Apparently I’m A Sissy

I’d give credit to the person who originally said “Old age ain’t for sissies”, but even Quote Investigator doesn’t know for sure who it was.  Nevertheless, the older I get, the more apt the adage seems. 

It’s bad enough that my body is staging a slow and sneaky mutiny.  First my thumbs complained about heavy work.  Then light work.  Then they started whining for no reason at all. 

Next my eyes got into the act, gradually but stubbornly focusing farther and farther away.  I’d love to write some inspiring metaphor about ‘seeing the bigger picture as I age’ or some such shit; but the truth is that no matter how big the picture is, I need reading glasses to see it.

So I got progressive lenses. They’re fine when I’m focusing at six feet or less; but as soon as I look up from my task, I shove the glasses onto the top of my head because I see better without them at a distance.  It’s not how they’re meant to be worn, but at least they’re handy whenever I need them. And it’s nice to be able to see what’s on my dinner plate, so I grudgingly accepted the glasses… until I realized they’re trying to choke me to death.

I didn’t think it was possible to be strangled by eyewear unless one was intentionally seeking a Darwin Award, so at first I didn’t recognize their diabolical plot.  I had noticed that sometimes I almost choked when I was eating something juicy, but I put it down to bolting my food too fast in my hurry to get back to work.

But it was happening more and more frequently, and I started to get concerned.  Was I developing some degenerative disease, or what?  I know swallowing can get less efficient with advancing age; but I’m not that friggin’ old.  (Or so I tell myself… shhh, leave me with my illusions!) 

But everything became clear (literally) last week, when Hubby said something at the breakfast table while I was eating an orange.  I tilted my chin up so I could focus on him through the bottom part of my lenses, and promptly choked when a tide of orange juice rushed down my throat.

Damn murderous glasses.  Can’t live with ’em; can’t see without ’em.  This aging stuff sure ain’t for sissies.

Book 17 update: I’ve got words on the page, woohoo! Chapter 1 always takes a while to write because it’s hard to provide enough backstory to orient readers without doing a boring brain-dump; but at least I’ve had 16 books’ worth of practice. 😉 Onward!

48 thoughts on “Apparently I’m A Sissy

  1. Love this post!! I have been stuck with glasses since college. At that time it was just for distance and I went into contacts. Wore contacts for years (first hard lenses before the soft ones came out). I then had laser surgery done when I was in my 40’s. I could see distance great and my astigmatism was corrected, but the close up part needed reading glasses. Ugh, but still was happy not to have to wear glasses all the time. Fast forward into my 50’s and I was back to sometimes needing glasses for far away….aging. When I hit 60, I ended up with trifocals for close up, medium range and distance. My eye doctor also got me into “computer glasses”…close up and mid range so I could look at key board and screen without any eye strain. So reading glasses for computer work change to close up and medium range. Then I realized I needed the trifocals in sunglasses…..never ending glasses….ugh!! But, heh, I can see:)

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    • I know what you mean about the glasses — I must have 20 pairs lying around in various places in the house. I had laser surgery 23 years ago, and I’ve been lucky that my distance vision is still sharp and clear from that. But reading glasses? Sigh. One prescription for my desktop computer; another for my laptop; another for playing the piano; the progressives that live on the top of my head; a pair of “computer” progressives that I wear for reading magazines and paperbacks; four different prescriptions in the bathroom for various distances from glancing in the mirror to removing tiny splinters… it never ends! But I’m thrilled to have the privilege of seeing clearly even if it does take a lot of “baggage”. The glasses are a bit of a hassle, but MUCH better than the alternative. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Better not eat an orange while working on chapter one! I honestly think people are super fortunate – without realizing it – when they don’t need glasses until a later age.

    I have been struggling with my eyesight for as long as I can remember and it only seems to get worse, if this is even possible. While it can be frustrating not to see clearly, I have resigned to the “ignorance is bliss” position when even squinting doesn’t help. My husband used to be annoyed that I couldn’t read things as we traveled or when I need to grab my glasses each time he wants to show me something. Now, after being together for almost two decades, his eye sight is worsening and he needs glasses. Finally, finally, he understands some of my suffering!

    The bad thing about wearing my glasses in the kitchen? So much dirt becomes visible in the sink and on the counter! Darn. I’m going back to ignorance is bliss!

