Recovery

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View from my son’s back yard in San Diego.

I finally made my annual, due in May, mammogram appointment. Whether I can manage it with this torn rotator cuff, strained muscles and tendons, and fractured shoulder joint is the question. Slowly, I am gaining some motion in my poor shoulder, however reaching across from my bed to bedside table to look at my clock is almost impossible. This begs the question of whether I will be able to extend my arm in the various directions the technician requests. Ever the optimist I imagine myself cured by next Thursday.

I almost laughed at my DIL when she told me I was a “strong woman.” No kidding, that’s half my trouble, always thinking I can do more than I can.  It’s called the “macho woman” syndrome. Many of my friends have had this problem.  I mean for God’s sake, I was a military wife for 22 years with all that entailed. And I was married to a Marine for sixteen of those years. I told my DIL “I used to be strong.”

Being one who has always pushed through the most adverse situations, probably the hardest thing for me about aging is the realization that as I age, I am losing physical strength.

Somehow, some people think it’s all in your mind.”  No, for me, its in my shoulder, my back, my hand my ankle my knee and several toes.

                                                 ***

In the 1970s, I had a professor, who was one of the leading experts in the world on aging. He testified before Congress on the subject on many occasions, because despite the rhetoric in the news media, the federal government has been aware of aging issues for sometime.

The Professor said the aging population can be divided into three groups.

As I recall these groups were:

1/ ages 65-74 were the young old;

2/ages 75-84 were the old old;

3/ ages 85-99 were the elderly frail.

In  other words, should I live longer, I will only get older, next year leaving the young old and passing into group 2.

By way of comparison, David is in group 3 and Connie’s MIL is over the hill.

                                                  ***

For a time in the 1990s, I was one of several employees at the Census Bureau under contract with the National Administration on Aging. I was not an expert on aging, merely a minion dealing with administrative issues. However, as every staff person knows, by setting up meetings, preparing handouts and observing, one can learn a lot. And like Miss Marple, I am a noticing kind of person.  Thus I observed much and learned much about aging. Today, I continue to read and learn about this very interesting topic.  In the end it affects us all.

32 thoughts on “Recovery

  1. Torn rotator cuff? Yowch! I can see where the mammogram could be difficult. Then again… you have until May. I’ll keep my fingers crossed for you. Art and I were just talking about how we’re getting all these “old” ailments which we just didn’t think would be us.

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  2. I, too, have had a long time interest in aging, first with my grandmother, then my mother and the adult population including older to elder then to elderly or old frail, as I began to work professionally with all ages — myself, of course, since I’ve, fortunately been able to keep aging, also. I think one of the problems we older aging folks have can be recognizing our limitations sometimes — so we get ourselves in trouble.

    My major concern with health care, especially as moves occur toward one payor system is the possible tendency to treat individuals based solely on statistical reports i.e. all according to the high percentage results for any ailment or group and/or Medicare/insurers basing reimbursements the same way (therefore might not cover some other treatment/different med) with the result being a “one size fits all” or “cook book” approach. Advent of HMOs in combination with health care costs sky rocketing upward with efforts to tame costs soon revealed the necessity to be certain individual differences and those who might be the exception to the rules weren’t dismissed or deprived of having their issue addressed in a different manner from “most people” as those few may require. This is still a relevant matter and likely to become increasingly so with some powers-that-be people more sensitive to the matter than others whether medical person in direct contact with patient or the far removed individual in an office somewhere reading a piece of paper. Distant decision makers can be more insulated and prone to just look at the numbers. That’s reason enough to need to be our own advocates and/or have another, plus to educate ourselves about our health.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I had not thought about possible downside of single payer system. However, don’t we already have this ‘one-size-fits-all’ with insurance companies and Pharmacos in charge?

      I personally think the German version of national healthcare is the best.

      BTW, I’m sure you know killing the ACA and starting over is a bad way to go.

      We won’t have to worry about healthcare, however. There won’t be any money for healthcare or embassy security as the Republicans promise to spend oodles of money over the next four years investigating Hillary in their never ending witch hunt.

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      • Yes, to some extent through those years that has become increasingly true with ins. cos., pharmacies, govt. Medicare regulatory agency, Congress and pressures brought to bear on medical service providers to adhere to those specified limits for all. Providers who care and can afford to do so, end up donating their time to become patient advocates, often along with the patient, iif the best treatment/med from the provider’s expert perspective falls outside tthose pre-determined accepted limits of so-called norms.

        Yes, I have been able to support ACÁ because what we had was out of controll, was only getting worse, & ins not available to too many. Also, because I understood going into ACA it would have problems with changes, adjustments to be expected, partly because by the time the final bill was submitted for a vote, it was so messed up by all the Congressional factions it was destined to be problematic. But it needed to be passed despite such iimperfections since it was at least a step and offered a framework on which to work. No, ACA should not be repealed.

        Yeah, Repub. factions are already describing how they’re going to again fail to meet their constitutional requirement to serve voters for the good of the country if their candidate doesn’t win. More dangerous yet is their candidate’s iintimated threats if he doesn’t win, the potential for acts of violence, racism, hate, he has incited — all of which serves to endanger the very basic foundation of our republic’s democracy. The blueprint for his behaviors can be found in several past nation’s and leaders histories including as described in book you previously mentioned, Where Ghosts Walked by David Clay Arge.

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  3. i’m 76 so it is a wonder I have the strength to type these words — old old indeed really? The trouble with putting everybody into a category is …. well, you already know what it is..

    I often see your comments on “Time Goes By” blog, which i enjoy very much although i almost never comment there. So I know you are reading and thinking about elder issues.

