Satchel Paige once said, "How old would you be if you didn't know how old you was?"
I know how old I am. Forty-six. Two months from today, I'll turn 47. I hadn't really given my age a whole lot of thought until I got hurt and they screened me for heart attack and stroke at the hospital. "Pish," I thought, "I didn't have a heart attack or a stroke. That happens to old people." To begin with, I know from working in emergency services that those things sometimes happen to young people as well, but it's the slow dawning that I'm not one of the young people anymore that took me aback a bit. I might be 46-almost-47 in Real Years, but in Jayne Years I'm about 30. Thirty sounds good. I can handle being 30. Most days (before this happened) I felt about 30. Heck, most days I acted about 30...or 12. But I'm pushing 50. My cholesterol is a smidge high, arthritis made itself known about five years ago, my son's pushing 30, and I haven't been able to drink more than 3 beers in a night without a hangover since about 2006.
On Monday I went to the outpatient clinic at the hospital again. I've been there more in the past six weeks than I have in the past six years. Chris, the Family Nurse Practitioner in the ortho practice (who should tour the country teaching other health care providers how to be just the right blend of intelligent, attentive and caring) told me that my fracture's healing but not as fast as he'd like it to be. Apparently, fractures of the clavicle build tissue first, and then bone on top of that. I have some good tissue building, but no bone growth yet. Chris explained, "If you were a little kid, your fracture might be completely healed by now. But because you're--" he paused to look at my chart, probably to get my age. I helped him out. "Because I am old." He laughed, "I wouldn't say old, but I'd say old-er." He continued, "Because you're older, it takes longer to heal. I'm not comfortable with you going back to work yet or resuming much activity until you get some good bone growth." Off work another three weeks, and the only activity I can do with my right arm is some small range of motion exercises, which I've been doing diligently.
I tried to explain to my son how weird it is to know in your head that you're 46, but to feel in your heart much younger, and that realizing you're middle-aged is kind of a kick in the pants. Dylan said, "Mom, you're only middle-aged if you live to be at least 92. If you die younger than that, then you're already over the hill." Thanks, son....