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INTERESTING STUFF – 16 December 2017

Crabby Old Lady and the Things They Don't Tell You About Getting Old

Crabby Old Lady will be here in a moment but for a few sentences this is me, Ronni. After I wrote today's post, members of the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted on Friday to kill Net Neutrality. A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about what that then impending vote, if passed, would mean for you and me.

Answer: more expensive internet services for all of us and in the case of small blogs like this one or startup businesses counting their pennies, having your website "throttled" (slowed down) if you don't pay big fee. It's now law of the land.

This vote was taken, by the way, even though more than a million FAKE comments were found at the FCC website supporting repeal.

We'll talk about this more next week. Meanwhile, there are rumblings of at least one state attorney general and a number of public interest political organizations that oppose repeal will be suing to repeal the repeal. Some hope. Maybe.

* * *

There are all kinds of things they don't tell people about growing old. Throughout the midyears, most people sort of know it's mostly old people who are afflicted with cancer, heart disease and diabetes, for example. In fact, they are even called “diseases of age”.

But most convince themselves that such events are too far in the future to cause concern and anyway, it won't be me, says everyone.

Today, however, Crabby Old Lady is talking about the relatively benign afflictions that accompany old age – they won't kill you but they are massively annoying, and they never go away.

Let's start with hair: ear hair, nose hair, thin hair, no hair. Ear hair shows up mostly on men and Crabby had assumed that was true for nose hair too. Wrong. If she is not vigilant, it could grow long enough to braid.

More men appear to be bald than women but Crabby is catching up. The hair on the back of her head was becoming so thin that a couple of years ago she took to collecting hats and mostly does not leave home without wearing one. Lately, however, the loss is worsening.

Undoubtedly Crabby Old Lady should be grateful that chemotherapy hasn't made her bald (yet), but that place on the back of her head and now her front hairline are becoming thinner by the day – a lot more skin showing that hair.

This hair misery gets its own paragraph. It's amazing how fast these isolated – three or four at a time – hairs appear dotted across Crabby's chin and pulling them out with a tweezer causes big-time pain.

This wasn't a problem for most of her life and even though she finally found a specialized razor that works quite well, Crabby resents the need to keep up with those stray hairs.

When she was a kid, Crabby longed for smooth unblemished skin but I was stuck with freckles, little brown spots that she believed then were unattractive at best, ugly at worst.

Life goes on and sometimes you find a way to accommodate disappointments. In this case, when Crabby learned of age spots that commonly turn up on the backs of the hands of old people, she thought, “Oh, goodie. When I get old, age spots will hide the freckles."

The flaw in that thinking is obvious and anyway, no one would confuse age spots with freckles. Crabby doesn't like either one but she honestly doesn't care nowadays. It is one of the great benefits of old age - not caring about all sorts of things anymore.

For most of Crabby's adult life, she believed it was men who couldn't get through the night without two or three or more trips to the bathroom.

It's been about ten years since she was disabused of that error. Unless Crabby is the only one, it's women too.

This wasn't as important before cell phones started using fingerprint ID technology. Did you know that old people can lose their fingerprints? As reported here four or five years ago,

”...the elasticity of skin decreases with age, so a lot of senior citizens have prints that are difficult to capture,” reported Scientific American.

“The ridges get thicker; the height between the top of the ridge and the bottom of the furrow gets narrow, so there's less prominence. So if there's any pressure at all [on the scanner], the print just tends to smear.”

This also happens to people like bricklayers and tilers whose fingers have been worn flat.

It seems as soon as a new security technology comes along, there is a glitch its creator didn't take into consideration. Already with cell phone facial recognition, the wrong people's faces are being identified as correct.

Undoubtedly you can come up with more irritating afflictions that Crabby Old Lady has overlooked: eye floaters and tinnitus come to mind. And there there is this: when some new malady manifests itself, it can be hard to know if it requires a doctor visit or is just some new aggravation about which there's nothing to be done.

It's not as if the late actor Bette Davis didn't warn us: “Old age ain't for sissies,” she said.


Bette was right. We've all known that for a long time. And the world's reverence for the beautiful, rich and youthful only compounds things.

I would add to the list of complaints, the increasing difficulty of being able to do things like open jars and read the print on almost any container anymore. It seems as though manufacturers must be going out of their way to squeeze more words into less space, reducing the print to an impossibly small font. We keep several magnifying glasses around and couldn't get along without them.

I hate chin hairs! I always seem to find them while I'm in the car going some place. I finally put a pair of tweezers in the car. There is something about the light that makes them show up better than in the bathroom.

