“When was your last colonoscopy?” the doctor asked.
“I didn’t exactly put a happy face on my calendar.” I replied.
“Could you narrow that down a little.”
“Let’s see, long enough ago that I don’t wake up screaming at night anymore.”
“That’s generally about ten years.” He said.
I didn’t know that ten years was the statute of limitations on humiliation. I should have guessed that one of the indignities of aging included pooping your pants, while prepping your intestines for the worst home movie ever. When the radiologist asked if I wanted to see the video, I told him I was waiting for the 3D version.
With slower peristalsis (the contractions that cause your turkey sandwich to rocket towards the toilet), some older Americans are desperate enough to take matters into their own hands. Lets just say that I have prunes in my refrigerator, whole wheat bread on the counter, and a squirt bottle called Fleet hidden in the darkest corner of the cabinet under my bathroom sink.
The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away. Few women talk about it, but as we become hormonally challenged, we start going bald in places where hair had kept our lady parts warm since puberty. Instead of paying good money for a Brazilian, we’re shelling out for mustache removal. Besides feeling a sudden draft, our yoo-hoo area requires special attention after 50.
The doctor asked, “What happens to our vaginas as we get older?”
I just stared at him stupidly. A) Only one of us had a vagina. B) Didn’t he go to medical school so he could tell me that? The doctor then explained the aging process to me with graphs, charts, and sweeping gestures. He came just short of breaking out the hand puppets.
It turns out that we get drier, the tissue gets thinner, and it gets more sensitive. I only got one answer right out of three, so I hope he’s grading on a curve. I like my OB/GYN, but he seems to take a perverse pleasure in pointing out my aging anatomy.
He ordered the bone density scan that told me I had osteoporosis. I scurried back to work after the doctor appointment and made a beeline for the ladies room. I proceeded to turn one way and the other looking for any telltale signs of a dowager’s hump in the mirror. I swear, if I’d had a pimple on my shoulder I would have freaked!
It’s really disconcerting when your years of hypochondria start to pay off. Most of my life, even when I thought I was dying, my blood tests and x-rays came out normal. Then, about a year ago a doctor ordered an EKG for a simple blood pressure issue.
“Ms. Telega, we found an abnormality on your EKG.” the doctor announced.
“Pull the other one!”
“No really, you have an extended QT wave.”
“Where’s the camera? Did my kids put you up to this?”
The abnormality turned out to be a side-effect of a new medication I was taking, and my heartbeat went back to normal as soon as I stopped the meds. Nevertheless, it earned me my first trip to a Cardiologist.
So far, plummeting estrogen levels are responsible for: lower tolerance for some medications; broken bones; vaginal dysfunction (the other VD); constipation; hemorrhoids; and a mustache. I shouldn’t be surprised since they call it “the change of life,” but I had only mentally prepared myself for the facial hair.
With so many Americans entering their 50’s, newly old people will be flocking to all kinds of specialists in the medical profession. I hope the doctors all have a good supply of hand puppets.