Monday, March 10, 2014

The AARP Says I'm Doomed

The February-March issue of AARP: The Magazine (fun reading, people! And I'm only a junior member, thankyouverymuch) has an exciting article titled "Tests That Could Save Your Life." As I may have mentioned twelve hundred times, I am very competitive and love the word "test" (the funniest example being the time Brunie and I leapt upon the Time magazine cover story "Are You Autistic? A Quiz"), so I had right at it:
  • Test #1: Name That Famous Face: I did quite well on this and don't have dementia — at least, according to this test. I routinely get in my car and drive somewhere I'm not going, so I wouldn't totally rule it out . . . but they didn't ask me about that.
  • Test #2: Assess Your Sleep Quality, a test for Parkinson's disease. My sleep has been more unsettled lately, but I blame Tam, night sweats, and leg cramps. It was interesting to see that constipation was a symptom of Parkinson's; I've gone a full 180 on that particular issue. Truly, you don't want to know (but in case you did, sister, I am fecund).
  • Test #3: Smell the Peanut Butter: I'm going to have Mom do this one with me when I'm in California (you can't administer it to yourself). She does have Parkinson's, which for her means no sense of smell at all, so she can't take the test, but she will be happy to aid her daughter in this quest. (It's a test for Alzheimer's; apparently, there are issues with smell long before memory problems occur. Fascinating!)
  • Test #4: Sit Down, Stand Up: Yeah, I was feeling smug till now. Alzheimer's, ha! Parkinson's, no way! I can smell anything, anywhere! Sometimes even things that aren't there! (Ask Husband how often I sniff him, trying to determine the source of a noxious odor.) But here's where it all falls apart for me. In theory, healthy adults in the 51–80 age range should be able to sit on the floor and get up again without needing assistance — including leaning on their own hand, forearm, or knee for support. Especially during my current crippled state, I need a lot of hand and knee help to get up . . . but even when I'm relatively healthy and strong, I'm still pretty sure I'd need some additional support to sit and stand. And what does this test detect? Early risk of death. I am doomed.
  • Test #5: Open That Jar: Apparently there's a clear relationship between grip strength and likelihood of future disability. My hands are very strong, so I'm good here. Not that it matters, since I'm dying soon anyway. Howdy, Grim Reaper! I'll be right there, just let me open this jar for my daughter — my flexible long-living daughter who has the grip strength of a hamster. Hrrumph.
In other news, I have felt so joyfully optimistic since my successful subbing job on Friday! Which is good, because this knee injury has really gotten me down (my mood goes down, my weight goes up . . . sigh). I plan to be extremely devoted with my physical therapy whilst in California and then be all healed and ready to rock when I'm back on the 20th — just in time for all the snow around here to have melted! This is my dream. And whether I'll go back to zumba right away (I am so scared of re-injury), try tai chi instead, or engage in daily walking, I don't know — we'll see what feels right.

Errands today, including buying new jeans that fit right (I have a gift card), which will be fun, and pulling together health-care-expense info for our tax accountant — less fun, per se, but satisfying in its own way.

Ah, and look — it's snowing again. Mom says it will be 70 degrees in Chico when I'm there. I can't even wrap my head around this.

Off to find a high-fiber low-cal breakfast and maybe do some physical therapy before my errands. I am motivated!

— Lady C, who plans to walk on the sunny side of the street for many more decades, AARP be damned

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