Trump's administration is sure a boom for lawyers. A lot of state attorneys are lining up to sue over Net Neutrality. Ticks me off how much negative change his administration is causing.

I have all the same afflictions (except thinning hair) and tinnitus for the last 30 years. In addition to the excess facial hair I might add pubic hairs that grow far from their normal field, like at the knee or on my arm.....LOL

Teeth, no one ever told me I'd become one of those tooth sucking old people. I can't live without a toothpick these days.

Yes, I've often wondered why nobody told me anything about much of anything that they surely knew about. This panoply of subjects includes aging. Was mom right when she said, "If you knew about all the trials ahead, you wouldn't get out of bed in the morning," ? Like everything, it's about balance, surely some information would have been helpful.

I'm getting long in the tooth as my gums recede.

The most annoying for me is skin tags! Well that and facial hair. Found it really interesting about fingerprints though.

And speaking of TEETH! Whoever, in deciding what Medicare and other insurances would pay for, decreed that eyes, ears and teeth were not parts of the human body and therefore not worthy of medical care? I'm sure there are millions of people like me-- just squeaking by with the high cost of health insurance , DESPITE Medicare-- who are having to forego restorative dental work, hearing aids and even glasses. I am complaining for all the others: I am lucky that I can find inexpensive glasses, (the exam is part of my glaucoma check-up) and can still hear well, but oh! those teeth! I had hoped my teeth would outlive me, but obviously they didn't listen, and I'm swiftly turning into that caricatured gap-toothed old woman.

Needing toothpicks, forgetting words and chin hairs are daily reminders that I am now seventy. But I also agree it is hard to discern between the body aches and pains resulting from aging body or something that needs a doctor.

Going in, getting the issue checked, being told there is nothing wrong and not getting any resolution is very frustrating. Meanwhile there is always a pill

Teeth and the price of dentists. You forgot to mention teeth, eyes, and toes. Can you reach yours? I can reach one leg but not the other.

Insomnia: The New Sixty writes of Julie Chen's cure...which seems to work.

Great post, Ronnie and most of it brought forth a good chuckle stemming from solidarity. I too, have had those pesky chin hairs for many years and discovered that a once in the morning shave alongside my husband, works until the 5 pm shadow arrives. If going out for the evening, another shaving session is required. But, tears came to my eyes thinking about ( and myself included) seniors not covered by medicare, losing teeth, hence gap-toothed and unable to pay to have a replacement. I don't want to spend $6,000 and go through an implant. So, instead of a gap, something called a flipper is worth looking into if anyone is in the same situation. Not perfect, but makes me feel comfortable when out and about. Funny thing about how all the members of Congress and the Senate have complete coverage, dentail, hearing and it goes. With humor, that's the only way we can deal with all that comes our way and thank you for always providing the facts and a sense of irony. Love your posts, keep them coming! Cheers, Karin

As a man who had a father and older (15 years older) brother, I sort of knew what to expect when I too would grow old. What I did not expect was how much independence I would lose as the years go by.
I never expected that i would no longer be able to drive or no be able to walk more than a couple of blocks, or that my finances would be as thin as my hair.
And, while we are getting personal, how many of you guys out there have noticed significant "shrinkage?"

I was 70 years old when I visited a youth in prison. The security check involved amongs other rituals, the registration of my finger print/s . We tried , and tried. the thumb, the index finger from the right hand , the left. NO JOY.
OH let her go says the superior guard to the younger one . She is old enough...

Old enough for what was my silent intimidated thought....
Rina Rosselson

What an excellent post!

I've never heard that diabetes is a disease of age. I 've had gestational diabetes for many years. It occurs in women who've had unusually large babies, such as my 10 pound 2 ounce first child.

I do have chin hair and generally shave it off every morning.

Getting up in the middle of the night to pee is tricky because I'm usually lying with my husband and my cat cuddled up on either side. Getting back into bed is also challenging.

In terms of hair on my head, I'm fortunate that I have lots of it and that it has turned completely white.

@ Cathy, I keep a cheap opener to remove lids from cans in my kitchen. If I have trouble getting a lid off, I just ask my husband.

I keep tweezers by my computer and when I am reading a long article I grab them and start pulling chin whiskers. I manage to keep my 'mustache' and 'beard in check that way.

I no longer have to shave my legs or underarms; nor do I have to use deodorant so that's a positive.

Being able to put on my shoes and socks is a challenge that I am losing.

Having to rely on someone else to do the things I was always able to do for myself is my biggest complaint.

My skin is now a mess with kinetic keratoses popping up all over my body along with those ugly brown growths that appear for no reason.

Having to rest between simple chores is time consuming. Standing for more that 15 minutes is painful.

