Comedian Greg Behrendt had a funny bit about getting old.
It goes something like this:
“One day, you’re a vital dude with a plan and information and then the next day, BOOM, you’re an old man with a new vocabulary. A word you’re using: ointment. Ointment! Not as a joke, but because you need one. How come? ‘Cause you’re sore. From what? From f*cking sleeping wrong. That’s a real thing: sleeping wrong!”
When Mr. KK and I first heard this bit a decade ago, we thought it was hilarious. Fast forward ten years, when our bones crack when we kneel down, and simple tasks such as brushing our teeth can incur neck pain, and we’re no longer laughing.
When I turned 40, I accepted that I needed little cheater reader glasses. It’s because I stare at the computer screen all day, I rationalized to myself. Plus, I needed only the lowest magnification, so it wasn’t like I really needed them.
Then, I started noticing other things.
My eyes got worse. Those .75 strength reader glasses just weren’t cutting it anymore. So I upgraded to the 1.00. Then the 1.25. Then the 1.5. At that point, I figured I might just need glasses all the time, so I went to the eye doctor. She wrote me a prescription for 1.75 cheaters. But I still use the 1.5 because I’m just not ready to admit that I need them.
All-over body aches. I would wake up in the morning and I would hobble out of bed like I was 100 years old. I couldn’t even stand up straight. I’m not sure what happened from the time I laid down until when my alarm went off, but it’s like my body deteriorated while I slept.
Zero flexibility. For someone who used to dance and be able to do a split, I can no longer get into criss-cross apple sauce without the assistance of my hands. What happened to me? I used to be able to do pliés without the use of a barre, now I’m lucky if I could get up off the floor with rolling onto my knees and pushing off my thigh.
Debilitating back pain. Every few months, my lower back finally gives out to stabbing pain, making it nearly impossible to stand up/walk/lie down/sit. This lasts for about 4-5 days. It’s super fun, especially when it happens on the morning of your beach vacation before you get in a car for 4 hours. (True story). Turns out, working from home and sitting so long is causing my hips to be stuck in a position so long that’s weakening my back. Awesome!
Shoulder pain. I pretty much haven’t used my left arm in a few months. The pain is in the front of my left shoulder, at the curve. It hurts to raise my arm above my head, grab a glass out of the cabinet, hold my hair dryer. I can’t pick up the Little Mister, pull the covers up or lift a grocery bag. Not wanting to make this a bigger deal that it was (the onset of old age), I went to a massage therapist, hoping he could work out the pain.
“How old are you?” he asked me. When I answer, he says, “That’s just about right. Ma’am, you have frozen shoulder. Many women around your age get it.”
Excuse me? Around my age? And what’s with the ‘ma’am’?
Because this sounded like a completely made up diagnosis, I consulted with Dr. Google who confirmed that Frozen Shoulder actually WAS a thing. Not only was it a thing, but there were three stages, as described by the Mayo Clinic: Freezing, Frozen and Thawed (I am not making this up, people). Treatment is stretching and exercising, and it will typically resolve itself within – wait for it – up to 2 YEARS.
So, let’s recap:
I can’t stand up straight in the mornings.
Every few months I can’t walk/sit/stand/lie down without excruciating pain.
Oh, and my shoulder is frozen for the next 2 years.
So…what’s new with you?