Challenges of an aging carcass

AT 73, I FIND myself faced with challenges.

bodyGetting older is an interesting process. I do not recommend it, but it is interesting. It only recently began to pummel me. That began at 73. It will, of course, vary with other individuals.

Up until 73, there were physical changes, but they were almost entirely a reduction in energy, nothing extreme but noticeable. I passed my 73rd in August, and that’s when things racheted up a few nasty notches.

First the foot problem, which I wrote about last September. That appears to be permanent. It’s only an issue for about a minute after I stand up after being seated a spell, but I’ll never again be able to flee from someone or something chasing me. With an ax or an appetite.

I am easily nabbed now.

Then there was the back issue, which I wrote about last month. Not the first time I’ve suffered that problem, but it’s never lasted so long, a tad over two weeks of Hell. Usually, it self-cures in four to five days. Big difference.

It was the back issue that knocked me upside the head.

I had been getting lazier by the day, and that needed to change.

For decades, I’ve done regular, moderate exercise, and I eat healthy. For these reasons I have been svelte for almost 40 years. But my regular, moderate exercise had been very gradually diminishing. I knew I had to change my habits.

Old routine: 20-minute, brisk, morning walk around the neighborhood plaza Monday-Friday. I often cheated on the frequency. And I have a home gym set, a big fancy one I bought about decade ago. I was doing a 10-minute weight routine three mornings a week. Again, cheating was not unknown.

New routine: 20-minute, brisk, morning walk around the neighborhood plaza Monday-Friday with no more cheating on the frequency. A second brisk walk around the big plaza downtown following my afternoon coffee. Weight routine on the gym set every weekday morning. No cheating allowed. Yoga. Well, that’s what I call it, but it’s actually two sets of stretching, one in the morning, one in the late afternoon. Weekends off.

I was losing my flexibility to a notable degree. Thus the stretching, which helps a lot.

I’ll close now with the following words from Welsh poet Dylan Thomas. The “good night” being, well, you know …

44 thoughts on “Challenges of an aging carcass

  1. I am a few months older than you(turn 74 in April). I have similar issues and they are not fun when they develop. I used to walk and chew gum at the same time. Now I have to choose one.

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  2. I am a child compared to you, merely 69 next week, but I abused my body for decades with contact sports, skiing and anything else you can do to injure ankles and knees. Last year I started taking Curcumin (standardized to 95%), which is Turmeric. Since then, much fewer aches and pains, and no arthritic attacks on my joints.

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    1. Kris: I had no idea what curcumin, standardized to 95%, means, so I did an internet search. I have two websites where I buy vitamins. One is Naturallya and the other is Biovea. The first had no idea what it was, but Biovea did. I put it on my Favorites list for future purchase. We’ll see how that goes.

      Thanks, young feller.

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  3. I have noticed a rapid decline in my energy the past year or so, so much that I now enjoy a nap in the afternoons, or I will fall asleep in my comfy chair by the fireplace at night. I saw a TV program a while ago and purchased a DVD called Classical Stretch — Age Reversing Workouts for Beginners: Mobility & Bone Strengthening by Miranda Esmonde-White. She is an old lady and does a good job of showing the kind of exercises that old folks should be doing.
    My main problem is that my brain has not caught up with what my body is capable of doing. That may be a blessing in disguise. Aches and pains, one way at least to know you are still alive!

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    1. Tancho: Aches and pains are a good way to know you’re alive. I like that. However, I’d prefer other ways to know I’m alive, less-painful ways. I’m gonna take a look at that DVD now that I’ve started stretching. Thanks.

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    1. Señor Cotton: Reducing your walking is a good idea. What you were doing — if we can believe you walked 20 miles a day and were not simply hallucinating — was absurd and likely counterproductive, health-wise. Now behave yourself.

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  4. You are a couple of months older but I think we are degrading on the same scale. I get a good workout when the grandkids visit but it takes two days after they leave to recover.