And Insomnia has been a constant battle for many years.

Is there more? Oh yeah, but that's enough whinging for one post.

RE the net neutrality vote: Congress has 60 days in which they can overturn the FCC vote with a "Resolution of Disapproval" (if we can convince them to do it). Also, as you noted, several possible lawsuits pending.

Ah, the chin hairs. I have a few that would become full-blown black whiskers if I didn't pluck them (tweezers and small magnifying mirror always beside my laptop). However, I'm rapidly losing hair on top and have none left in my armpits. It all seems to be migrating south ...

For opening jar lids, I have a couple of rubber "pancakes." So far, they've worked well when I've needed them. But at some point, not having anyone else here may become a problem. I've already had to threaten a few pill bottles with hammer or pliers.

Have plenty of hair on the head (but know many friends with thinning hair),but agree on the chin hair problem. But how about the thin skin on hands and arms that bruise almost from a touch and gouge from an easy poke. Ordinary bandaids rip the skin again, so I have been buying the sensitive skin bandaids (and even those rip the skin a bit on the backs of my hands...)

Yup, all this sucks for me too. Rampant insensitive ageism is the worst and always blindsides me.

Thankfully, for every chin hair, there's my extra five minutes of patience with a bumbling bank teller or clerk. For every skin tag, I connect another dot and see the writing on the wall faster than my kids can. For every missing hair on my now pinkish head, there's an additional moment spent noticing how a weed looks great in flower. In other words, it's still a wash for me. Old is far better - except for the body stuff and ageism.

Tomorrow? Stay tuned... .

Losing words really scared me for a while. Still does, actually. When I hear someone using a word like "ameliorate" cavalierly, I realize that when I need the word "ameliorate," or "indulge," or need to use "rotating" rather than "revolving," I often have to stop the conversation completely, or start using a helpless kind of sign language, hoping that the person I am talking to will fill in the blanks. Hate it!

I also cannot remember a number, any number, longer that 3 seconds after I've heard it or read it. Two (or was it three - maybe one) minute after I've read "Simmer for 5 minutes," I am looking for the box or the package that I've just thrown out because the instructions are on the back of it. In very small print.


My tweezers are lined up like scythes beside a scary magnifying mirror in my office.

I think of Ruth Buzzi from "Laugh-In" when I stare into that mirror. After the initial shock wears off, the plucking begins. Which hair will I yank first? That is the question. It's all about seniority. Which hair has been there longest, is longest, is most prominent?

Mister GPS, walks into my office. I'm weeding chin hairs to the soothing sound of Marvin Gaye singing "Sexual Healing."

How romantic is that?

Mister GPS likes to ask me heavy duty questions while I'm plucking or brushing my teeth. Can he have the last piece of mom's apple crisp?

I think he does that on purpose.

Thankfully I have all my own teeth. Just got back from Doctor N my dentist who promised me for the millionth time that I will never lose my teeth. He calls me Ms. Floss. I am a flossing fiend.

Hair. I have a few, but then again, too few to mention. Doesn't bother me, but I get some weird comments, like one senior woman at the ILR tried to give me some potion that, according to her, would give me Janis Joplin hair within weeks.

I declined. Strange world indeed.

Brittle finger nails. Toe nails. Well, I can still trim my toe nails. Whoop de doo.

But notice how hard toenails get?

Here comes Mister GPS, see you later.

I had chemo last year, and my hair thinned out like yours has. It has since come back. Curly. I HATE IT! I've had straight hair for 71 years. I know what to do with straight hair. I don't know what to do with this weird stuff. If I get it cut short, it sticks up in odd places and I look like I have a finger in a light socket. If I let it grow longer, it rolls in different odd places, and I have perpetual bed head. I bought a conditioner that tames curly hair. It must be intended for normal curly hair because the stuff growing on my head just laughs at it. I'm curious to see if your hair comes back the way it was when it fell out or if it decides to play tricks on you too.

I'm two inches shorter but for some reason even though I'm closer to my feet, it's a real struggle to cut my toe nails. Who cuts toe nails these days? Do I have to have pedicures?
And even if I stretch and almost reach I can't see what I'm doing. So frustrating.

