In the Summer of 2016, I turned the big 5-0. It started in a rather auspicious way – with dragging my sorry ass around in a walking boot. I had been diagnosed with a severely inflamed Achilles in addition to these sexy bone spurs:
I plodded along in the walking boot for over two months. I had special inserts created for my new multi-tasking work/casual/fancy shoes. Also known as tennis shoes. Plus, I started Physical Therapy two times a week.
Given all the focus on limping, gimping, rehab, and not being able to drink due to medication (probably the worst side effect of all), I immediately forgot that AARP was doing its best to woo me into membership with direct mail solicitations every week.
In August, I was also reminded by my primary care physician that it was time for my first ever colonoscopy. Which, in an interesting turn of events, includes lots of drinking. But not the kind of drinking that gives you a fantastic buzz. More like the kind of drinking that gives you an intense appreciation for proximity to your own bathroom.
So as I prepped with purchase of enemas, Gatorade and laxatives, the purchase of an AARP membership moved further from my scope of attention. After the procedure, I didn’t give that AARP membership another thought. That’s because I was too busy celebrating the “excellent prep work by patient” notation on my colonoscopy discharge papers. Take that, haters. I was no longer full of shit.
A few months later – and just about the time I was done with Physical Therapy for my Achilles — I started having some back pain. The pain was similar to what I experienced in 2007, when I had to have back surgery for a degenerative disc. After a visit to urgent care and a week of pain killers, anti-inflammatories, and muscle relaxers, I went to the ER because I wasn’t feeling better. In fact, the pain was worse.
So, the meds got stronger, I was sent for an x-ray, and I wished I had saved some of those colonoscopy prep materials. Because those anti-inflammatories and pain killers should be in a pharmaceutical category called clog-you-uppers.
AARP kept sending me reminder mailings about membership, but I was too busy trying to function while being looped out on meds that I didn’t do anything about it. Plus, I was focusing on the letter I had received from my doctor letting me know the x-ray revealed arthritis in my spine and we could chat about that at my next check up.
I was sent for more Physical Therapy to assess and then deal with my back issue. Lucky me – it’s only a bulging disc, pinched sciatic nerve, and severe sciatica. I have no feeling on the left side of my left foot because of the pinched nerve. But I get to keep wearing my tennis shoes with inserts, and at least no one has prescribed orthopedic oxfords.
The cherry on this sundae of “damn, girl, you’re old!”? During my PT treatments for my bulging disc, they put me on a rack, strap me in, and chain it to my body. Then the table separates, which elongates my spine to relieve the pressure of the bulging disc. It’s like 50 Shades of PT. Only, no sex. And no drinking.
So I finally gave in. I signed up online for an AARP membership:
With 50 comes wisdom…and membership benefits. Because if you’re gonna be medicated, poked, prodded — and constipated — you might as well at least get a discount at The Outback for your trouble. Am I right?