Things I hate about getting old

Getting old sucks.  It really does.  People who say ‘Age is just a number’ are talking bollocks.  It’s a great big number.  And there’s a reason for it.  Physical and mental things that happen as your body slowly deteriorates before your very failing eyes. I try to search for the positives: experience and wisdom, kids flown the nest, retirement on the horizon, financial freedom?  Well OK so none of those actually apply but you get the drift.

I think this has hit home this week more than ever as my youngest has graduated and just landed her first job.  Another chapter closes in the book of life.  Which means I might well be approaching the epilogue!

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So on that cheery note, here’s a list of things that are really shite about getting old.

  • You make ‘old people’ noises when you sit down, stand up, bend over, roll over, walk.  It’s mainly because something that you didn’t know you had now seems to ache or hurt. Which means another trip to the doctors.  Whatever it is, it’s probably fatal.
  • Your tolerance for alcohol is greatly diminished.  Sniff a cork and I’m anyone’s.  Not that anyone wants me.  Apart from the tax man.
  • Your toenails seem to get thicker while your fingernails and hair gets thinner!  I know this because the beauty therapist now reaches for the angle grinder when I go in for a pedicure.
  • You forget that you’re now not remotely attractive to the opposite sex.  Well not the ones in your 18 year old mind.  I’ve often looked a young lad in the street and thought ‘Oh he’s cute’!  Then I realise he’s only about 16 and actually it’s the balding, portly granddad he’s helping across the road who is more likely in my permitted age range.  I now berate myself for such thoughts and thank the Lord I’ve yet again avoided a prison sentence.
  • No one wants to have sex with you except drunk people.  Or someone that’s in to necrophilia.
  • Your pubic hair turns grey.  Although my husband will argue they’re just cobwebs.
  • Your bladder has a mind of it’s own. Muscles that were once toned are now like some worn knicker elastic.  The pelvic floor retired shortly after the birth of child 2 over 20 years ago. I dare not cough, sneeze or laugh for fear of leakage. Which subsequently rules out any social interaction of any kind.
  • You really do think you’re pretty cool for your age but your kids just think you’re an embarrassing idiot.  Personally I see nothing wrong with saying ‘lolz’ but apparently it’s wrong on many many levels.
  • You realise that planning ahead is pretty pointless as there isn’t much ‘ahead’ left!  It’s all ‘behind’.  30 more summers if I’m lucky. God that’s depressing.  Thank God for sherry!
  • You watch The Antiques Road Show.  Or record it if you’re busy darning some socks.  Obviously when I say ‘record’ I mean ‘download’.  Hashtag oldbag
  • The clothes you think will look great on you just don’t.  So often I see something in a magazine and think that would really suit me.  The person I imagine in the outfit is normally slim with long legs.  I haven’t been slim or had long legs since I was a gangly 11 year old which is about when I stopped growing upwards and started growing sideways.
  • You turn into your parents.  I find myself telling my kids to make sure they eat before they leave for work/wear weather-appropriate clothing etc. I also find myself saying things like – ‘An apple a day keeps the doctor away’ or ‘In my day…..’  My children are adults!  They’re starting to think I’m from another era, not even covered in their history lessons!
  • You become obsessed with the weather.  Worrying endlessly that if you go out, you might be too hot, too cold or get wet.  You end up covering all eventualities by packing a small case with an umbrella, rain mac (one that folds to a handy pocket size), cardigan, sun hat and sun cream just to go to Tesco.  It’s suddenly become your main topic of conversation. You’re a weather bore.   Did I tell you about the great storm of 1987?  Or the heatwave of 1976?  Who cares!
  • It takes a lot longer to fill in a form.  Mainly scrolling down the drop down age menu to find that you don’t even come into a bracket.  It’s just 50+ which means ‘actually we don’t really give a shit’.
  • You look forward to a dull evening.  Although last night we went a bit mad and watched all six episodes of Doc Martin.  In one sitting.  Practically Netflix and chill!

But,  on the plus side, pretending to be deaf does have it’s advantages.  And somewhere buried deep in this apathy is a young spirit that, given half a glass of Lambrusco and a pair of leg warmers, might just make those next 30 summers the best ever.

So long as it’s not too hot.

x

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hip Hip Hooray!

Well it’s finally done!  After years of wincing, moaning and not being able to wear stupidly high heels, I’ve had a hip replacement.  Right now, if I could turn back the clock, I probably wouldn’t have.  I feel sore, swollen, uncomfortable and miserable.  But I also know, that in a few weeks, I’ll be thankful that I did.  I know it’s going to take time to heal. And I know without pain, there’s no gain!  However, I was rather grateful for one thing.  The NHS kindly paid for me to have the operation in a nice private hospital not far from where I live.  Not uncommon these days apparently.  The NHS have been outsourcing joint replacement surgery to the private sector for some years now.  In fact, a recent analysis shows that NHS patients who choose to have planned knee or hip operations in private units spend less time on wards, are less likely to be readmitted and have fewer procedures that need to be re-done.  And therefore, they don’t block beds needed for acute admissions. Win win!

