I was holding my dog Lely on the cold steel table as her male Veterinarian explained female dog incontinence. That was the first time the phrase “at a certain age” was indirectly directed at me. He gave me a “you know what I mean” look and apparently I must have had a look similar to that of a middle school aged boy when you ask him “What’s that smell?” because the vet took it further and said “As you know, all females at a certain age experience incontinence.” He said it with a weird smile on his face.
My expression went from blank to “oh. okay. We were just talking about my dog. Now we’re talking about me? How’d that happen? I’m so confused. Are you flirting with, wait, no, that’s disgusting. Are you trying to insult me? Breathe In, Breathe Out. Maybe he’s trying to find common ground between me, him, and Lely. But why? I get female dog incontinence! There’s really no need to make any personal identification with me and the dog, Dr. Vet. I’m fully capable of understanding her problems without having you draw bizarre and tenuous parallels between us, OKerrrrrrr? What would he have said if my husband had brought the dog in? “You know, it’s like when your wife pees her pants.”
The next time my age and medical issues were inextricably married was at the eye doctor. I had something scratchy on my retina, and the doctor came in, put my head in a vice, removed the shard of glass from my eyeball and said, “At your age, you’ll be wearing glasses soon.” He turned toward the nurse in the room, and said “Put a bandage on her eye and then come in the next room as soon as you’re done.” On my eye she taped on a bandage as big as a maxi pad, and that along with the numbing drops caused me to question if I was alright to drive. “Sure!” said the jovial doctor, and I drove home peering through one eye, leaning dangerously close to the steering wheel with my hazards on the entire way home. I may have heard a car horn or two but I’m not sure if they were for me or the people driving like maniacs on the road.
That was several years ago, but more recently I started having knee pain, both knees. I thought it strange, so I made an appointment to see my doctor who is like twenty-nine years old and weighs 115 pounds and just had a baby last week. I really love her, though; she’s a great listener and cares. But this day, she asked me to hop up on the exam table, hop? Ok, I’ll get up there as gracefully as I can. She asked me to extend my legs out and then bend them. I did that several times for her, and then, with a straight face she told me that the reason for my recent knee pain was because my inner thighs were weaker than my outer thighs. Seriously?
I’m painfully well aware of my inner thigh dilemma. No news flash here. Since I was eleven years old, I knew my inner thighs were my Achille’s heel; they were weak, easily moved, and didn’t give a damn about inner strength. I have worked and worked on those things for years, but not even Jane Fonda, in my twenties, could make much headway with my adductor group muscle tone. They’d never given my knees a problem before.
I wanted to test my inner thigh strength by putting said doctor’s head betwixt my knees, her head facing away from me because that would be really weird otherwise, and squeezing. Just a little, I don’t want to hurt her too bad. If she said, “ouch”, then we’d know my inner thighs were fine and we’d need to find another reason that my 50-something year old knees stopped working properly.
Look, I’m tired, and I’m not even sure why I’m writing this article. I’ve walked into the kitchen with a roll of toilet paper for the second time, and I’m not sure why. And when I drive and don’t know where I’m going, I have to turn down the radio so I can see better. Doesn’t everyone? I don’t like all these weird bits and bops, and cracks, and bumps, and blurry eyes, and one deaf ear, and achy knees. Oh, and no, I’m not incontinent. Only when I laugh, sneeze, or breathe. I do take a cocktail of ginkgo biloba, zinc, and Centrum Silver because if I don’t, I might forget what I’m writ…