    I’ve never noticed any pain with mammograms (not much there to worry about), but I canNOT imagine it would be fun if one’s shoulder or arm was sore. I’d probably cancel if i were you because I am a wuss about pain. i go in this week for a dexa-scan. I’m afraid I aready know what it is going to tell me.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Demographers categorize so as to be able measure medical and other statistics. When I was working at the Census Bureau, I received many calls from the CDC requesting the ‘denominators’ for their numerators (numbers of incidents of something, say motor accidents or west Nile disease. Other customers included ICE, NCHS and Justice Department). Denominators are the people in an age, sex, and/or race category. Today we also include nationality.

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      • I was being a little facetious in my comment — I do understand the need to categorize for demographics … what annoys me is when doctors or politicians or young people or people of ‘a certain age’ themselves — assume that you feel a certain way (good or bad) or can or cannot do something because of the category your number puts you in. Although we are in certain demographic groups, we are each individuals.

        Liked by 1 person

      • True, we are individuals. David hates help of any kind, but he’s learning to accept it as he ages. I, on the other hand, take what’s offered, especially offers to help me with my socks. I figure it is a gift of sorts the helper. I asked one young woman why she helped and she said “I’ll be old some day.” I asked a young man, and he said, “my parents taught me to respect my elders.” One can only be entertained.

        On this last trip many people of all ages, young and old helped me. A young man caught me and lifted me when I fell on an escalator. An older woman helped me with my bags in the waiting area.

        As for categorizing others, I got paid for it. 🤑

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  4. I’ve been in the old-old group for years, and didn’t even know it. No chronic pains yet. I can only chalk that up to good luck. Hope you get through the problems and are able to thoroughly enjoy life once again.

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  5. Since retiring I have met a number of people in group #3 that are not frail, and very active mentally and physically. I am in the #1 young/old group and am hopeful about aging well when I see these older folks still leading active lives, health issues limiting them minimally.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Was saddened to read the obituary in this morning’s paper of a man with whom I went through elementary school and high school. He was two years ahead of me but his brother was in my class so I knew him well enough. Nice boy, and by the appearance of his picture in the paper, he remained just as nice as he aged. Only 66 years old which seems way too young to be passing on, but I know there are many who never even reach that age.

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    • Condolences. Always upsets me when someone I knew in high school dies.

      Yes many die before they reach the oldest years. However, if each of us lives into the oldest ages we may believe they were the fortunate ones.

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  7. I’m not sure whether to hope I get to the frail old at all. Glad to be still in the young/old. Keep young in your head and keep encouraging the rest of us. Blessings from Freda at Dalamory

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  8. I’m a young old. Hurray, that makes me feel a little better. Still, it bothers me that I can’t do things I used to do. So I wonder if I should still be able to do them or if the inability is just aging and I can’t really do anything about it — and so there’s no point in worrying about it. (Does that make sense?) I’ve never been this old before, so I don’t know what shape I should expect to be in.

    That aside, I hope you and the tech can work out that mammo somehow. They are so very important. Would a pain med in advance help?

    Bette Davis was right. Old age ain’t for sissies.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bette knew. All we can do is live one day at a time. Part of my current pain is temporal…being compressed in an airplane cabin for many hours, sitting on hard surfaces, changes in weather (colder), don’t help. Every day I can move my arm a bit better. Eve made my bed today. 😇

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  9. Reminds me of B, who was phi beta kappa and now says, “I used to be smart.” Anyway, we all suffer from the syndrome that if we live longer, we will only get older. I guess all we can do is make the best of it!

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  10. Working on the Age Friendly City committee for our community has given me a whole new appreciation for aging. My husband, turing 65 next year has an 84 year old mother who is still acitive and healthy. My grandmother was old at 60. Times have changed how others view the elderly and how we view themselves. There are so many contributions we can make to the world in our later years. I see it all the time here.

    I hope your shoulder issues get resolved so you can continue your contributions without pain. Pain can be so disabling in and of itself.

    Liked by 2 people

    • We can all find someone like your MIL. Unfortunately, many more her age are not in such great shape. Many younger people think it’s a matter of mind over matter, i.e.., if you don’t mind it doesn’t matter. Unfortunately many others know that is not the case.

      Medical advances don’t necessarily mean improvement in the quality of life. Many medical tests are no longer performed let alone paid for by insurance after age 80 and there is a reason.

      My daughters “healthy” 104 year old MIL would like to die. She tried to starve herself to death and failed. Her son put her in a home and she is upset because her mind is clear and her fellow inmates are gaga. Thus she spends her day in her room far away from other people.

      Mom died after an eight week illness at age 55. My dad had a miserable prolonged end of several years at age 78.

      I am reading ‘Bobby Wonderful’ by Bob Morris about his experience with dying parents. That book and ‘Being Mortal’ by Atul Gawandi should be must reading for all.

      A fellow older lady in O’Hare airport turned to me and said, Getting old sucks. When you get older, you may feel the same way.

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    • Nice age grouping your Professor developed! LOL I have two years left in the young group and then I shall graduate to being ‘old’, though I doubt I’ll feel it. I have noticed I’m not as limber as I used to be, and I still try to do things I shouldn’t. Hard-headed as all get out, I push myself all the time. And as your friend Marie Smith states, “Pain can be so disabling in and of itself.” Chronic pain is not an easy thing to live with. I do hope you’re able to get through your mammo without too much pain. Just let the technician know about your shoulder and I’m sure she’ll come up with an alternative way of doing the scans.

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