On Feeling Old and Vulnerable

I have always embraced age and never had the decade induced trauma some people experience as they age. My forties were my best decade I think, but none have been bad as far as feeling my age. Of course, as changes happen, we do recognize the aging process. I have always felt young in my mind while my outward appearance would try to convince me otherwise.

Yesterday, however, I felt old and vulnerable, perhaps for the first time. Since the onset of vertigo three years ago, everything about how I manage my body has changed. I now sleep in one position always. I know what movements are safe and which are not. I live in dread of having another attack and do all I can to avoid it.

Then add that to Covid-based fears. I remember feeling shocked last year to learn my age made me vulnerable regardless of how good I felt. Man, this age thing was starting to matter. I have noticed my conversations with similarly aged friends often contain some question or comment about our ailments which reminded me of being a child and wondering why old people always talked about their maladies.

But back to yesterday — the combination of vertigo fears and Covid fears have kept me away from the dentist for too long. I was well overdue and when I started to feel some sensitivity, I broke down and scheduled an appointment. I do not have a fear of dentists, but let me tell you I was riding high on anxiety when I walked into the office. We went through all the Covid questions and the temperature checks then went back to the exam room.

She read my chart and asked me about my vertigo. The hygienist and the dentist were both so caring and understanding. They gave me a pillow for my neck which helped immensely because I have some arthritis in my neck. I did have to ask them to bring the chair back up for a moment because I was feeling uneasy. She slowly raised the chair from its reclining position. She actually ended up cleaning my teeth standing up which she said they do often with patients who have back or neck injuries.

As they worked with me I remember being struck with the idea of being old and vulnerable. They treated me the way I like to treat old people. Yes, folks, I am getting older and more vulnerable and it is an uneasy feeling. I do not think I will feel like that the next time I go in because I know now they will respect my condition, but yesterday, I fit the part perfectly of an older vulnerable woman and I did not like it one bit.

That second Moderna shot tomorrow cannot come soon enough for this old lady.