Three years ago, a friend asked me to write a book about ageing. It was to be a reference book for those of us PAST menopause. Yes, Virginia, there is a long and vital life after menopause. Once your memory comes back and the hot flushes go, you have a life that’s as full as your life before, this time not encumbered by children, but by care for your parents who are ageing. But that is another whole story.
You have a life, after menopause, but odd things start to happen to you. For example, your ear lobes start to grow and your nose gets bigger and your feet get wider. At least that happens to many women. What my friend wanted to know was this – is it normal for your ear lobes to grow? Is it normal for your nose to get bigger? She wanted a reference book listing age related changes, with a comment on the extent to which each change was normal and at what stage the change should be taken to a doctor.
The book was to be a medium size volume, with a page for each item, a personal story by a woman about each change and then a doctor’s comment on the normalcy, or otherwise, of the change. Then there was to be a brief section on what could be done to prevent further change and/or damage.
Examples of personal stories would vary. An example would be a woman who noticed that her teeth were slightly protruding, for example. Another woman’s story on how her moustache became more visible as her eyebrows became sparser and eyelashes shorter. Or a woman’s story about how her glasses were a necessary accessory that defined her face rather than just a way of seeing (as she had lasik surgery and didn’t really need glasses).
The doctor was then to comment on the normalcy of the change and suggest when it should be attended to by a doctor. I was not about to rely on Dr. Google for this part of the book.
The last section was to be some way of dealing with the change. Pills and exercise for osteoporosis; hearing aids for loss of hearing, botox for wrinkles, surgery for replacing hips and knees, braces for protruding teeth, a podiatrist for changes in feet and so on…Though it’s clear that gravity always wins, and death is inevitable, there are ways of staving off the ravages of time. (Though short of a wig, there is little that can be done about thinning hair). And nothing short of a miracle will shrink earlobes.
I intended to start at the top of the woman and go down to her feet. I also intended to put this on a website so digital literates could access it without theneed to buy the book.
Don’t you think this would be a marvellous book/website? I do.
But I won’t be writing it. I had listed over 50 different things that could change, and I hadn’t done anything about mental changes (loss of friends, libido, freedom of thought to name three off the top of my head) or all the internal organs that can go wrong with their appropriate symptoms. Much as I would love to write the book I can’t.
It’s too depressing and at my age, one of the last things I need to be is depressed.
Batwing arms and loss of taste buds to go along with the big ear lobes…