Friday, January 6, 2012

Enough, Already

In just the last couple of years I have come to grips with the fact that I am getting older. I am not completely falling apart, but am beginning to recognize the signs that I cannot physically act like a teenager any longer. Actually, I am 40 and haven't been able to do that for quite some time.

I am a reasonably healthy person who gets around well. I don't want to paint the picture that I am falling apart. It's just that I have noticed some of my parts are starting to come loose. Before I jump down from a ledge, I stop to consider my knees, feet and ankles. I never used to give it a second thought. During more strenuous activity, I have to think about what I have going on the next day, since it may take a day to recover. Last year, I was laid up for a week from running down a hill.

I have gotten accustomed to the small (and some not so small) aches and pains. Muscle tension, joint discomfort and other issues are just part of life at this age. They haven't had much effect on me yet, but they are noticeable. However, every now and then, something happens that makes me scream at my body, "Oh, come on." Last night was one of those times.

I pulled a muscle in my jaw while flossing my teeth.

Despite everything I just wrote, I am still a young man. I go rock climbing and rappelling. I still throw myself into the mosh pit at concerts and jump at the opportunity to do things like skydiving or bungee cord jumping. I just take a little longer to recover than I used to. However, apparently, I am too old to open my mouth wide enough to floss the teeth in the back of my mouth.

When I felt the pain shoot down the side of my neck, I knew what had happened. While the pain was located in a specific spot, the other muscles in my mouth and throat seized for about 15 seconds. I couldn't talk, swallow or move my head. My first thought was, "Great. Now I am going to have to communicate through one of those computerized talking devices like Stephen Hawking." No woman would ever talk to me again, but it might be worth it to scare off small children.

Once the muscles relaxed, it didn't hurt much. In fact, I forgot about it until I yawned as I was headed to bed. Opening my mouth that far was uncomfortable, but not too bad. The real problem presented itself this morning. When I woke up, even my teeth hurt. During breakfast, I discovered that I cannot close my teeth all the way. My teeth do not meet in the back, so I have to eat soft foods. This is not because it hurts. They just don't meet. Hopefully, this will self-correct as the muscle relaxes.

Despite what I said a few paragraphs back about being young, I don't feel it this morning. I can't even eat solid food. I makes me wonder how long I have before my daughter tosses me in a nursing home. I can already picture myself slurping my JELL-O, attempting to keep it from dribbling out of the left side of my lips and saying "WHAT!" every time someone speaks to me. It's not hard to picture since it is what I am doing today. (My hearing has always been bad. I had the nickname BELTONE in high school.)

In a few days, I will be talking normally and plan to use that opportunity to explain to Kirsten that she will not be going to college, but staying at home forever to take care of her old man. I never know when my body might break again. I could sprain an eyelid while blinking or dislocate my shoulder while reaching for the salt. I can't be too careful.

She will be so excited.

25 comments:

  1. In your old age, you really should lay off the salt. Save more than just your shoulder.

    LOL Hilarious, yet I can relate.

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  2. I didn't realize it was funny until I started writing about it. I hate to see what it will be like 20 years from now.

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  3. That's funny! But I hope you feel better soon, Brett.

    My jaw locked up a few weeks ago while I was singing in the church's Christmas ensemble. It may have been because I was nervous or something, but it did ache for the rest of the weekend. It happens to all of us. I'm 29. Age is relative when it comes to weird pains, lol.

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  4. 40 is the new 30, you're not old! I'm forever popping my jaw by yawning. Actually I've popped my sternum stretching...numerous times. I'm told that's not supposed to happen.

    Keep your daughter close. Living alone, I am convinced that I will die by choking with no one around to administer the Heimlich and call 911!

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  5. I don't remember exactly which ache or pain was the first to spotlight my departure from my immortal 20's but the point was certainly driven home in my mid 30's - when I realized that the 3 day flu I catch every time I drink more than two cocktails in a night isn't a flu.

    My dad's defining moment was in his 50's, when he cracked a rib rolling over in bed too fast.

    Oh the good times that lay ahead...

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  6. Thank you, Brandi. I don't actually feel old, but these pains for no reason are happening more often.

    Red, I get the sternum pops as well. It even did it when I was a kid. Never caused any problems, just made a loud pop.

    Jennifer, I almost never drink. I don't come back from it like I used to. I can't imagine breaking a rib from rolling over. Does he get made fun of a lot for that one?

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  7. So you're stuck on a soft food diet because you opened your mouth too wide? Ugh, weird injuries are the worst.

    I once severely injured my neck while blow drying my hair. Lame, right?

    Hope everything is back to normal for you soon!

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  8. Thank you, Vesta. These weird injuries make me wonder where I am safe. If I can get injured standing in my bathroom, is is safe to even leave my house.

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  9. Aw, that sucks. Don't be too depressed - my Boyfriend is older than you. And I'm 24. So, you can definitely still live like you're young :P

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  10. Gia, if I landed a 24 year old girlfriend, I think my kids would kill me. I can think about it, but better not take it any further until the youngest is moved out.

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  11. I'm in my 30s. I've hurt my back sneezing. More than once.

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  12. Stacey, I have done that also. I once couldn't walk for three days because I was tying my shoes.

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  13. If the point of this post was to make me frightened of flossing, you've succeeded. Tonight I might be forced to take the risk and see if I'm young enough to handle it!

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  14. hey, you're young! I think we're always young in spite of our age. However, I'm 24 and I sometimes feel like an old lady! Maybe because I'm super clumsy and keep hurting myself all the time...definitely something to think about! I think my children will certainly have to take care of me as I get older!

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  15. Megan, hopefully, the floss was not what caused the injury. Just my aging jaw. Although, maybe I should change flavors. I never have really liked mint.

    This.is.me, I don't really think I am old and decrepid (sp?), but some days I do. It's these stupid little injuries that really deflate the ego. It went away after a few days, but gave my friends plenty of ammo to make fun of me when they learned about it.

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  16. College is overrated; taking care of an invalid is so much more rewarding. I know you are not an invalid yet, but it sounds like you probably will be by the time your daughter is college age.

    I actually understand your frustration. At 42 I have the same issues. I even sneezed and my neck seized up. I couldn't move it and was in a lot of pain. I had a half marathon 3 days later and felt like an old person, smelling of BenGay at the start line! I had to use it though or I would not have been able to compete otherwise.

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  17. Naked girl, getting older sucks, doesn't it. I am far from dead, but I don't move as fast as I used to.

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  18. I'm in my young thirties and regularly throw my back out while brushing my teeth in the morning. You have scared me to the point that I may give up flossing all together. Water picks are safe, right?

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  19. Kristy, I don't know. I have heard water picks do more to drive the food particles deeper into the gums than actually clean, but I heard that from my grandmother. She also believes that listening to 'evil' rock music will alter your heart rate and eventually kill you. And then you go to hell.

    So take that as you will.

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  20. My dad used to give me back scratches and say that he was counting and each back scratch was one I owed him when he got old.

    Now I'm in my thirties and he's in his sixties and we both throw out our backs when we sneeze.

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  21. Pish Posh, my daughter always wants to sit in front of me while I am watching TV so I can rub her shoulders and back. I rarely want to do it. Maybe I should more often to get that reciprocation when I get older.

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  22. I am right there with you - I'll be 41 next month. The brain still wants what the body is slowly losing a grip on.

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  23. icantbrain - It's awful. One day you wake up and you're old.

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  24. I threw out my back last week blow-drying my hair. Not a very auspicious beginning to my 40's. Le sigh...

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    Replies
    1. Jen, it doesn't really make you feel good about yourself. I'm afraid to even stretch half of the time.

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