Another recent study showed that four of the best six places for hip operations were privately run.  By contrast, the three worst-performing hospitals for knee operations were all NHS ones. And therefore, the results have been seized on by some as evidence that the independent sector does have a key role to play in improving patient care as well as relieving the strain on our overcrowded hospitals. But they are likely to prove controversial elsewhere because of concerns that the contracts set up by Labour, under which private hospitals took in NHS patients to help reduce waiting lists, paid them far too much for simple procedures and wasted millions of pounds.  So the funding row continues to rumble and probably always will. Thanks goodness we’ve got a general election coming, eh folks??

 

'I really hate going to hospital.' 'I know. It's unfortunate you're a neurosurgeon.'

 

So back to the story.  I arrived at 8am at the rather endearingly named Holly Hospital, and was promptly shown to my ‘guest room’ by the ‘concierge’ who gave me a guided tour of the facilities.  To be honest, it was alot better than some 4 star hotels I’d paid good Euros to stay in. I got changed as requested and it wasn’t long before someone came and took me down to theatre. She was very nice.  Like a smiling assassin.  Because, despite my outwardly calm exterior, inside I was utterly hysterical despite her reassuring words that no, the consultant definitely hadn’t been drinking and yes, he’d done a fair few of these types of operations before. And in no time, I’d seen the anaesthetist and was being led, mentally kicking and screaming into theatre.

I’ll spare the details.  But it went very quickly and in no time I was back in my guest room, with a constant stream of smiling healthcare professionals, checking blood pressure, giving me drugs and generally enquiring after my well-being.  An hour later, a light lunch consisting of a freshly made cheese sandwich and fruit was served and I was given a menu to choose my evening meal.  Melon to start, salmon fillet and veg and a fresh fruit salad.  Sadly no wine list.  “For obvious reasons”, she told me.  I took that to mean that it was more to do the cocktail of medication I was on rather than a nod to a penchant for Rosé.  I had Sky TV to keep me company and at the press of a buzzer,  my assigned nurse would come scurrying in, attending to my every need.  This is all rather nice, I thought.

However, I think after a couple of days, someone twigged that neither myself, nor a wealthy healthcare provider, was paying for this treatment.  I was here courtesy of the beleaguered NHS and I’d probably hit my budget allowance.  The offer of endless cups of tea disappeared, lunch was downgraded to soup (definitely Heinz) or a sandwich, and the evening meal was whatever the chef said I could have.  And as Friday was curry night, and I don’t eat the stuff, the only other option was a jacket potato with cheese. And hopefully they could “rustle up some beans too if chef didn’t mind”! First world problems, eh?  But I mustn’t grumble.  It was still better than being on a mixed ward, and not having to listen to other patients peeing/snoring/farting/howling was a blessing.  And I’m sure those patients would have felt the same.

Which brings me on to bed pans. How bloody awful are those contraptions??!!  For a start, it seems to be a one size fits all, which is fine if you don’t have a humungous backside. Mine was pretty huge to begin with but the added addition of swelling and a pressure dressing practically doubled it’s girth.  Plus it’s made of cardboard! CARDBOARD!!  I mean it’s not know for it’s absorption qualities is it!  Nor it’s comfort. Well the first day wasn’t so bad.  I was numb and fairly dehydrated.  Day two was a different story altogether.  I’d been put on a drip as my blood pressure was rather low so when I asked for the pan again – well let’s just say I wasn’t dehydrated or quite so numb. In fact, let’s just say I was totally off target.  The nurse was very sweet and said it was perfectly normal for accidents to happen.  Well not for me it isn’t, love!  The shame of sitting in your own piddle – three times in one day – will live with me for a while!  It took an age to strip me and the bed, clean it up and put me and the bed back together again.  She smiled throughout the whole half hour debacle, chatting away, whilst I – a grown woman of advancing years – sat there wrapped in a towel of shame, smelling like a tramp!  I’ve since googled bed pans.  There are far more ergonomic ones out there which look a lot more sturdy, comfortable and able to hold a few more pints.  Maybe I had the cheaper NHS version.

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I THINK THE NURSE ON THE FAR RIGHT WAS THE ONE LUMBERED WITH CLEARING UP MY LITTLE ACCIDENT

Fortunately they had me up walking pretty quickly so I could get to use the toilet.  And by day three, I was on crutches walking up and down the corridor in my attractive hospital gown, all open at the back for the world to see.  But I didn’t care. What could be more shameful than pissing yourself.  Three times!  My dignity went years ago.  Along with non-disposable, ergonomically-shaped bed pans it seems.

