Get The Picture? By Sherry Hopkins

Published 12:00 am Friday, February 5, 2010


Getting old should come with extra pay for hardship

February is upon us and it is the longest short month of the year. Gray is not my favorite color and this month is inevitably filled with cold gray days. The grayer the day the grumpier the mood.

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But this story is not about gray days; it is about getting older and the negative changes that happen to us along the way.

I have been suffering from some sort of hamstring inflammation that is very painful and prevents me from sitting and or standing for any period of time. A year or so ago when this first struck I went to the doctor and with a great deal of alarm and urgency he sent me straight to the ER in Oxford. He claimed I had a blood clot that would kill me instantly, and perhaps momentarily, if not attended to.

As it turned out, after expensive testing and much hand-wringing and consulting, I did not have a blood clot and was in fact in no immediate danger. That was the good news.

The bad news is this malady strikes with no notice and can put me out of commission for weeks. I don’t function well being sedentary and having someone attend to me. I don’t take pain medication and muscle relaxers make me even loopier than I already am. But that is a problem for Dear Don, when I am forced to take them, and not so much me.

Anyway I am in the third week of the “hamstring syndrome” and although it is getting better each day I still am forced to watch my every move for fear of relapse.

Dear Don is home this week because he, too, is suffering from his own problems. He has a groin-area hernia that is aggravated by standing all day and quick movements and is made worse by being at work. So he decided to take a few of his gazillion vacation days to try and rest up and treat this problem before surgical intervention is necessary.

We are both in foul moods about our issues and the moods are made worse by the February weather.

But we will recover I guess. I hope. And if we don’t kill one another this week all will be back to normal here. As normal as it can get here.

I will leave you with these two stories that will convince you that old age is not for sissies.

My sister sent me an e-mail last week with this story. She was up and getting dressed on a Saturday morning and just as she started to put on her socks the phone rang. She got up to answer and after the conversation went back to finish putting on her socks. Well she could only find one sock. She looked high and low and retraced her steps and still no sock. After giving up she happened to look at her feet. There on one foot was the sock that had escaped her. They say short-term memory is the first to go.

This morning I stepped into the shower with my back to the spray. I closed my eyes and just let the warm embracing water envelop me. After a minute or so I opened my eyes and I could not see. It seemed as though my eyes were flooded or needed wipers or something. In an instant I panicked. “I’m blind,” I thought.  “How will I get out of the shower, get dressed, get to Dear Don to tell him? What will happen now? I won’t be able to cook, clean, drive or shop.”

In that instant I was paralyzed with fear. I then put my hands to my face to try and wipe at my eyes to perhaps improve the problem and that is when I discovered that I still had on my glasses. Yes, short-term memory is the first thing to go. You get the picture?

(Contact Sherry at