Awhile back, an ongoing pain in my side finally drove me to the doctor. I don't have a problem with doctors per se, I just don't like to take time out of my busy schedule to go see one. It has to be pretty compelling for me to make the effort. At the risk of sounding like an old lady...oh wait! I am one!..."let me tell you about my aches and pains."
So, back to me and my aches and pains. I had to get the usual rundown of my temperature and blood pressure and the cute nurse took care of that and then looked at my record on the computer. She looked surprised for some reason and this worried me a little. She looked at me more intently and then burst out with "I thought for sure you were 32 years old! Wow! Really, you don't look older than 32." Now, those of you youngsters out there are going to think this is an insult. Trust me, when you are over forty (okay--pushing 50) you will look back on 32 as the prime of your life--the good old days--the PRE ache-in-your-side days. Gosh, when I was 32 I only had six kids! But I really couldn't get past the choice of number: 32? Not "early thirties? or just 30? It was kind of random, but hey I'll take it. That was a pleasant prelude.
Then, I got in to see the doctor. I was hoping for a quick diagnosis of kidney cysts. Who hopes for cysts? Someone who has had them before and been through the four hour surgery to remove them and then enjoyed a nice pain-free quality of life for a good five years. I don't mind the familiar. Better the "devil you know" as they say. But it was not to be. There was a new devil awaiting. Actually something I had been made aware of after the CT scan for my last medical adventure. During the pre-op visit the surgeon showed me my scan and pointed to my spine.
"Hmmm", I thought. "It looks like a candy cane."
"You have some pretty pronounced scoliosis. Did you know that?"
This was news to me. I knew my children had been checked for it at every check-up and physical but that was the extent of my knowledge of scoliosis. The surgeon got back to the business at hand: the giant water balloons growing on my kidneys, and that was the end of that.
Until now. So apparently scoliosis lurks in the backs of unsuspecting, unchecked, people until their late forties when the spine begins to compress and bend more in the direction of the curves that are already there. This tends to press on one's innards in a way that isn't comfortable. It also twists the spine which doesn't feel so great. Then, since the backbone's connected to the other bones, they start pulling in odd ways too. It was a little redeeming to realize the reason I could never do the splits or stretch as far in ballet as the other girls. Also why my mother and grandmother's attempts at getting me to "Stand up straight" were in vain.
Nice how life has a way of keeping me humble. I went from hearing "You look 32" to "You're going to be a hunch-backed, crumpled old woman." in one fell swoop.
PS Make sure you get checked for scoliosis. Preferably before you get old--even if you look like a 32 year old.