Wednesday, January 20, 2010


When you're issued The Life Manual -- you got yours, right? -- the authors do a halfway decent job of preparing you for childhood accidents involving both bodily fluids and skinned knees; adolescent angst and awkwardness; hating your parents just because you hate everyone due to your adolescent angst and awkwardness; getting a job; getting another job; getting a job that finally fits; flirting; dating; falling in love; and, finally, accepting your limitations and learning to live with them.

Why the hell, then, did they skip the chapter where your body starts falling apart when you turn 50?

Much as I like to joke around here, this is no joke. Not even a gay-ish "prostate exam"/ "colonoscopy" type of joke; both -- by the way -- recommended for men annually after they turn 50. Go figure.

I turned 50 just over 13 months ago. I was healthy enough for the first 600 months -- a bout of hepatitis (errr... my bad) and mild psoriasis (yay for dad's genes!) -- but otherwise I've been all right. The the last 13 months, however, have been a bitch: shingles; hives; a nasty fall (okay, maybe my clumsiness was a contributing factor); a few snips of random skin growths; two major sinus infections; and -- now -- my second go-around with some weird-ass stomach-cramping infection that has put me on a liquid diet. Three visits to my GP; two to my dermatologist; and four to my ENT.

I have an ENT? WTF?!! I'm only 51! I'm still vibrant! And no one told me this shit was all going to come down at such a young age!

Actually, that isn't true: I was told it would happen. My brother, who is a doctor -- although his son says he's not a real doctor, just an eye doctor, he's an opthalmalogist, meaning real doctor (six-year-olds can be cruel) -- and I discussed this almost two years ago, when our mother died. These bodies we have are frail vessels, and not built for the long haul. Every now and then, one will get to 100 (and how old is Betty White, by the way?) but basically we all have the same shoddy mechanics, which is why we start falling apart at a certain point.

My Brother the Doctor, let me note, is only 40. Easy for him to say. (bitch!) I hope to talk to him in 10 years and ask how his colonoscopy was.

But, for now, I am ending Day 3 of my Ensure Diet, struggling through another minor health glitch, and really, really praying that it doesn't get worse at 60. Because I am all about keeping my expectations reasonable these days.

So... anyone want to grab a burger while I stare at it?