Getting older…

…is not for the faint of heart!

I turn 54 years old in just a couple of hours, and this week has been full of reminders of aging.

I went for an audiology test on Monday, because I couldn’t hear at my daughter’s show a couple of weeks ago. We were sitting four rows from the stage, and I had to cup my ear and lean forward to hear the actors. Earlier this week, I sat directly across the room from my friend, and had to sit on the edge of the couch and try to read her lips as she was speaking; I still missed at least 1/4 of what she said. And at Connection Group, when another friend bowed her head, I just “agreed in the Spirit,” since I couldn’t hear a word that was prayed!

The audiologist told me that there might be some physical reasons for my hearing loss, and recommended I see an ENT before continuing with her. Yet still, the graph she documented showed a distinct hearing loss from my last test, about four years ago. And there must be a genetic component, as I think both my dad and grandpa started wearing hearing aids about this time in their lives. Oh, goodie!

In the meantime, my husband just hands me the volume controls each night as we watch Netflix.

Additionally, my back has been hurting for months. It begins as a severe pain every morning when I first get out of bed. Then a month ago, it moved lower in my spine and started causing the sciatic nerve to flare up. Four weeks of increasing chiropractic and massage care hasn’t helped, and today I told my doctor that I couldn’t take the pain anymore. She thinks I should see an orthopedist, to check for a herniated disc. I walk hunched over and leaning to my right side as pain shoots down my left leg and I grasp for the counter so I don’t fall. Should I lean on a cane?

I watch YouTube videos on how to apply makeup tricks to aging skin. But I can’t seem to cover both my dark eye circles and my wrinkles.

I think I need new cheater glasses – my old ones don’t seem to be strong enough, and I can’t read a thing without them. Mostly, I wear them on the top of my head, since I refuse to wear them around my neck. At least I can usually find them, until I’ve laid them down who knows where – I can’t remember where I put them! I keep an extra pair in my purse, on my nightstand, and by my iPad. Still, I find myself looking all over for them when I need to read the instructions for cooking the take-and-bake bread.

I take 6 medications/vitamins in the morning, and 3 more at night. I’ve got my own little pharmacy by my toothbrush.

At least my body is in shape –  after all, round is a shape. right?!

I got my first gray hair when I was 19 years old, but now my whole head is gray.  Good thing it looks like highlights in the short haircut I wear. Just think current Jamie Lee Curtis.

Seriously, aging is not for cowards!

Settling in

My last post was awhile ago. I haven’t had much to say.

In fact, I stopped writing completely. Between living in the apartment and then moving into our house, I put my journal in a drawer. I just got it out again last week when I realized I hadn’t been writing at all. I’ve found that my daily journaling helps my blogging – so I’m here again.

I wrote before about back pain – my back seized up again the day before we were moving into our new house. Not great timing, but God worked a miracle. After two days flat in bed in tremendous pain, I walked out of our apartment and into our new home, where I promptly laid down on our much-more-firm mattress. I recently started physical therapy to strengthen my back muscles and keep it from happening again. My back is still quite sore, but hasn’t locked up again. Thank You, Lord!

We’re all unpacked, except for the books – we need bookshelves. Our Florida house had a large built-in, so we need a place to put them. But everything else is put away, complete with pictures in the walls. It feels like a home.

I joined a Bible study, but was only able to attend once due to a work conflict. Yes, I’m working very part-time. But it gets me out of the house and around other people. I’m a brain trainer – teaching cognitive skills like memory and visual processing – the pieces that make up IQ. It’s a good job, and I like it.

In general, my days are long. I’m lonely, but that just goes with the situation. It takes time to get to know people and be able to call an area “home.” I always know that, going into any move, but I’m always surprised by it too.  I feel like I should be “further along” in making friends. I have to regularly remind myself that it hasn’t been a year yet, only 5 months, and the solution here is time. Time to learn my way around without GPS. Time to meet others and make friends. Time for people to get to know me.

We haven’t done a lot of exploring of our area since we moved – making our house into our home has occupied our time. But I’m looking forward to the leaves changing and taking a color drive, seeing the trees on the mountains in their brilliance of reds, oranges and golds. They’re just starting to change, so maybe we can take that drive as soon as next weekend.

Time to go to church. I’ll write more later!

Back Pain…

Everything was fine on Monday. Beautiful sunny day, a tad warmer than I prefer, but good. Had appointment with my new psych doc – I really like him. Got X-rays for the chiropractor. Stopped at the grocery store. A decent day.

Tuesday, I could hardly move. My lower back locked up and the pain was excruciating. I made it ten feet to the pain reliever in the bathroom – moaning as I dragged myself there, grasping along the side of the bed as far as I could reach, then flinging myself to the door jamb for something to hold me up. I used my left arm to support myself on the counter as I slowly lowered my body to the bottom drawer to grab the pills. After gulping down a few, I reversed the process to get myself back to the bed. Once I was laying down, I panted and moaned until the sharp needles stopped poking me. I texted my husband and told him I was having back spasms.

I laid in bed awhile, then napped a bit, and when I woke up, my back felt a little better. I decided to head into the living room – I’d been in bed all morning. This time, I rolled my body upwards as I swung my legs over the side, and standing was almost painless. For about five seconds. But it wasn’t causing me to gasp, so I staggered to the cushy chair. Big mistake.

The moment my tailbone went lower in the seat than parallel with the floor, I cried out in pain. And now I was truly stuck. No arm rests. No tall table. Nothing to push up on. I texted my husband and told him I needed help.

I sat there for 15-20 minutes, pushing my feet against the coffee table to try to lift my lower back and ease the agony. Finally, I couldn’t wait for him anymore – the pain was just too much. So I fell out of the chair and began to crawl to the bedroom. I cried out with each “step,” but I got to the edge of the bed. Now I had to pull myself up and get on top. I was making childbirth sounds by this time, and I rolled and moaned until the spasm relaxed enough that I could lie flat.

My husband got home about 15 minutes later. He crushed up some ice and I laid on it, fell asleep as the ice slowly melted and melded to the shape of my lower spine. I woke an hour later and my back had unlocked. I laid in bed and thanked God for breaking the hold on my spine.

I was able to be up and about the rest of the afternoon and evening. And while my back has continued to spasm all week, it’s not locked up again. I saw a doctor yesterday – she gave me meds to help with relaxing the muscles and the pain. I’m on the mend.

There wasn’t much to do when laying flat on my back, so I prayed a lot. Not just for my pain, but for the pain in the world, for pain that friends are experiencing, for the pain of life. Because there is pain, and many are hurting. And sometimes crawling through the pain is all we can do. Until God breaks the pain lock. He specializes in relief. And Jesus’ death and resurrection has broken the pain for eternity. All of earth groans for Christ’s return. All of creation longs for the pain to end. And God’s Word promises that it will.