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    1. Carole: “degrading on the same scale.” Oh, dear. As for grandkids, I have none, so I don’t have to recover from them. Wish I did have some, however. You are fortunate.

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      1. I tell myself, when they are here ripping around at warp speed, that I am way too old to have grandchildren this young. There are two 3-year-olds and a 9-year-old. Two families that show up here at the same time.

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  5. I feel better already, having read the above list of maladies of the aged. Never mind. I have most of those problems and more. Just glad I can still get up every morning.

    Keep on trucking, aged ones.

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    1. Peggy: I’ve been watching Netflix and eating a salad, and now I’m going to bed too. It’s almost 10 p.m. You’ve been in bed for quite a spell. Quite early for a grownup.

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  6. I believe I am two or three days older than you. I feel fine. The doctor says I will die, but I am postponing that as long as I can. There are a lot of things my mind wants to do, but my body says “Just sit here.” I will enjoy this comfy chair and think about the world. Exercise is for someone else.
    Death is the last great adventure. I hope I don’t sleep through it.

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  7. You are in a much better condition than my husband and I at 73 and 71. We have pretty much eaten what we wanted and are probably paying for it now. There is no reason to give everything up now. The damage is done. It would be like the stupid oncologist who told my mother-in-law to give up all salt and sugar once he found that she had lymphoma in all of her bones. Why would she not enjoy the rest of the time she had? With treatment, she had 6 months left. We saw to it, she had a good time.

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    1. Beverly: I followed along via Facebook during your recent long stay in Puerto Vallarta. You look to be in good shape though I know you have some issues. Forgive my pointing this out, but your husband has a significant weight issue, of course. If he reduced that somewhat he would feel so much better. I was 50 pounds heavier in 1980 than I am now. I changed my eating habits and slowly dropped the weight over about a year, and never put it back on. It’s not that hard, just a matter of changing your habits in food and activity. It’s not necessary to suffer to do that. You can still enjoy eating. The real stumbling block is changing habits, which isn’t easy to do. Altering habits is a real bugaboo.

      As for that oncologist, he does sound like a blockhead. Good that you folks ignored him.

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      1. You were kind to mention that my husband appeared to be overweight and did not mention, I was overweight as well! At the point we were in Mexico, he had lost 30 lbs and had about 28 more lbs to get to HIS chosen weight. Old habits are hard to break. Good habits are hard for us to create. I believe we would be better off in Mexico, as we walked so much. We are back to walking to the car now. Neither of us have lost one lb since we got back from Mexico. In fact, to tell the truth, I am seeing a couple more. 😩

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        1. Truth be told, Beverly, you looked pretty much normal in those photos. Now the two of you get out there every morning and walk 10 minutes, turn around and come home, another 10 minutes. Twenty minutes total. It ain’t hard. Take weekends off.

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  8. This last year, my energy level has left the building, somewhat like Elvis. The knees have given up hope. If I were a religious man, kneeling would be out of the question. There would be standing prayers. All the years of playing contact sports have taken their toll and they’re giving nothing back. Afternoon naps are a necessity of life now. Before attempting new projects, I calculate whether they can be accomplished. My beautiful daughter calls me an Old Man at times. I hate that, but I suppose it’s true. They say a North American man ends his life cycle somewhere between 80 and 82, sobering thought.

    My ex-mother-in-law just turned 98. She is confined to a wheelchair. I saw her yesterday, mind is still sharp but her body has all but ceased to function. I would not like to live like that. I am driving to Mexico on Sunday. My daughter is having fits, probably my last run at it, and that bothers me somewhat. But be of Whole Heart, my friend, you are taking steps to do the right things, walking, eating right, good mindset and you have yet to do the “Geezer Shuffle.”

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    1. Bob: Actually, I think your taking off on the Mexican journey is admirable. Towing the motorcycle behind? I hope you’re not coming astride it from Canada. If you are towing it, don’t let it fall on you when you take it off the trailer. That might be the end of you, and I’d have to notify your daughter.