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    • Ha! You’re right, a lot of things become unpleasantly clear when wearing glasses, especially things in the mirror. I’ve solved that issue by never wearing my glasses when I look in the mirror, unless I need to see closely enough to (for example) remove an errant eyelash from my eye. Then I put on my ultra-strong reading glasses and use a 2x magnifying mirror, so I can tell myself that all those wrinkles are only visible because of the magnification. I don’t *really* look like that. (Denial: Not just a river in Egypt.)

      I hate to find satisfaction in the misfortune of others, but it does seem like poetic justice that your husband finally understands the glasses/eyesight issue! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. With the masks I’ve stopped wearing my regular glasses and just keep readers , yes I do, on the top of my head. I have to admit that when I go outside I take them off my head for fear of getting burned. Thought that was just me being a worrywart but evidently not. Lol! Can’t say mine have ever choked or strangled me, thank goodness, but I’ll certainly watch out for that. Thanks for the heads up! However, other day I was tired and decided to wear my regular glasses to watch tv, still wearing my readers on top of my head. About half way through whatever I was watching I decided to read my email and dropped my readers down. It must have been 15 minutes or so later that I realized I had both pairs of glasses on my nose and was happily seeing EVERYTHING in focus!! I think I have a problem, lmao! Looks like bi-focals for me. I have to admit that I’ve been avoiding them for several years. When I was about 36ish I went in to update my prescription and the 20 something tech said something about my age and needing bifocals. I bristled at her assumption and told her to maybe we needed to actually test my eyes first before we assumed that my almost forty self needed bifocals. Darn whipper-snappers. Oh well, I managed to make it another 16 years before giving in to the inevitable. Yah me!
    I also recently went in for a hearing test because I felt like I was asking everyone to repeat themselves. My hearing is perfect! So I guess there are just a lot of mumblers in my neck of the woods. What happen to elocution, eh? Need to go back to teaching that shit in school! HA!

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    • LOL! In my case, it turned out the hearing issues were mostly attention-related. I call it ‘selective deafness’ when Hubby does it to me; but when I do it to him, it’s because ‘he’s mumbling’. 😉

      I’ve also noticed that medical people and salespeople seem to be getting younger. I was in my early forties the first time a young doctor delicately prefaced his diagnosis with, “Well, you know, as we age…” I wanted to bite him! But now I realize that to a twelve-year-old, everybody looks old. (That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.)

      Sounds to me as though you’ve discovered an elegant alternative to bifocals. You probably get a better field of vision wearing two pairs of glasses anyway. Maybe you should just paint them funky colours and call it a fashion statement! 😉

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  4. I could give you a lengthy litany of lamentations but I am still on the green side of the grass at least. I have had progressives for years but still take them off to see certain things. I have reading glasses focal length 12″ and computer glasses (progressive from about 1 yard out. Need new ones so badly. Next year in Canada. Wearing glasses to hear means you are lip reading and I have done that for years too.
    Actually, I feel like there is a hole in the sack and the sand is slowly running out. I too have had a good run but hope for a few more years.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Being able to see clearly is a gift we so often take for granted when we’ve got it. Are you waiting for Canadian glasses because of cost/supply issues in the Ukraine, or only because Canada is your ‘home base’ for that sort of thing?

      “There’s a hole in the sack” — that’s a great way to describe it. Though sometimes I feel as though it’s flax seed, not sand. Very slippery…

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  5. Just a general FYI here. When you think hearing aids might be beneficial, go to Costco or Sam’s Club. Do NOT go to a private audiologist or a dedicated hearing aid store. Their prices are AT LEAST TWICE what the big box stores charge and all the ones I’ve dealt with are thieves as well as morons. I got my SECOND set at Costco, paid less than half for top of the line hearing aids that are LOADED With features the others didn’t even offer. Plus the techs are polite, generous with their time and skills, and endlessly patient. Even on vacation in another state, the Costco there fixed the problem FOR FREE and got me on my way. Avoid the private stores like the plague. Not kidding. I know what I’m talking about and it’s based on some pretty expensive experience. FYI.

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      • It is indeed! One of my friends has hearing aids with a little remote to switch instantly between her preferred settings for restaurants, quiet spaces, etc.

