I’m a wimp

By Joe Rector

Plenty of things disrupt older folks’ lives. If any person is lucky enough to reach senior citizenship, he’ll have to deal with long lists of them that make life just a bit more difficult.

My life was wonderful. I’d retired from my career and then retired from my part-time job career after covid hit. No more worries were on the horizon, as far as I could see, and I’ve always been a person who can “find” something to keep me entertained or busy. Then one day, I woke up and suffered pain in every joint in my body. After struggling to separate myself from the bed, I walked hunched over through the house. By the time I reached the kitchen, the stiffness and aches were gone, except for in my hands.

The original pain started at the bases of my thumbs. It felt as if someone were driving a nail into those lower joints. I noticed some swelling in my thumbs but did my best to ignore it. I reached for my favorite coffee cup, and as my hands passed my face, I shuttered with disbelief. During the night, someone or some force had exchanged my hands for those of my mother’s. My index fingers were knotted at the joints so much that they were slightly crooked. From that day forward, my hands and other joints have made sure that my activities are handicapped by visits from arthritis.

I have no idea the technical name for the condition, but our advancing years also bring visits from what I call, “Why or where did I…?” Most of us Baby Boomers have risen from our seats, walked into another room, and wondered why the heck did I come in here? Yep, we stand statuesque as we try to remember what our goal for moving was. Too often, we eventually give up and return to our original seats, only to then recall what our original mission was.

I am a person who enjoys organizing things. I’ll sit for hours to separate bolts, nuts, and screws according to size. Of course, the tidiness doesn’t last long. I place many items in containers or drawers. Before long, I needed one of them and set out to retrieve it. The problem is that I no longer remember where I’ve put it. The next hour is wasted looking everywhere to find the thing. Eventually, I give up and go to the store to buy the needed item. As I am placing it on the project, I look up to discover an entire jar or plastic container full of the parts. It’s then that I want to scream, but I usually just let loose a mouthful of curse words.

The biggest disappointment to us oldsters comes when we lose a professional on whom we’ve depended for so many years. Yes, they reach a point where the time to enjoy old age arrives. I’m happy for them when that time comes; however, I’m not nearly so happy about not having the same doctor or dentist that I’ve relied on for the last few decades. Finding a new professional is scary and just plain difficult. In the medical field, I don’t mind having a new, young dentist or physician. They might have new ideas about treating ailments I encounter more often these days. Yet, nothing is as comforting as walking into an examination room and seeing the same person who has cared for me through so many illnesses, cuts, and breaks. Losing one feels the same as losing a family member.

At some point, none of us will have to worry any longer about these areas. I don’t know what the end will be like, and I’m in no hurry to find out. My only wishes are that I don’t outlast the people who care for me, that my mind doesn’t swallow me, or that I don’t hurt too much. The truth is I’m a wimp.