By Roz Rogoff
Getting oldUploaded: Feb 19, 2012
There's a saying, "Old age isn't for sissies." Well I understand that now. I'll be 70 in October, and I never thought of myself as "old," but I'm starting to feel it.
I wrote a blog on Going Gray last June. My hair is still mostly dark, but my back is going out now. It is getting harder for me to walk.
I lost 12 pounds since the start of this year and expect to lose another 20 by spring; so those of you who say it's my weight, no, it's just old age creeping up on me.
I started having trouble walking a few weeks ago and asked my Doctor for a walker. I needed it to walk three blocks from the BART to an office in San Francisco for a meeting of University of Phoenix instructors in the SF Bay region.
I planned the "trip," because anything more than 20 minutes away from my house these days is a "trip." I was fortunate to find a parking space at the Dublin BART in time to make the 1:13 pm train for the 2:30 pm meeting.
I had my new walker with me, but I had to climb about two stories worth of stairs to exit the station. The escalator wasn't working. A nice man carried my walker up the stairs for me and waited for me to slowly hoist myself up a step at a time.
Again it wasn't my weight, which I've carried around most of my life. Seven years ago I had a contract writing job with HP in Mountain View and took the ACE train in. I easily walked up the stairs at the Santa Clara Station to catch the trolley to HP. So it's age not weight that is slowing me down now.
The three block walk to the office building wasn't too difficult, but the streets in San Francisco seem to be torn up or fenced off for construction all over the place. I wanted to be on the side of the street where the building is so I wouldn't miss it, but a police officer walked me back to the side that still had a sidewalk. Because of that, I passed the alley-way to the building and couldn't see the street number from across the street because it wasn't on the street. It was on the side street accessed through the alley.
A helpful couple used a cell phone to find the building. So after my careful planning to be on time, I was ten minutes late and mad as hell. I made a grand entrance yelling about directions and saying I wouldn't be back. Enter Roz the drama queen!
The meeting was to discuss ways to help at-risk students of University of Phoenix and it was very productive. I thought I might come to the next one, but now that my back is out, I shall participate by email.
My sister and her husband live in San Francisco; so they picked me up after the meeting and we went to a German Restaurant nearby for dinner. It was nice seeing them. They travel a lot and come into San Ramon a couple of times a year for Jazz at the Library or Sheep Shearing Day.
My brother-in-law loves to watch the Border Collies in action. He's over 65 now and has problems using his hands. He was hit by a car in a cross-walk in San Francisco, and injured both hands. He has a handicapped license plate because he cannot hold onto things now. That is a mobility problem, even if it isn't as visible as using a walker.
I probably qualify for handicap license plates now too. Still I'd rather have the twinges treated than use a handicapped parking space. I don't go anywhere much; so I can walk a few more feet using the walker if I have to.
My mother is 96. She's starting to go blind from macular degeneration and uses a walker, but she was fine in her 70's and 80's. I'm surprised I'm declining this early. I would have at least liked to turn 70 before falling apart.
My mother's mother was 98 when she died in 1970. My mother's grandfather lived to 103 back in the 1930's. So my family has long-lived genes. I'm not sure the way the World is going that I'd want to live to be 100, but I'm hoping the stiffness in my hips and twinges in my back can be treated so I won't need to use the walker all the time