Young people: heed my advice. Do not get old. I do not recommend it. 0 out of 10. Negative stars. It sucks. And yes, I know the alternative is not getting old, aka: death. But sometimes, the indignity of watching your own slow degradation makes death seem like an attractive option.
I got my second shingles shot yesterday. See children, shingle vaccinations are something you have to get after 50. And apparently, shingles itself is ruuuuullll unpleasant and painful. So, like a good geriatric beholden to big pharma for life-extending options, I lined up at the Walmart in March and got my shingles vaccine (a year later than I was supposed to. Guess I was hoping for a waiver or a patch or some other option).
I’m already a bit wary, and yes, weary of vaccines. There’s been a lot of them the past few years, especially for old folks, which somehow includes people over 50 now. And I generally have the same reaction after each of them: 24 hours of headache, fatigue, low-grade fever and all over body ache to the point I cannot sit or lie comfortably.
But after my first shingles shot, not much happened. My arm ached and I had a slight soreness all over but honestly, pretty manageable. The second one, not so much. I’m very achy and fatigued. Which pisses me off because I did not expect it. Plus, it’s a legitimately gorgeous day out here in Lost River Valley and instead I’m inside, shivering and trying to find a comfortable position.
Other things to look forward to after 50: Colonoscopy. Got my first one of those a month or so ago. Not fun, but I’m sure you’ve already heard. I can confirm, the prep is the worst part. I went the pill option, which I’ve heard is better than the drink. Still, the same “outcome” if you know what I mean. Plus, I’m not a girl who skips meals, so liquids only for 24 hours was torture. And, I did not lose an ounce of weight.
On the plus side, the anesthesia-induced nap was pretty great, I gotta say. I woke up talking about Vanderpump Rules and Scandoval. Unfortunately, no one in my recovery area seemed to be wise to all the VPR goings-on’s so my hot takes were underappreciated.
As a day one watcher of Vanderpump Rules, I am heavily invested in the Scandoval and by “invested,” I mean easily distracted by all snippets of news and “theories” about all of it. I even started keeping a timeline that I could refer to while rewatching episodes, diligently sniffing out clues of what stage the relationship was in at each point in time. I definitely missed my calling as a private investigator.
Another perk of getting old: Dense breast tissue. Apparently, my lovely breasts (which are holding up quite well in my opinion) are now “dense.” So whereas two or three years ago, I could just have a preventative (and free, yet still painful and embarrassing) yearly mammogram, this year I had to have a more in-depth diagnostic mammogram (semi-expensive), an ultrasound on one of my boobs (slightly expensive), and an MRI (surprisingly, expensive). Which, by the way, the MRI is way easier in the first place (you lay face down and your titties go in these cups and then you just have to stay still – my specialty). BUT an MRI also requires an IV line for some contrasting fluids.
I am not a fan of IVs. Somehow, I did not know that MRI’s required an IV. I went skipping in there like it was no big deal and then blam! Let me poke you with this needle. Definitely ruined my MRI napping buzz. Going forward, I’m not sure what to expect. Will I just go straight MRI each year or do the whole preventative first rigamarole? Guess we’ll find out next year.
Then, of course, there’s the big one – Menopause. Well, peri-menopause first, because for some reason, we need a warm up to the big one. I started mine during the previous administration – so think, unsatisfying impeachments, family border separations and lost children, fears of North Korea bombing us, throwing paper towels after a hurricane, trying to buy Greenland, fighting with a porn star, colluding with Russia, COVID, Roe v. Wade, January 6.
I was full of hostility and rage and acting OUT. But I wasn’t at all sure it WAS hormone related or just general anger and anxiety over the downfall of democracy in real time. I thought for sure I was having a breakdown during that whole period. I honestly did not even recognize myself. I could tell I was raging and overreacting to stuff but I could not stop it.
Then, of course, the hot flashes and night sweats, which considering I used to be someone prone to chills, was so weird. Then my gynecologist said, no, no, no, you’re not crazy. Here’s some lovely low-dose Paxil. You’ll be fine.
And honestly, I had a fairly easy menopause. I just didn’t know what to expect and didn’t really have anyone to talk to about it. Now, I openly (maybe too openly) talk about it and I now know lots of women who have had it far, far worse. I haven’t had to go on any hormone treatments yet, but totally will if I feel like it’s getting to that point again.
So to recap: Old age sucks. If this is 50, I shudder to imagine 55 or 60 or some truly ancient age. I just know that there are more indignities to come.