Only as old as you feel, right?

“Your problem is quite common for someone your age.” I get that a lot lately, mostly from doctors. This time it was my ophthalmologist connecting my latest ailment with the latest turn of the page on my personal calendar.

I came to her office because my eyes were filled with what could best be described as goop. It was like pink eye without the pink part. My eyes were cloudy, let’s say. My regular doctor figured it was a simple eye infection and gave me some antibiotic eye drops. But the ophthalmologist said: Blepharitis, the dreaded old man eye disease no one’s ever heard of. It’s actually a blockage of the oil glands at the base of your eyelashes… who knew? The Mayo Clinic doesn’t attach an age group to the problem but she did, easily.

She sent me on my way with cleansing instructions and a prescription, which makes seven now that I take every day— not counting two or three supplements and a low dose aspirin —since my bypass. Enough that I had to get one of those pillboxes with the S-M-T-W-T-F-S compartments. Those’re pretty common for someone my age.

I try not to think about my age. If someone said, “Quick! How old are you?” it’d take me a couple seconds to come up with a number and even then I wouldn’t be quite sure if I had it right. I mean, it’s only a number, right? You’re only as old as you feel? Pay no attention to that 9-inch scar down your chest, your creaky knees and tri-focals for your goopy eyes.

A recent NY Times article says older people are replacing “fat talk” with “old talk.” Baby Boomer women (and men, too, to be fair) swap “I’m so fat, look at my thighs!” with “I’m so old, look at my crow’s feet!” A lot of the angst, they say, comes from Boomers who aren’t firmly in touch with reality. It happens with someone my age who needs their ophthalmologist to open their aging, goopy eyes.

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