I woke up this morning; gathered my sleep-fogged wits about me, wandered downstairs, and looked out the kitchen window. Night shadows still darkened a yard newly escaped from snow. Frozen by my movement, a doe and fawn peeked with wide eyes through our gate, as though waiting for me to call: “Good to see you. Come on in; gate’s open.”
I loitered, drinking coffee and watching the deer until they rejected our yard as unappetizing and sauntered away. Then, finding no other diversions to help me postpone the inevitable, I began the morning routine I’ve followed since getting so old strangers feel free to call me “Honey.”
I took pills, inserted eye drops, donned exercise clothes, popped in a Denise Austin exercise DVD that promised I’d soon be fit and fabulous, and went at it.
I developed my morning routine in response to my mid-life recognition that, with luck, my brain could chug along fine, but my body probably wouldn’t: parts were already beginning to wear out, and I didn’t come equipped with spares.
I take comfort in the knowledge that medical advances may not help me live forever, but they can ease the living I have left to do. Over the years, doctors have cured my ulcers with antibiotics, regulated my sluggish thyroid with a tiny pill, kept me from being the little old lady who drove into Denny’s with a pacemaker, and, most recently, improved my vision noticeably.
After my cataract surgery, aptly described by the anesthesiologist as “blink-and-you’ll-miss- it,” I spent the better part of each day inserting multiple eye drops. But I also noticed an interesting depression in one of the tiles on my bathroom counter—a tile installed two years ago. I walked around a city park marveling at the crisp details and vibrant colors and trying to remember when I quit seeing them.
Preparing dinner, I could actually see how much seasoning I was adding to the food. I threaded a needle without using profanity and told my husband he’s much better looking than I realized, which seemed to please him.
I also noticed my furniture needed dusting and my wrinkles looked more like chasms, but those discoveries seem unimportant compared to the increased beauty and ease of my world.
Because I want to age as well as possible, I’m motivated to nurture my body, seek the help of medical professionals, and try to follow their advice.
I think of it as increasing my odds.
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