How old are you?
Or rather, how old do you feel?
I have always felt a couple of decades younger than my biological age, until sometime in the past year. The switch was gradual, but undeniable. Activities that I had always taken for granted started getting increasingly difficult and painful. Suddenly words like I ache in the places that I used to play made perfect sense to me.
But my medical parameters of health have always been solid. Those annual tests were a mere formality. I may have been getting creaky, but I was damned healthy.
And then last week I failed my first ever bone density exam. I knew I should have studied; I could have at least faked my way through the essay question.
It came as a bit of a shock, and suddenly I felt every single one of my misspent years. With this coming on the heels of the Spousal Unit's current health issues, I felt a little betrayed by the body I always considered, if not incorruptible, then certainly robust for the foreseeable future. And I'm not the only one. I've noticed that when I talk to my siblings on the phone lately, one of the first things we discuss is our latest health betrayal.
I did eventually snap out of the bout of self-pity enough to realize that it was up to me to adjust to the new reality of life inside this shell and to work even harder to make it as strong as possible. This was no time to lie down and give in to the ravages of cell biology.
But sitting down and calculating my calcium and vitamin D intake made me realize something about the elderly, about why they are so obsessed with their aches and pains. The reason that failing health is by far the most popular topic of conversation amongst the geriatric set is because nobody expects it to happen to them, and nobody expects it to take up so much time and attention. I have two degrees in physiology and it was still challenging to come up with an exercise and supplement plan to combat this bone mass loss.
I can only imagine how confusing and frustrating all this aging is to someone without a science background.