“Don’t let them ever do this to you.”
Those were the pearls of wisdom my 80-year-old mother told me after her second back surgery, just coming off the post surgery drugs and cognitive enough to understand that having another steel rod implanted in her spine to “correct” mis-alignments just might not have been the way to go.
I was with her in the surgeon’s office when they did the initial X-rays. The surgeon gleefully bounced into the room to proclaim how sorry he was but that her 2nd back surgery was unavoidable. He didn’t provide balloons and confetti but did produce the x-rays in living black and white. Vertebrae upon vertebrae.
“Doesn’t look good, Mom,” I said, not knowing whether champagne was about to be uncorked in celebration by the surgeon because another surgery was in the books.
The office visit with the surgeon reminded me of the Seinfeld episode where George laments the pitfalls of fixing a car. You take it to the mechanic, they tell you that it’s your car’s “johnson rod” that needs to be replaced. How in the hell would a layman know any different?
It’s always some type of rod that is a pain for us. Steel rod in the back, replacing the “johnson rod” in the car, lightning rods of idiocy from politicians and media types…it’s never ending. I’m almost 62…doesn’t really mean much to me, except in the past two years I’ve had this pain in the lower back. I’ve had to start thinking about that rod. Appears I’ve “inherited” Mom’s back issues. Genetics are wonderful.
I also got her slim frame, her overly developed sense of smell, appreciation of classical music and the uncanny ability (annoying to all others) of sneezing at least 12 times in a row. The good with the bad, I suppose.
The back issues have led me to conduct “dark web” internet searches for back pain relief; sessions at confined and cramped yoga studios for stretching guru’s advice and direction – solo instruction of course, due to that overly developed sense of smell; along with visiting an assortment of chiropractors and other pretzel-breaking savants. They’ve kept me from the rod…so far.
Sometimes my left hip and leg feels like another entity with a mind of it’s own. It goes numb, it tightens, it twists, it sometimes refuses to work. With the more frequent and annoyingly reflective moments that comes with aging, I also wonder if this is why I had a leaning to the conservative worldview of life when I was younger, and now, favoring my left leg, I’ve bounced back toward the middle, or even to the left depending on the issue at hand. Who the hell knows.
Aging is a strange brew. You find yourself waxing nostalgic over the era when you were young, yet also thoroughly embarrassed when you see it reproduced or re-broadcast. I was watching some PBS fund raising silliness the other night that highlighted the “musical giants” from the 60’s and 70’s. I took a gander as they panned the adoring audience and thought, “oh my god, how flippin’ embarrassing” – they’re dancing to this shyte like they’re 18 all over again! But I also felt the need to reassure myself how cool it was back then. No it wasn’t – what the hell is the matter with me? For, in reality, there were only a couple of “cool” moments and the rest were cringe-worthy teen-age episodes – just as watching aging hipsters on the TV was, dancing to the Commodores, “Brickhouse“. But then, what’s left of my caring and open-minded worldview thought…”what the hell – what does it matter”. They’re having a good time – they feel good (so it looked but they hadn’t seen the re-broadcast yet) and it brought, at the very least, a temporary respite from whatever present day worries each might have had.
So, in less than a couple of months I’ll be another year older. With it comes the reoccurring nightmare of one of my children leading me to into the assisted living facility, gently holding my arm as she leads me to my final chamber of rest – the size of a bathroom, with a bathroom niftily located within it. I can’t wait.
And they say…with age comes wisdom. (yeah, right!). I’m not 100% sure of much of anything anymore, save that I’m very thankful that vodka is still vodka; that the splendidly entertaining PBS series “Endeavor” is still on and every episode starts with a classical piece of music; that I can still manage to get to an evening of enjoying “live” classical or jazz music and that to date, I’ve heeded mom’s advice and haven’t let them implant that rod in me.
Yours sincerely wasting away…
The Beatles – When I’m 64
<p><a href=”https://vimeo.com/10898084″>When I’m 64</a> from <a href=”https://vimeo.com/user3585742″>Eva Simkesyan</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a>.</p>
Photo credit: By AJ (Open clip Art Library image’s page) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons