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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 β€” 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.

37 thoughts on “On Feeling Old and Vulnerable”

  1. I am 69 next week, and feeling every minute of it. I have to be careful when I get out of the bath, and realise my limitations when trying to lift anything heavy. Simple jobs around the house wear me out now, and as I also suffer with vertigo like you, I have to be careful not to turn over onto my back when sleeping.
    But I never expected to live this long, so I suppose I should see it all as a ‘bonus’. πŸ™‚
    Best wishes, Pete.

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  2. Aging isn’t fun. Every day my husband and I are both reminded that we aren’t as young as we once were. Sometimes we have to adapt. Sometimes all we can do is simply accept what’s happening. Vertigo must be frightful to live with!

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      1. Yes, you’re right. My husband has a hard time with it. He still wants to work — and play — as if he were still 20 or 30 years old. He gets frustrated because he can’t work as long or as hard as he once did. Trying to get him to slow down is difficult. Gradually he’s learning that there’s nothing wrong with sitting down, resting, and just taking things easy. Now, with the pain he’s in, he doesn’t have much choice. I understand why he’s so frustrated, and I hope we’re able to find a treatment soon that helps reduce the pain. We ordered a “massage heat gun” from Amazon, and I got a jar of hemp creme. I know that’s not as effective as the CBD, of course. We’ve been checking into it, and I plan to buy some from the Wellness Clinic. We figured we would try the help first. If the massages and creams give him any relief, that will be a step in the right direction.

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  3. I completely empathize, I had an an awful year healthwise last year. As you say the Covid is getting to us all. My second Astrozenica shot is not until 14th May hubby a fortnight before me. It can come soon enough. Yes I am feeling frail , older and invisible. Hey ho ..
    We are 20 yes in our brains πŸ’œπŸ’œπŸ’œ

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    1. It has been a trying year on our mental health, Willow. I know you and your family have had more than your share. I am hopeful the vaccines will allow us to see beyond the veil of the Covid darkness.

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      1. Yes indeed so am I . Good news our two older sons have been invited to have their injections next week. One works up close and personal with the public at the airport and they both have chronic asthma, both in their late 40s our youngest and his wife in their late 30s so I hope they will be up soon as. πŸ’œπŸ’œπŸ’œπŸ’œ

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        1. I realize I’m old when I look in the mirror each day and see a stranger!! She looks older than I think I am!! Lol.

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  4. I feel for you, Maggie. Although I’m still a young bird to most (near 51) I’m not 30. But I’ve lived with vertigo and lasting impact of a TBI after a motorcycle accident at 36. I’m learning to live with “conditions” but I can imagine once I get into my 60’s the conversations I’ll have with friends. My near 80 year old Dad tells me about these chats a lot. Take care and I’m glad to hear you’re almost fully immunized.

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    1. You have certainly been through a lot. I always try to remember my problems are a minor inconvenience compared to so many people. I just let my anxiety propel me into a challenging state of mind that day. The aging process will not be ignored. Second shots today. We are so thankful.

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      1. I do the same as you Maggie. I never try to compare my pain to anyone. We are all facing challenges. But it gives me empathy and care for everyone. You never know what humans are battling. One day at a time right? I’m so happy you’re getting your shots today. I hope you enjoy your weekend too!

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  5. All our lives took a nosedive last year and as my husband died as well I was propelled into the vulnerable group. I think most of our families didn’t think of us as vulnerable until all the Covid experts told them we were. My health is fine, well only annoying things, but now I’m on my own I think very carefully, as I do not want to have any accidents that will impede my independence or put me in hospital when they are so busy with the pandemic!

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    1. I have similar thoughts. I never carried my phone when I went for a walk until my husband advised me to always have a way to get help should the need arise. I never would have concerned myself with such a thing before. Take good care of yourself. I don’t think anyone wants to end up in the hospital for anything these days.

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  6. Maggie, thank you for sharing your vulnerability. I started a conversation with my daughter yesterday with these words: “You know I will be 69 in a few weeks.” She, an occupational therapist, replied, “Which is very young!” (I would have paid to hear those words.) I’ve been blessed with good health, but that can change in a heartbeat. I suspect your friend Pete must have been born on very nearly the same day I was, March 24, 1952. I wish ony the best for him and for you. My second Covid injection is scheduled for March 18, one week from today.

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    1. Debbie, I try not to dwell on my age or my creaking bones, but I cannot ignore it. I hope we all do our best to stay healthy. We get our second shots this afternoon. Here’s hoping we are rounding the corner.

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  7. Getting old is so full of…. humility. Yes, that’s the word. I appreciate your honesty, Maggie. And I see your honesty with the dentist folks as being assertive. I was more nervous at the dentist than usual yesterday. It had been a while, and my favorite dentist went and RETIRED (like my gynecologist! How could they?!) So I had not had a shot from this young whippersnapper dentist. It as good that I told him I was nervous so he could reassure me. We are taking care of ourselves. And maybe we deserve some special TLC after all these years. I’m glad they were nice to you and gave you a pillow. Maybe I’ll take a pillow next time.

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  8. i totally can relate Maggie. i feel my age, too. happy that you have a very caring dentist. because of Covid, i kept postponing my visit. i am well overdue.

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  9. I had really bad vertigo for about a week or two last summer. It was AWFUL. It was so bad I actually scheduled a doctor’s appointment. I rarely feel ill enough to do that, especially considering I didn’t have health insurance. Thankfully, mine resolved itself like the doctor said it would. However, I’ve had fainting spells twice recently. Luckily, I was near the RV and was able to high tail it back inside and lie down.

    Stay safe and stay healthy!

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    1. I do not wish vertigo on anyone, Alexis. Fainting spells are never good either. Be careful out there and seek care if you need it. Self care is so important.

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      1. Thank you! Just divorce stress, I think. The sooner this chapter is behind me, the better. My health care doesn’t cover me in Cali, so I’m waiting until I head up to Nevada and Utah to catch up with health care.

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        1. Emotional distress can be so hard. At least you know the source. Just take good care until you can get somewhere you can get medical attention.

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  10. Somehow I have lately decided to go for it and get whatever special treatment they deem warranted for me. Lately I had warm blankets for my cataract surgery. I think they are available for anyone, but my younger self had pride about being cared for. That is gone!

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