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I DIDN’T HAVE THE HORN!

And on day four, they sent me home, complete with crutches and complimentary raised toilet seat, saying if my leg falls off, just go straight to A&E and they’ll pop it back on.  So long as I don’t mind waiting a few days.  So here I am, selfishly wishing the days away, knowing that time is a great healer and codeine is the best invention in the whole world. Meanwhile, Mr H is embracing nursing/cooking/cleaning duties which involves a fair amount of arse-wiping, stocking-applying, pillow-adjusting and crutch-holding.  Sadly not the type he’d prefer. But he’s doing a sterling job.

For a bloke.  Who snores.

x

 

 

Hair Today …

Hairdressers are rather like husbands.  For the first few years they do exactly what they want and you always feel good afterwards.  Then they get a bit lazy and complacent and suddenly you don’t feel so special any more.  So when that happens, it’s time to start the nightmare search for a new one.  So where do you start?  Is there a Tinder for hairdressers?  Hinder, maybe?  And how do you tell the incumbent that you’re moving on to a younger, trendier salon?  It’s not you, it’s me? And if you don’t tell them, you end up trying to avoid the area for fear of bumping into them sporting a new ‘do’.   It’s a huge dilemma – one I’ve encountered on many occasions over the years.  I knew the false beard would come in handy one day.

There isn’t a high street in the UK now that doesn’t have at least 2 or 3 salons peddling their hairs. It’s an industry that has grown steadily over the years and currently sees no sign of declining.  It was sometime around the end of the 1800s when we slowly started to see the transition from men only barbershops to salons across the civilised world.  In those early days, wealthy women were having their hair styled by their servants.  All a bit Downton Abbey.  The rest of the classes probably just used some carbolic soap and some rusty shears.

The roaring 20s saw almost 25,000 hair salons open in the US. From the 1900s to 20s, bobby pins, hair dryers, perms and hair colour became more and more popular. It was the age of Hollywood movie stars, Jazz and Coco Chanel.  Everyone wanted to look like their idols!  By the 40’s and 50’s, beauty salons became the go-to-place for the housewife to escape from their mundane lives, get pampered and indulge in gossip. Gradually, the hairdressing salon became affordable to the masses and not just the upper classes, eventually combining other beauty services to pamper and preen it’s clientele.

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“SO WHERE ARE YOU GOING FOR YOUR HOLIDAYS THIS YEAR?  BUTLINS?  OOH POSH!”

Nowadays, our high streets are awash with them.  Some part of a chain, others with quirky fascias such as ‘Hairport’, ‘A Cut Above’ and my personal East London favourite, ‘Jack the Clipper’.  But how on earth do you choose a good one?  Today it’s easier with social media, reviews and online recommendations but what’s good for the goose isn’t necessarily good for the hairy old gander.  My own personal start point is that, if the hairdresser has bad hair, quite frankly I don’t want them anywhere near mine.  They are basically a walking advert for their profession.  Like I don’t want a dentist with bad teeth or a doctor with weeping sores.  I’m also rather seduced by a cool interior.  1970’s pictures on the wall, office furniture or rubbish towels are also a bit of a sign of apathy. Not always indicative but first impressions etc.  I also like hairdressers to be honest.  If it won’t suit, then please have the decency to tell me.  A stark reminder never to show them a picture of a poodle ever again!

witch hairdresser cartoon

So on a whim, I booked into a trendy Shoreditch salon for a cut and blow. I’d read the reviews, scoured the website and gallery and wandered past on more than one occasion. I could even book online which shows both innovation on their part and total laziness on my part. Tick!  Nothing worse than booking over the phone to a fairly dopey receptionist who gets just about every part of the booking wrong.  Most annoying to find out you’re booked in next Tuesday with Cilla for a perm when you’d asked for a Saturday appointment with Donna for highlights!  That’s happened!  Anyway, I was politely greeted,  ‘gowned up’ by a nice young man and promptly offered a cocktail.  It was after 6pm so why not!  Who doesn’t love a Espresso Martini full of hair!  Anyway, a chat with the Senior Stylist and a rather nice (and faintly disturbing for various reasons) wash and head massage from that nice young man, I was set about with sprays and scissors.  Oh and another Espresso Martini or 3.  Rude not to!  They were friendly, they’ve got dogs, alcohol and nice towels.  By the end I was hair cut, half cut and £65 out of pocket!  But you get what you pay for and I’d definitely go back.

 

Probably when I’ve won the lottery!

x