      As for the Geezer Shuffle, I think I might do it for a few moments now and then. Ain’t life grand?

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  9. These comments are encouraging. Despite the long list of issues for Don Felipe and these aged commenters, each and every one seems to have a quite positive view of the life being lived and the universe around us all. Saludos to the group.

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    1. Ricardo: I myself am quite happy despite being a pessimist by nature. Kinda contradictory.

      Your comment went to moderation again, and all your info is correct. Got no idea why it did that that. Maybe due to returning to the original data. High technology, gotta love it.

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    1. How right you are, Andy! Thanks for pointing it out. I’ll change it in the post. Actually, just this morning there was a little birdie in my brain questioning this very thing. Obviously, the birdie did not sing loud enough to spur me to further investigation.

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    1. YaYa Girl: I (ahem!) prefer to think of it as great with or without the help of Dylan Thomas. And I don’t write essays. You’re thinking of Señor Cotton. He writes “essays.” I write posts, a more humble way of looking at the situation.

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    2. YaYa Girl: When my family moved to New Orleans in 1965, my father was 50 years old. It was before he quit drinking, and he often would sit morose in the living room (upstairs apartment of an Uptown duplex on Audubon Street) and listen to a recording of Dylan Thomas reading this very poem.

      It stuck with me.

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  10. After a brief review of the above comments, I would like to post a few thoughts of one who has entered his 80th year. As you probably already know, it does not get better! I now sport two hearing aids that are only marginally helpful. I just acquired a second hip prosthesis, so now am bilateral on new hips. (I had the recent one done in Querétaro at significantly less cost and, all in all, a better experience than the one in the states five years ago, but more about that later in another post if you are interested).

    My greatest problem now is balance. Seems to be related to hearing loss (inner ear has a lot to do with balance) and a very mild nonspecific neuropathy in my feet. I do not use a cane yet, but must be very careful when ambulating. Sometimes I think I am a fall waiting to happen! Above my neck, I seem to be hanging in there (no pun intended). Short-term memory is declining as expected but otherwise things seem good. Energy level definitely low and exercise limited to walking

    Now to sum up: It ain’t perfect, but it ain’t bad! So hang in there. And finally three bits of advice:

    1. Never trust a fart.
    2. Never waste an erection.
    3. hmmmmm, can’t remember the third one!

    Cheers from the 8th decade.

    Memo

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    1. Dr. Memo! Long time, no hear. Ye of lurking fame. If you’re not the oldest (and I think you are) to weigh in on this, you’re second oldest, so your wisdom and feedback are appreciated. Of course, not everyone will share your experiences at the same age. My mother did not, and she soldiered on to 90.

      That your medical experience in Querétaro was superior to that in the United States comes as no surprise whatsoever. I have long since come to expect superior medical care here, more personal and far less costly. Of course, you speak Spanish, which helps a good deal.

      To others, this old boy Memo lives in San Miguel.

      So, it ain’t bad. Good to hear that. By the way, while you may have hit 80, you have not entered your eighth decade. You have entered your ninth. A very common math error when it comes to citing age. I am in my eighth decade. You’re in your ninth. Doesn’t that feel good?

      Feel free to weigh in more often. It’s like the wisdom of Methuselah.

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  11. I’m glad to hear that you are taking action in the form of exercise to stave off the pains of aging. It’s the single best thing you can do, so kudos!

    I’m still keeping fit, though almost 20 years younger than you. So I’m hoping that I’ll be in great shape through my 80s. My father, who has followed a program similar to yours, is still a pretty spry 87-year-old. Slim, too, which helps.

    Hopefully, you’ll have many more years of good health.

    Saludos,

    Kim G
    Redding, CA
    Where we eat whatever we want, but in limited quantity. And no snacking.

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    1. Kim: Let us exchange best wishes for a healthy decrepitude, or is that a contradiction? Well, you get my drift.

      Yes, we are both svelte. One can hardly overstate the importance of that.

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