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Pat Gallagher

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The 'Sounds' of Aging -- Ouch!

Posted: 04/17/2012 2:00 pm

So when I'm lying in bed at night, my nose whistles. I think that started when I was 52 and a half. I can't explain it, but it has to do with aging because that particular sound didn't come out of my nostrils in my 20s, 30s or 40s. It kind of sounds like the noise you hear when you let the air out of a balloon by pinching the lip very, very slowly.

Or sometimes, when I'm lying on my side and breathe in and out with my mouth closed, my nose sounds like tiny dice clicking together right before you roll them.

Those are sounds you want to avoid on that first post-50 sleepover if you're single.

My knees crack when I get up out of a chair or when I'm walking too slow or too fast or especially when I'm running 25 miles a day. That's a lie. I don't run to the mailbox and back.

I groan a lot out loud because of certain activities in bed... like rolling over to tell my husband, Buff, to move his hands off my hips.

I whine when I get those painful stress-related cricks in my neck. I can't turn my neck from left to right or right to left without moving my whole upper torso to align my head with the rest of my body beginning at my waist. I walk like Frankenstein's monster on valium. I couldn't beat a snail to the curb.

I cry out in agony when my back goes out. You'd be surprised at how much you use your back until you can't. There's muscle pain so deep that you can't function and you have to get out of bed by pulling yourself up on the bedpost with the weight of your hands and arms. Bending over is not an option. Try asking your spouse to put your shoes on for you for 14 days in a row. Saying bad words out loud is another sound that goes along with the back ailment.

Remember sex noise? Happy moans... now a distant memory. You'll find it here in the movie When Harry Met Sally. That's the last sound my husband heard on our 15th wedding anniversary while we were having our pretend sex (we would have been put in jail if we had tried "Mommy Porn" back then). We've been married 35 years. Now the only sound we hear after we climb into bed is one of us snoring or dogs barking next door or crickets chirping happily outside our window in the summer (I'm guessing they're happy because they don't have back trouble) -- and Buff breaks wind very loudly (so gross) which puts me into the guest bedroom, which leads to door slamming.

I tend to make a big deal of yawning as I mature. I use to yawn silently but for some reason I now have to make a loud 'ahhhhhhhh' sound to accompany my yawns. I think it's to get Buff's attention so he'll know I'm bored while I'm watching him play control-freak on the couch with his remote control. I want to get out of the house and go on a cruise before I'm stuck with a walker in 30 years. Most couples our age go on European trips and exciting cruises. I'm lucky to get him to take me to the next county. (That's coun-ty not coun-try.) He's a homebody, which is great for old hermits.

Allergy season... big bad loud coughing, hacking, sneezing, spitting... not attractive. I never had allergies in my life until after I turned 50.

Then there's the sound of silence. Buff and I can go to dinner and eat a three-course meal without speaking one word between us. I'm so grateful for chatty waiters. I look around to see if other couples are talking to each other. You can tell the difference between couples who are on a date and couples who have been married for some length of time. As married couples age, the art of conversation falls through the cracks -- unless the nice-looking twinkie next door trips on a blade of grass while pulling up those unattractive four-leaf clovers in her yard, and then he can run over and talk to her for 20 minutes. The last conversation we had, I think, was about him not making an effort to talk to me anymore. It didn't go well. I did all the talking. He rolled his eyes.

Sigh.

 
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