embracingAt some point in time we each must face our aging selves. Oh I suppose there are some who manage to somehow ignore it, and there are those who work feverishly to avoid it, but most of us are rational beings and we must confront that we are time is now becoming limited. Our lives are measured in a couple of decades and perhaps some change.

One can cower in fear of course, and do what the Hollywood types do–everything under heaven and earth to mask one’s true age. That works I suppose at least for a while, obscuring our outsides to not reflect our insides. But it changes nothing. It works no better than refusing to divulge one’s age.

One can respond in the Scarlet O’Hara fashion: “I can’t think about that right now. If I do I’ll go crazy. I’ll think about that tomorrow.” Except tomorrow never comes.

Or we come to terms with the truth. Time is running out.

That’s a very special lesson, and one that is essential to the good life I believe, since it should move us to a calm serene place wherein we resolve to make the best of every moment from there on. And that is a lesson that would serve us well if we had learned it decades earlier.

Life fully and live in the moment.

But there is another lesson I just learned.

A few days ago I had some oral surgery to remove some teeth and replace them with implants. I approached this with trepidation to be sure, all of which was silly since the procedure was only mildly uncomfortable and when the numbness wore off, I ended up with no pain and could have saved myself the cost of the pain meds I had gotten at the pharmacy.

But another thing happened.

I was also prescribed an antibiotic and a steroid that reduces inflammation. I took those of course as directed. And an amazing thing occurred.

Let me explain.

I have the usual aging form of arthritis. I call it that, since my joints don’t either swell or ache. It is not all over by any means, being located mostly in one hip and my lower back. Even with all the exercise that I am fairly religious about, getting up and walking the first twenty steps or so is painful as the stiffness makes me look like a little-old lady, something I am not quite entitled to age.

Anyway, a medicate with Aleve which dulls the stiffness a bit, but not nearly enough. I had reconciled myself to the condition–this is just what one deals with as one ages, I thought.

But the steroid I was taking, immediately ended all my stiffness. A day later, the surgeon called to check up on my progress and I asked him was it the steroid. He confirmed this, telling me that the steroid prescribed was an anti-inflammatory. Unfortunately he said that it had a nasty side effect of decreasing in effectiveness over time, making it necessary to take more and more to achieve the same result.

In other words, it becomes addictive. So enjoy the comfort while it lasts, and then go to Advil as the best over-the-counter remedy.

I am sad that I can’t maintain this level of suppleness for long, yet I have learned a couple of lessons.

One is that the last couple of days, I have woken up happy and exuberant. I was sleeping better. I was more comfortable in bed. The second was that because arthritis comes upon us slowly over years, we lose our good feeling so slowly, that we fail to realize just how hurting our body has become.

That is a very good thing. We don’t notice our aches and pains nearly as much when they creep up on us slowly over a few years. It also reminded me, that I was living very well before I felt so much better, so I know I’m resilient and positive about the future most of the time.

It also pointed me in the direction of finding the best answer to manage my stiffness. While it may be Advil (an ibuprofen medication), it might turn out to be something else. I have shared my situation with my Facebook friends and elicited their help for what works for them. You would be surprised what you learn. One friend for instance had parents, both writers who wrote of  pharmaceutical matters. Another knew of a possible over-the-counter drug from Canada. One must of course be careful about things such as this and make sure one seeks advice from a physician before entering upon a treatment involving unknown substances.

Aging presents new challenges, but ones that keep us actively seeking to learn new things and hopefully allow us to continue the journey with vigor and joy.

Be well.