        And thank you for the Public Service Announcement — that’s great information. Neither Hubby nor I are close to needing hearing aids yet, but if/when we do get to that stage, we don’t want to let it go too long. We’ve had other friends who got too used to the silence, and then couldn’t adjust to hearing aids. Don’t want that.

        I dunno about this aging shit; it seems so complicated… 😉

        Liked by 1 person

        • You got that right. Some people make it look easy. I’ve found that most of those people are douche weasels.

          An addendum to the PSA. Just saw a TV ad for BOSE hearing aids! $650, I think! When I finally wear these out, I’m certainly going to look into those! Fully integrated Bluetooth/cell phone just like mine! For a quarter of the price. Yeah. That’ll work. 👍👍

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  6. I have the same questions: what the hell just happened ?(82 years of ‘just’) Why am I still here? Was I that ornery in the early years that now I’m having to ‘pay my dews’? Truth be told, I’ve had a pretty good run. If I keeled over right now it would take a swat team of morticians to get the smile off my face.

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    • Ha! I haven’t hit 82 yet, but I know what you mean. Maybe I got a similar attitude early because my mother died so young; but since age fifty the thought has frequently occurred: “Well, I’m happy with what I’ve done/been. If I kicked off now it would be okay.” That’s probably the secret to longevity right there… 😉

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  7. Diane – a warning about slipping your readers up on your head…
    My friend pushed her glasses up to watch tv, got engrossed in the show and forgot to turn her bright reading light off (another necessity age has caused). The magnifiers singed her hair, almost setting it on fire! Really!
    Avoid picture- taking as well. A couple of years ago we attended Hubby’s umpteenth high school reunion. Live everyone looked pretty good (mostly) but when we got the pictures all they showed were a bunch of old geezers! Explain that!
    – Maggie J.

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    • LOL! It’s the camera lenses. They’re basically just half a pair of glasses; and we’ve already established that glasses are the root of the problem.

      And yikes! I didn’t even know reading glasses would focus light like that. It doesn’t seem wise, somehow, to put something like that in front of my eyes… and now I’m making a mental note to never wear my glasses on my head outdoors in the sun!

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  8. Sigh.
    My recalcitrant body laughs at me. Often. I can still hear the snickers it makes over the creaks, pops and groans. I haven’t given up yet, but some days the temptation is assuredly there. How well I remember (and mourn) the days when getting onto the ground and up again wasn’t a feat to be applauded (and marveled at).

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  9. Eventually, you’ll have a few pieces of yourself removed and a few others replaced. It’s all very entertaining if you keep the right attitude. With practice you can tell someone’s age by the amount of noise the make getting out of a chair.
    “Anyone who keeps the ability to see beauty never grows old.” Franz Kafka. I would simplify that to just “the ability to see.”

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    • Ha! Agreed. Gone are the days when I could read for twelve hours straight without consequences. Now I have to stop every twenty minutes, focus at a different distance, yawn and blink a couple of times to get my tear ducts working again, and finally go back to reading. Youth is wasted on the young. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  10. Oh progressives are the devils spawn for about the first two weeks. Mine damn near gave me a combo whiplash & vertigo… I love my head thumping heavy metal music but …really .. my glasses do not need to help the cause ..

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    • I still hate wearing mine while I’m walking. The floor looks convex, and it billows and shifts maliciously every time I move my head. You must be much more adaptable than I — I’ve had the damn things for three years and I’m still not used to them!

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  11. I think I’ve said it here before–my morning routine involves walking down a flight of stairs, and the resulting pops and cracks make it sound like Independence Day. Since then, my left knee now makes a squishing noise when I walk up the stairs. I still feel my injury from August (when a finger popped when trying to pull the refrigerator out from the wall) and my one finger is still a bit stiff from last year’s summer incident with a nitrile glove and an impact wrench.

    And on the topic of unexpected sounds, I’m reminded of Billy Crystal’s one skit where he describes growing up with his grandfather, and how he would pass wind without knowing it. I’m not at that stage yet, but I do have to plan my outings around what I’ve drank or eaten for the day, and the proximity of the nearest lean restrooms. As for the receiving end of the digestive tract, I occasionally inhale something small from what I’m eating, from which a choking cough ensues. Or I’m biting a lip or the inside of my cheek.

    My hearing is still pretty good. I just don’t think I’m listening well, as I often need to have someone repeat something they’ve said. But the tinnitus is invasive at times, so that can’t help.

