Fayette County News

Fayette County


Senior Moments

Lynn Horton is a freelance writer and editor who in another lifetime taught English and Creative Writing at McIntosh High School and later worked in the Starr’s Mill High School Media Center.
Lynn Horton is a freelance writer and editor who in another lifetime taught English and Creative Writing at McIntosh High School and later worked in the Starr’s Mill High School Media Center.

My morning routine for the past 10 years is one that never varies. When I wake, usually by 6 a.m. and without an alarm, I reach for the pain medication on my bedside table and with the nighttime glass of water not completely empty (dry mouth syndrome), I take the first of the 12 pills my old body will need to keep it running more or less smoothly during the day. Then, into the kitchen, turn on the coffeemaker, put two “Bed Buddies” into the microwave and while I wait for the two minute timer and for the coffee to perk, I add artificial sugar (Truvia) and a dollop of plain milk to my mug…the one which reads “She Who Must Be Obeyed.” The timer dings, I pour my coffee and Bill’s, (into a Georgia Tech mug), if he is awake and stirring, carry the warm pads and hot coffee back to the bedroom where I plump my two pillows (yes, one is a My Pillow), and snuggle back in bed where I will read for an half hour or more, waiting for the medication, the coffee, the book, and the heat to do their magic. There are days when, because I am retired, I fall asleep again and wake when Bill suggests it might be time to get up because “Daylight’s burning” or because my book has fallen on my face and has smushed my reading glasses uncomfortably into my nose!
Going back to sleep, taking that early morning cat nap, is something younger, working folks just can’t do. Oh, they can punch the snooze button which gives them a few more hurried moments of sleep, but only on Saturday can they “sleep in.” Oh No! The kids have a soccer game at 9 a.m. and on Sunday, they need to set that alarm again so as not to be late for church!
Retirement, then, is the greatest difference older adults enjoy over younger, married, working folk. Raising kids is the other biggie. While we adore our grandchildren, we cannot imagine still having to get up in the middle of the night with a croupy kid, or reliving the nights when the clock ticked past midnight and Cinderella wasn’t home. No cell phone to check on the missing child was available “back then,” in the technological Dark Ages. Many parents (myself included) have been known to get in the car, in pajamas, and drive to the home of the friend they were supposed to be visiting. Or maybe you would casually drive-by the “drive-in” snack bar they usually frequented after whatever event they were supposedly attending. It was complicated, but what was the choice?
Yes, I have most of the gadgets that younger folks have: Cell phone, IPad, Notepad, Big Fat ear-phones, Smart T.V. (much smarter than I), and a laptop (with 599 unopened messages). The generations after my Baby Boomer group are far more apt at operating the aforementioned appliances. In “my day” an appliance fried an egg, chilled jello, whipped egg whites, or washed your clothes and dishes! They rarely “died” and never asked for a @$&# Password!!
We do get some cool Senior discounts. Free Gym memberships if you are a member of Humana’s Silver Sneakers, free small drinks at Wendy’s, reduced movie tickets (but who goes to the movies since Paul Newman died?). We also no longer pay School Tax, which is fair and very helpful since our city now has Storm Water Drainage fees.
We enjoy Senior Menus in many restaurants: Our favorite is IHOP. This is one of the only places we can both eat for less than $20 including tip. Well, there is Wendy’s where we can each have a Jr Cheeseburger Deluxe from the Value Menu, share a large order of Fries, have two free drinks, add two small Frosties, and still get change from a Ten! Sure, we do watch our pennies more carefully than the younger families we know who eat out far more times during the week than do we (which is maybe once). Even our grandchildren seem to use Chic-Fil-A and Pizza Hut like a second kitchen!
Fortunately for those younger folks, they usually do not have the aches and pains that come with getting old. We understand now why we believed our old aunts and uncles were such grouches. It is hard to keep a smile on your face when your old bones and muscles ache with chronic back pain from degenerative spinal discs or from arthritis pain which no OTC pill or blue jelly rub will cure. Young bodies are to be celebrated, not tortured by wearing 6” heels or with work out regimens that turn young men and women into cartoon character super heroes with bulging muscles and unnatural physiques.
And finally us older folks, dear, sweet friends, more often will face what Bill must face: the rigors of surgery and the hours and days, weeks, even months of radiation, chemotherapy and finally the physical therapy it takes in order to get well and to live out the remainder of a happy, healthier, “natural life.” Young and old alike are, of course, sometimes subject to health scares, to chronic illnesses, and all ages must suffer watching loved ones hurt.
We have learned that there is one universal treatment for all disease, pain, fear and loneliness. Prayer. A relationship with God who truly loves us. And while He may not answer our prayers the way we want, He always offers comfort and help. We have received an inordinate amount of that help from friends and family. My daughters, their families, and Bill’s sister Marjorie have offered the daily support necessary to keep our home running smoothly and to get us here and there to the many, many appointments necessary for treatment. God bless them, and God bless all of you who offer prayers. We love you.
There are times when I certainly admit to envying the young, but I don’t think I have ever felt such love as I have felt in this autumn season of our lives. I believe Bill would agree.