When I finally retired a couple years ago I decided to let my hair grow long after getting a layered cut that allowed my natural curly, or at least wavy hair, to emerge as I had always had it when short so many years. Sounds strange, but hair dresser here had me convinced my hair had lost its curl with gray hairs intruding as I aged. I never noticed she wasn’t cutting it in a layered manner. So I subjected myself to her back combing, curling iron, etc. needlessly. It always looked great and I simply didn't want to think about it. I also started having my full thick darkening and graying red hair get thinner for who knows for sure why, possibly several known and unknown factors. Anyway, she gave me a layered cut, was amazed at my natural curl and wave, though I had repeatedly said I had such hair. So, coinciding with my retirement, I decided to let my hair grow long, thinking if I could tolerate letting it get long enough, continued to lose hair, maybe I could have a wig , or a hair piece made with my own hair. I say, “tolerate” my long hair because long hair does not look good on me and I look much younger with short hair. Meanwhile, since I’m more readily recognized by strangers as being an old lady now, I sometimes, only when the need arises, will play the age card and don’t feel guilty doing so. My son says, “You earned the right, Mom!”

I've been lucky in that much of my superfine hair is still on my head and I have only the occasional unwelcome hair elsewhere--so far. My teeth are mostly intact although it must be genetic since I'm a denta-phobic and didn't have regular dental care until about 15 years ago. I've partially overcome the phobia but, ironically, now that I'm retired I can't afford dental work much beyond cleaning and basic maintenance, even with insurance. I'm fortunate that I can still reach my toes.

Hearing aids are ridiculously expensive; I've read that new technology should make less-pricey versions available in the next few years. I hear "well enough" so I'll be waiting. I've had some success with ordering glasses online--MUCH cheaper but they may not fit quite as well as when they're individually fitted.

Ah yes, old age in general. . .What I was definitely NOT prepared for was the complete disintegration of the rotator cuff in my right shoulder 2 years ago and a combination of back problems that worsened rather suddenly about 18 months ago. I'm no fan of pain or being physically limited in what I can do, but--to use an oft-repeated phrase--it is what it is, for now.

I don't remember who said this, but it's SO spot-on: if I'd known in my (misspent) youth that my body would have to last 80+ years, I'd probably have taken better care of it!

Yes, can identify with the facial hairs but had a "mustache" since I went through puberty....first I bleached and then had electrolysis which helped but now I just pluck. Even the white hairs are noticeable in the sunshine - I keep tweezers in the car as the light outside is the best to see them.

Have been using a special shampoo for thinning hair for years now and it has that my hair is silver I like it, but I do not like my silver eyebrows so used a colored gel but recently tried an eyebrow dye which should last for a month and I like it. When I quit dying my hair and it grew out it has a wave which makes it easier to care for.

My mouth was already full of teeth with crowns by my 50's as I was lucky to have had excellent dental insurance with employers.....also have flossed and kept up dental cleanings 2 x a year since my early 30's so no problems there.

I find I have to use a large nail clipper on my tough old toenails - also get pedicures occasionally. I do not like the arthritis in my hands, knees and pelvis, but as others have said, it is what it is.

To respond to Bruce's input......I have had "shrinkage" - from 5'5" to 5' 3" (ha) I'll take aging over the alternative at this point in my life.

Not being able to breathe through my nose and dry mouth that results at night. And recently I've been getting hives on top of the nasty winter itching that drives me crazy. That's on top of the thinning hair, digestive problems, insomnia, etc, etc, etc.

So, I'm a day late here. I thought of this overnight.

I read most of the comments yesterday and found many mentions of old age afflictions that I share. Today I did a search for the word "fart" on this page. Finding none, I am inspired to add the embarrassing affliction of increased, uncontrollable and highly audible farting to the list . Most commonly, I have been sitting somewhere for a while - - in a car, in church, at dinner, on an airplane -- when I begin to stand up I rip off a doozy.

Nothing can be done. It doesn't seem to matter how I eat. As best I can tell, there is no odor, though, which is a huge blessing. What can one do? Pretend it didn't happen? Laugh it off with a merry "oops!" Shrug and say, "sorry about that" ?

Are there any others who have this problem? What would you do?

Although I have all of my own teeth, they no longer seem to fit in my mouth as well as they used to. Sure enough, said my dental hygienist at my last checkup, the teeth do shift around and the inside of our mouths become flabbier as we age. Oh what fun.I keep biting the inside of my cheeks due to this aging thing.

Cataracts! Now those are something I have always associated with old people. Now that I have them, I definitely know that I am old! However, the good news is that they can be fixed and I'm right in the middle of that process with one eye done and the other will be finished this week. As much as the other issues mentioned (minus chin hair since I'm a male) dog me like all of you, I am thankful for the laser surgery and the astigmatism correcting lenses bringing my vision back to 20/20, just like I was as a young man. Now if only the other issues could be reversed so easily. As for the rigors of old age, I will suffer through them because I am oh so much better off now, aches and pains and all, because considering the spotty talent/aptitude tool box I was born with I'm dong great and I'd not bet on landing "Jelly Side Up" again if I were suddenly young in a do-over.

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