When I was a kid, I set benchmarks to let me know when I would be old. I knew I would be old in the year 2000, because that was such a long way off, right? I also knew I would be old when I got gray hair, because only old people have gray hair. If I had any children (I was hoping for 8 back then), when they all grew up, I would be old, because it would take a long time to raise 8 kids. If I ever had to wear glasses, specifically bifocals, I would be old. Only old people wore bifocals, that’s why they’re called granny glasses.
Well, here we are, dammit. The year 2000 came and went a decade ago. I’ve had gray hair for so long Miss Clairol and I are best friends. My three children are all grown up and gone (and it really didn’t seem to take long enough). And yesterday? I was told I need progressive lenses. Which is a fancy new word for bifocals. It’s official, I’m old.
Another benchmark was doctors. They were always nice, older men who looked like they had been doctors for so long, there wasn’t anything they couldn't diagnose. They put you at ease, because they had seen it all. They always had the best advice, since they had used the tried and true for years. One could feel comfortable in their knowledge. You could never be older than the doctor, right?
Could somebody please tell me when they started letting teenagers practice medicine?
The eye doctor yesterday had to have been all of 25 years old. She starts in with the “as we get older, we need to check regularly for glaucoma, blahblahblah” All I could focus on was we. She hasn’t even started yet!
A few weeks ago, I went for my annual woman exam. The nurse, all of 12, had me get on the scale and be measured. Her exact words, “Oh good! You haven’t started shrinking yet” Excuse me? Only old people shrink. Then I’m in the exam room, waiting for the hoo-ha doctor to come in. When she does, it looks like she got her braces off last week! She starts asking me about hot flashes (yes!) and mood swings (duh, have you ever met a hot flash? That’s enough to swing even Richard Simmons's mood) and general old people aches and pains. She suggests calcium supplements because older women lose calcium. Hello?? Not old! Even if I did use to babysit you.
Please, where are all the old doctors? The ones with the wizened faces and had all the answers? Did they all retire in the same year, leaving the practice of medicine to boy scouts and candy stripers? In the whole of the doctors office, the only person who looked over the age of 30 was me.
The good news? Even though I’m a decade older than old, color washed redhead, with grown children, wearing granny glasses…I haven’t started to shrink.