Warning: Do not look for laughs in my blog today......it is all very heartfelt stuff......I do not often deal with me and the nitty-gritty of advanced age in these pages, but once in a while I just feel like talking to you about what is on my mind without trying to amuse or make light of things. If that idea does not appeal to you, just skip this one and try me again next time. I'll still love ya.
What a week! I hardly know how to begin to describe it all. For one thing, I had an appointment at the Department of Motor Vehicles this week.....a very special one........not to sit down and ace the written test of silly driving rules, nor to struggle through the dreaded eye test with my one working eye, nor to grapple white knuckled with the damned, infernal driving test with an always hostile inspector diligently annotating my every minute transgressions only to finally stagger to the window where the wretched photo gets taken....the one you have to live with for the next four or five years. No, this was very different.
My drivers' license is expiring next week and I, in my infinite wisdom, decided there would be no more memorizing of the eye chart to make up for the eye that doesn't see ....no more enduring the annoyance of having to get my Retinologist to specify and authenticate the degree of my ability to see large objects and traffic signs with my "good" eye, no more putting up with the insolence of those driving inspectors just to be granted official permission to operate an automobile for the next year or two......especially when I would not have the poor judgment or the guts to get behind a wheel and endanger my own life not to mention a few others by propelling my vehicle onto a public street or highway. No, after about 70 consecutive years of having an official drivers' license, it was finally time to settle for just a DMV Identification Card. My driving days were officially over.
This is usually the moment when I have read that other people go ballistic and bonkers over the loss of their "Independence"......I say, "Bullshit". I feel nothing of the sort. I have been very content for the past few years of my failing eyesight to let my caregivers chauffeur me all over the place while I relax happily in the passenger seat just giving an occasional order or suggestion now and then. And, during those night hours and the day when I am alone and on my own I have not once wrung my hands and railed against being unable to run out to the market and pick up more Twizzlers when I have just consumed the last one in the bag and there are no more in the cupboard. Amazingly, I have found that I can placidly accept the fact that I can somehow survive for another day without them. (even though that idea would have been unthinkable a few years ago......what?...trapped in the house with no Twizzlers?......aaaarrrrrggghhh......total loss of sanity and control immediately following the realization.)
In the same way, you keep hearing about people protesting wildly the loss of their dignity when forced to don one of those funny paper gowns in a Doctor's office that always reveal a good glimpse of your fanny or what some call their private parts (what a silly term) to anyone around. Or having to suffer the awful shame of calling for a bedpan the Hospital. That is all such a load of crap. Having weird hangups about exposing ones naked body to professionals who have seen one or two of them during their careers has nothing to do with one's actual sense of dignity. Having once been so painfully shy and lacking in self esteem that I chose to slink down alleys rather than walk along the streets where I might encounter a passerby who might happen to look at me (and, I feared, silently judge me to be inadequate), I can understand someone's reluctance to expose themselves to strangers on the grounds of shyness, vulnerability due to low self worth or a mistaken ordering of priorities . But I reject the idea that it has anything to do with loss of dignity. But, to yank myself back from this meandering digression, I do not feel like I have lost my independence by surrendering my right to drive a motor vehicle. I am not confined by bars and I can still think freely, express my cockamamie thoughts freely and, if necessary, call for help to somebody on the Internet. One of you would surely respond, wouldn't you? I may be a little hampered here and there, but I am still independent, goddammit.
However, today I did feel a slight loss of independence when I had to have Ann, my caregiver, read me the questions and fill in my answers on a form demanding that I report for Jury Duty or else and, if not why not? (easy....I am, 86, pretty damned blind and also considerably disabled unless you consider schlepping around like Quasimodo to be a perfectly fine way of getting places.) Of course, I offered this very pedestrian reason rather than tell them the truth which is that I would make the world's worst juror, being dreadfully judgmental, horribly opinionated, totally in favor of capital punishment for all offenses including spitting on the floor and writing poor grammar and misspellings. I would never be selected to sit on any jury so why waste everyone's time and the governments money?
