I made a vow many years ago never to discuss my health with people younger than me. They don’t want to know. Why should they? It’s boring, dreary, unsettling. You can see them thinking, “He’s old, what does he expect . . .”
I remember thinking the same when I was young, which of course was only yesterday. Old biddies, probably well into their 30s, would sit in the kitchen with my mum and chunter on in low voices about their operations and I would pretend not to hear. But when it comes to my contemporaries, blokes of a similar age, that’s different. I can drone on for ages about the state of my health – knowing they are waiting for a pause in the day’s occupations that is known as the Oldies’ Hour, when they can trot out the latest on their bad back, dodgy hip, prostate problems.
Actually, I have none of those probs. Oh no, fine figure of a man. Do I not go swimming three times a week, either at Kentish Town baths when we are in London or Cockermouth pool when we are in Lakeland? Perhaps “fine” is slightly pushing it. I got a new slim Speedo cossie for Christmas and have given up the baggy shorts I have swum in for years. Probably a mistake. It doesn’t, er, flatter my tum, but who cares? It’s my tum. Seen service.
I also walk every day for at least an hour. Lots of stops, and I don’t attempt hills any more, because of – how old are you by the way. Please look away if you are under 60. You won’t want to know what follows.
I had a new knee seven years ago, which technically worked, as the cement and the glue and sticky tape or whatever it was they used has not exactly fallen out. But the pain if I walk more than half an hour is just as bad as it was before the op. It swells up at the back and front and can be agony, Ivy. The docs say don’t even think of another op – it will be even worse.
When it comes to my contemporaries, blokes of a similar age, I can drone on for ages about the state of my health
So, that’s it. Got to live with it, whistling and smiling and of course pretending I am in ace condition, especially when talking to younger persons around 60 or under, especially those of a female persuasion.
I did have asthma as a child, wrecked so many of my early years, but that went with age, hurrah for that. Even more miraculously, I had the most awful arthritis for about 15 years, both sorts, which meant I could not straighten my arms and woke up screaming in the night with the pain, wanting my inflamed ankles and knuckles cut off, at once.
I am now on a wonder drug, long name, but the trade name is Humira, which I inject into my tummy every two weeks. Thank God for the Royal Free and the ational Health Service. Right, that’s enough about me. What do you want to do when you grow up? Do tell…