    And why is it that I remember the dumbest bits of trivia, but can’t remember one item from a two-item shopping list? Or remember to swap the clothing into the dryer? I got a package in the mail today that I wasn’t expecting…turns out it’s something I forgot I preordered months ago.

    My eyes…thanks for the reminder (which I’ll forget) to make that eye appointment I’ve been wanting to make for the past several months. I’m overdue, and my readers are getting blurry. I’m also blurry at a distance now, in a different way, so I may need two sets of glasses, vs. bifocals or progressives (although they would help when driving, as I can only see large dashboard numbers now).

    And to think…the most unlikely survivors in all of this have been my teeth. Fiddy-something years old, still all the original equipment, not a single cavity to be found, and the ol’ gums are still holding those ivory chompers in place.

    I’ll deny the sissy part if you will… 🍻

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    • Sissies? Nope, not us! (It was somebody who looks like me. I wasn’t even there. That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.)

      Oh yeah, I forgot about the knee thing. I’m pretty sure somebody stuffed Rice Krispies under my kneecaps a couple of decades ago. They started emitting creative sound effects long before any other body parts got on board with the mutiny. But oddly enough, I don’t have any knee pain and they seem to be working fine. I’m hoping they’ll be satisfied with merely uttering threats for a good long time to come. 🙂

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  12. But do you turn down the radio to see better? I’ve been learning to adjust to the fact that people’s faces are going to be blurry. I can’t suddenly adjust my head tilt just so I can look at you. I did hear myself say out loud just the other day, “I can’t hear you, let me put my glasses on.”

    I’ve also noticed that the young people who make my fancy coffee drink often say things like, “Here let me do that for you,” when I realize I need my glasses to put that cardboard sleeve on the cup. At most places they call your name when your coffee’s ready. I’ve started to notice at one place I go to they’ll bring the drinks right to the tables of their older customers – which I thought was a nice gesture for the older folks. Yup, last time I went in they brought the coffee to my table …

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    • Those bastards! Who do they think they are, anyway? 😉

      “I can’t hear you, let me put my glasses on” — LOL! That’s not something I’ve experienced yet; although just the other night Hubby and I had one of those “I-said-this-No-you-didn’t-you-said-that” conversations. We decided that apparently we’re both going slightly deaf, but at least we’ll never be bored. Possibly offended by misheard words; but never bored.

      Liked by 2 people

  13. I get the whole eye thing. Developed serious cataracts years ago. Way below the zone, as it were. Years of welding is the usual culprit for that, and I qualify. Had my lenses replaced. No trouble, quick and painless. Mostly. Have only worn readers since. Distance vision is still perfect. Easiest recovery ever. The rest of the fixes and repairs, not so much. Whoever coined the phrase Aging Gracefully needs a good ass whuppin. Just sayin.

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  14. I don’t have a problem with swallowing, Diane. My problem is biting the inside of my cheek or tongue. With or without glasses, I manage it at least once every time I eat. My fingers ache for no reason too. And I’m only 24.
    My old specs used to hurt my neck, as I had to look through the bottom of them to read the top of the computer screen. Luckily, I knelt on them and twisted them out of all proportion, and my new specs are much better. 😊
    It’s fun, this aging lark… even though I stopped it years ago.

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    • That’s an excellent plan — I think I’ll stop aging, too. Now I just have to send out the memo to my body. 😉 And I like your solution to your glasses problem, too. You certainly ‘fixed’ them!

      I go through weird spells of biting my cheek/tongue. I’ll go for months without a nibble, and then all of a sudden it’s as though somebody has replaced my teeth in the middle of the night and the new ones don’t fit the same. I’ll crunch down on some vulnerable piece of my mouth several times a day for a week or so… and then I’m fine again until the evil troll-dentists sneak a new set of choppers in my mouth. If I wore dentures I’d suspect Hubby of sabotaging them, but they’re all my own teeth; so… hmmm. It’s yet another sneaky mutiny by my body, I guess.

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  15. Saw my primary care doctor for 6-month check-up Monday. Read the post visit report. I have about three dozen illnesses and conditions. I had no idea ! Being 72 seems to be the most serious factor and is fairly inclusive in itself. Have been seeing pictures of college classmates on Facebook. They all look 50 years older than me. I can’t explain it.

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