Liz Swain 4:24 p.m., May 24
Lately, I've noticed that my body just ain't what it used to be. Hip pains, back pains, who does it think it belongs to, my grandmother? I am not supposed to get old, that particular fact of life is supposed to happen to everybody else, not me. While walking last night (and hoping to avoid the mountain lion running loose) my hip and back were killing me. I remember the days not so long ago, when I walked for four hours while volunteering at the county animal shelter in Carlsbad. Those days are gone forever...
But whenever I get sad about being fifty-three and not twenty, I think of the people I've known who have passed on and I realize the alternative is much worse. When I was taking care of the elderly, Mrs. R. was my favorite client. She reminded me of my grandmother who had died a year earlier, right down to the basket beside her recliner that contained her scissors, a magnifying glass, and her favorite magazines. On my fiftieth birthday, I was feeling particularly depressed. In my mind, life was over. And then I found out that the doctor had recently told Mrs. R. that she was going to die.
"I'm eighty-four and I guess it's over," she said sadly. "How old are you?"
"Today is my fiftieth birthday, and I've been dreading it," I replied.
"Oh, I'd give anything to be that age again."
Whenever I feel sad about getting older, I think of Mrs. R. and how much she'd love to be my age again, no matter how old that is. I'm still better off than where she is today.
My old dog, Bliss, and I started the day with a bowl of oatmeal. Neither one of us liked it. And as the day progressed, I split everything I ate with her, which killed two birds with one stone because not only did I get healthier, but I finally found some things that she'll eat. At thirteen, she has lost her appetite.
I've never been one to eat a whole cake at once, I am what is known as a "nipper." I eat a little of everything throughout the day. And as Dr. K. says, "junk food is everywhere." When I told him I was embarrassed about my weight, he patted his gut and said that the girls were "always bringing in cupcakes and other stuff" and he just couldn't leave it alone.
I thought he ought to tell them not to bring it. After all, it is a doctor's office and they are supposed to promote good health and not cupcake eating. But for once, I didn't say what I was thinking. Dr. K may be weak, but he has a good heart.