By David O. Heishman
The winter of 2013/2014 will go down in my personal history as the beginning of my feeling really old. 2014 part was especially cold, snowy, nasty. Not just unpleasant, but harsh, grinding, tiring.
I’ve moved more snow, chopped more ice, picked up more broken branches and spread more salt other winters. This year I learned to conserve strength and stamina by ignoring unimportant snowy/icy patches that I used to clear religiously. I’ve learned to sit in my recliner and relax with a book or computer while ice is still hard, waiting for a bit of afternoon thaw before I go back out with chopper and shovel. I’ve tempered youth and enthusiasm with experience and wisdom.
Several months, maybe a year or two ago, I had a spell of old man aches and pains, gripes and grumps. Hard to get up without staggering a little and hard to sit down without an ungainly plop. Pain getting up and stiff movement of rusty joints until I got moving when things smoothed out.
I complained about it next Veteran’s Administration clinic visit. My practitioner prescribed 800 mg ibuprofen. WOW! That stuff had me out digging post holes and picking beans without a twinge. Even found out it worked great after an afternoon of snow shoveling. Worked so good, it was scary. I quit taking it. Only once in a while when I caught myself stretching out for the night with nagging discomforts, I’d pop one. Near instant relief and sound sleep were my rewards. Still, I don’t like excess pills.
I like them better now. After this winter, I’ve become more of a believer. Wake up mornings extra ouchy from yesterday’s shoveling and a regular, over-the-counter dose greases my skids. Nights, after a day of strain, the heavyweight stuff goes into action. I’m due for another clinic visit soon. I’ll likely ask for another bottle.
I burned more fuel this winter. Not just because of cold weather, but age rears its ugly head again there too. As Mom aged, she complained more and more about cold feet and legs in Big House. One of biggest reasons she moved out during winters after Pap died was to get to warmer floors. He’d start fires when he got out and moving mornings. She’d get up and begin breakfast while he was still at the barn after house had warmed a little. But still during days at home she’d wear big socks, solid shoes and long pants just to fight the cold.