camping trip of 4 months on bicycles. After that trip,  I had the crazy idea I wanted to go to school again. After talking it over with the children, they agreed that I should go if I really wanted to, so I registered at the university.
             I was of the mistaken belief that the university meant I could do research. However, the rules said I had to do the preliminary stuff first. History, Geography, Oceanography, Geology, Astronomy, English, Oh, and Philosophy.  I started with History and Philosophy. Neither one interested me in the least. Get them out of the way and struggle on with the others.
            It was not long into Philosophy when I discovered that one could make white mean black and visa-versa. I did not like the mathematical symbols used to prove such nonsense and although I passed the class, I thought little more about it.
           My past classes with history, were dates and wars; so I decided it should be one of the first classes I would need to ignore, just like Philosophy. The only thing wrong with that conclusion was that it did not hold water, since the first class consisted of historic books that the professor thought was more important than the dates themselves.
           I did two papers, neither was approved by the teacher. I had given the wrong conclusions. I was told that the source of Utopia was NOT a well-known country anywhere in the world, and the second: book I decided to read was NOT written by a white man. Well, I survived that class also.

          There was a minor detail in my life at that time. I had a series of headaches. Three of them, several, each several weeks apart, were diagnosed as: probably the flu; just an inner ear problem, and the last, "I don't know what it is, but here is a pill to stop the nausea."  OK,  they did not know what it was.  Maybe the university doctors would know. There definition of the problem was migraine headaches. but they gave me a run for my money and I had a series of tests on my head. None of which helped. [Did I mention that because a motorcycle was cheap transportation to and from school, I carried my helmet with its clear face-guard into the each of those university exams?] Nothing was conclusive at that point, and I was given a tiny white pill for the latest headache.OMG. Was I kidding? 
           That little pill, Ok, so although I only ordered two pills from the pharmacy, I decided one little pill could not hurt. So, after buying my daughter a birthday present, I went grocery shopping and took one as I was browsing the fresh produce. Got home, decided to take the present to her after putting the groceries away. And off  I went on my cycle. I reached her house, just as she was pulling away from the house and about to turn a corner. And then the pill hit like a ton of bricks. I pulled a sheet down from her porch railing and sprawled out on her porch. I lay there until I felt a bit better and since there was a guy washing his car across the street, I asked if I could call the doctor.
            He agreed and when I got the doctor, I asked what he had given me. His answer was "I thought you were going home and going to bed." " What? I have seven children. I NEVER go to bed with a headache!"
           This was my first clue that I was getting old. Anyone over 40 does not have a headache, they always have migraines. Don't treat anything else.

            To make matters worse, I had a small stroke when I purchased a\cup of coffee out of a machine that first year. Suddenly, without any thought, I crushed the paper cup I held in my hand, and burned my hand with the hot liquid. The doctor was very nice about it and said I needed an EKG. Well, that was different. After the exam, I asked the doctor what the EKG showed. "Oh, nothing, you have to be having a stroke in order for it to show anything."  

            "But I can no longer type. When I start to type one word, I get only the first letter, the rest can be any other word in the dictionary that I might know. I did have a stroke of some sort." The reply: "Not necessarily. You are just having normal typos. I do that also."

             I spent more than two months teaching myself to type properly again. I had to spell out loud the words that I really wanted to type and place each finger deliberately on the proper key. The process worked to my advantage. I managed to ace 95 wpm in a later typing test.  So much for doctors. After 40 there are no other problems than migraines. Has anyone else found this to be true?

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