You know how older people are always saying things like, “If I didn’t look in the mirror, I’d never know how old I am. I feel just the same as when I was in my 30’s.” Or that old quote from Satchel Paige: “How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are?”
Good question. As I transition from my “mid-50’s” to my “late 50’s,” it’s getting to be almost a daily thing, this taking inventory of how you feel, and whether or not your physical self is going to be able to take on the day’s various challenges. Because sometimes you don’t know.
But sometimes your body speaks loud and clear, with tangible reminders as to just how old you are. You never used to get these sorts of reminders when you were younger, so at first they’re somewhat disconcerting. Like when you start to get age spots. Or growths.
I’ve had a few growths in the past couple years, and I’ll tell you, they’re not only unexpected, they’re also annoying. Like last year when I had this wart that showed up on my shin. Weird. So I went down to the CVS and bought some wart remover, which is basically a little adhesive patch, loaded with salicylic acid, which you stick right on to the wart and then leave it there. After 24 or 48 hours, whatever, you take the little sticker off and presumably the wart comes with it.
Since I just said, “presumably,” you may have guessed it didn’t work for me, and you would be right. That wart was right at home there on my shin, and not only decided to stay and hang out awhile, but also invited a friend to join it. That’s right: I now had two little warts side by side on my leg, on board for the duration.
So on my next visit to the dermatologist — and by the way, the dermatologist is someone else you’ll get rather well acquainted with in your golden(ish) years — I told him to kindly do away with my two warty friends; he was happy to oblige. With a process that involved a certain amount of local anesthesia and the smell of burning flesh. I smelled rather than saw it, because I didn’t exactly want to watch.
So now I have a nice smooth leg again (albeit with a teensy little scar), but as luck would have it, another growth. This one’s on my tongue. Which I have to say: yuck. So yesterday I met with the oral surgeon to discuss getting this latest intrusion out of my life, er, mouth. He wasn’t terribly concerned about it, more than likely just a benign fibroma, easily removed, blah blah blah, so he told me to set up an appointment to come back and give it the old permanent solution. Oh, and eventually I might want to do something about the little tiny one that’s starting to show up on the other side of my tongue.
Dude. Seriously? When does it all end? Do we just accept that senior citizenship is going to be one big carnival of growths in various places both mentionable and un? Because I kind of shudder to think where the next one(s) will show up. And how I’m going to have to deal with it/them.
This so isn’t what I thought they meant when they said, “You never stop growing.”