Disabled List by Sharon Silverman

Senior Citizen, Elder, Geezer, Golden Ager –I’m one of them but still feel about 45 – well, maybe 50.  Birth certificates, crows’ feet, and neck wrinkles don’t lie.  I’m 72.

Way back when I was 55, I learned how to ride a Honda CB350. I rode it roundtrip from Sydney to Brisbane.  “So there AARP!  Keep your magazine!”   Back then, I was deep in a long distance relationship – Chicago to Sydney is definitely LONG DISTANCE. No aches and pains.  No fears or hesitations to try anything new. I ignored voices warning of motorbike accidents or the possible ramifications of unprotected sex.  Well, I did worry about that one.   Should I have trusted my Australian lover during those long periods of separation?

Fast forward ten years.  I don’t feel old, but at this certain age Medicare premiums are proof to the contrary.  Only my healthcare providers need know.  I’m having the time of my life!

A new love appears.   I am now 66 and still “young”.   How many 66 year olds find a new love?  “AARP, you can keep that card and those discounts for old people.”

Traveling the world, starting my own consulting practice, horseback riding with my grandson, skiing down a black diamond ski slope – is this what an old Geezer does?  I couldn’t really be 66 years old.

Fast forward six more years.  WAIT! What is that ache in my knee?  It seems to be getting worse.  Sometimes, I have to stop walking altogether and rest.  Other times I can’t continue at all.  Walks in the woods to see the autumn colors are no longer appealing. Even my beloved bike riding is at risk.  Each turn of the wheel brings stabs to my knee. I’m now on the disabled list.

My friends are having knees and hips replaced.  Maybe it’s my turn.  Repeated consultations show I do have a knee problem, but it’s not yet “bone on bone”.  I guess that’s good.  Try physical therapy, take an Aleve.  You aren’t a candidate for knee replacement.”

Previous bouts with physical therapy never really helped, so I’m doubtful.  Even so, I discover Pam, physical therapist extraordinaire, and start regular treatment sessions.  Voila – after many months, my knee is about 90%.  Good enough for me, for walking in the woods again, and for traipsing through Italy with my grandson where we walked more than five miles daily for two weeks this past summer!

Still I’m reminded that disabilities may develop at any time.  My recurring urinary tract infections have now morphed into “overactive bladder”.   I can’t live through those stinging symptoms and the ever frequent urge to void.   Can this be fixed?  Find another specialist – a uro-gynecologist.  Who knew there was such a specialty?  At first I wonder if this means he’s from Europe or maybe his fees are in euros.  I tell him, I don’t want to go through every day thinking about my crotch?”  “Of course, he answers, only adolescent boys want to do that!”  I found the right doctor!

My overactive bladder is now resting.  Knee pain has abated.  Celebrex, Norvasc, Zocor, and baby aspirin help me stay healthy and keep off that dreaded “disabled list”.


2 thoughts on “Disabled List by Sharon Silverman

  1. I loved hearing Sharon read this essay in class. Thank you for publishing it here on Back Story Essays — gave me a chance to take the ride all over again.



  2. perfectly wonderful. i’ve been thinking a lot about these things, as i’ve been felled for a MONTH with one awful thing after another. i feel something undeniable creeping in from the margins. or maybe a month of being sick has just clouded my vision……thanks for the wonderful ride in these paragraphs…..


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