I have a taste of this particular loss of independence whenever I have to have Ann or Florence fill out a form for me in a doctor's office or find my pen when I have dropped it on the floor, or even when the Parking Lot attendant asks for 45 cents more than the $6 I have offered and I just dig out a fistful of change from my wallet and have my helper find the quarter and dimes among the stuff I am holding. That sort of thing does sometimes make me a bit cross but that irritation is immediately drowned out by gratitude that I am so lucky as to have someone who can "see" for me.
Here's a bit of Lo's wisdom on this subject.........to survive the perils of old age and still enjoy life you damn well have to get your priorities in the right order.
And now, on other fronts, I am thrilled and proud to report that I have survived the first week of the FastDiet which consisted of 5 days of eating whatever I wanted and 2 separate random days of my choice in which I consumed only 500 calories per day and all the non caloric liquids my rotund little body wanted or could hold. It has been a fascinating experience.......mind blowing and eye opening.
As I mentioned in my earlier post when I bravely committed to try this regimen, I have never had much trouble in actual fasting as long as I did not let a taste of food pass my lips. (once tasting a morsel actvates a monster who will eat YOU if you happen to be unfortunate or foolish enough to be obstructing my path to
Food. My only discomfort when fasting occurs around 5 pm when I notice an uncomfortable hollow feeling in my middle which I asssume is what people call hunger. I do not know from hunger. I only know from craving. For one thing, I noticed that time sort of stretches out when you are fasting.....you find yourself with all that time that you usually spend either eating, thinking of eating, preparing or obtaining food and then wishing you hadn't eaten all that whatever-it-was before you begin thinking about what you are going to eat tomorrow. If Einstein had gone on a fast when he was formulating his theory of Relativity this odd time situation would have blown his ideas out of the water or set him on a completely different path. Heaven only knows what he might have come up with when he discovered that time expands when you fast. (hmmm, I seem to recall in my one failed effort to understand that theory that it had something to do with time expanding when you move fast....I am now wondering if someone misinterpreted the meaning of "fast"....well, nevermind.....).
As for nourishment and food....in my mind they have no connection to
each other whatsoever. However, eating out of boredom, eating for
comfort, using food as a tranquilizer to assuage anxiety...oh
yeah......those are all the real reasons I eat. I realize I NEVER
eat for nourishment. And so it was this week that I learned lots of
things about me and food and ithas been quite enlightening.
On the days following my modified fasts I found I felt very good, did not wake up ravenous or dive headlong into the frig or cupboard for some delicacy to stuff in my face. I was, as usual, not hungry since I had not yet put a morsel of food into my mouth and I actually called for my breakfast around noon after I had checked my email and several Stock Market chart services and spent several hours making sure that the stock market had not eaten all of my nest egg since the previous day. I was however, I noticed, very happy that I was looking forward to being able to eat whatever I wanted whenever I wanted it that day and I really enjoyed my toasted cinnamon bagel. Yum. I found that I craved and consumed just about what I ordinarily eat each day....perhaps even a bit less.
And, amazingly, I found this morning that I had actually lost 1 pound during this week, a fact that made me delirious with joy, since I have been unable to shed an ounce by any means for a long time, especially since my mobility is so limited and exercise as we know it is not possible.
Anyway, folks, I am now facing my fast day tomorrow and the beginning of my 2nd week with much interest, curiosity, enthusiasm and hope. I promise to report on my progress in what I call revolting detail. I signed up at the Library for the book on the FastDiet which they are expecting to arrive shortly. (too frugal/cheap to buy it yet) I will force Flo or Ann to read me the juiciest parts. Then I will be more knowledgeable, should you wish to ask me any questions about it beyond my own experience. All I can say is, it sure seems to pay to keep trying new things, bizarre though they may be. Onward and upward!
The New Yorker covers: August 18, 1975
9 hours ago