Saturday, August 01, 2015

Moths, Food, and Aging

I had a row with my neighbor last night—yes, the good-looking one. He and Jordan were in the kitchen, where she was cleaning out the fridge, something I’d asked her to do. She opened the pantry and three moths flew out. Jay immediately got the trash and began pitching half the staples I kept in there—opened packages of pasta, rice, cereal, bread crumbs, and I don’t know what all. I told him to stop, and he explained—claimed?—either that they’re laying their eggs there or that those products had the moths poop on them. When I said I’d stored things that way as a housekeeper for fifty years, he said, “I do it at my own house.” Non sequitur. I stalked off to my computer (my place of refuge.) As he left, Jay said, “I’m going to Central Market tomorrow to replenish your pantry. Want to go?” The politest I could manage was, “I’ll call you.”

Truth was I was crabby. I hadn’t slept well in several nights—my leg kept hurting. I had no appetite and no energy. But beyond that, I felt marginalized in my own home. Other people were making housekeeping decisions about my kitchen! I suddenly understood how my mom felt. She, having lived through the Depression, saved every tiny bit of leftovers, storing them in small jars in the back of the fridge where they soon began to grow mold. Drove my brother wild, and we periodically cleaned it all out. I can still hear Mom mimicking me, “Just pitch it!”

I think aging has been the Joe Bftsplk black cloud hanging over my head all week. The possibility of a blood clot scared me, and then in spite of medical reassurance that there was no clot, I began to suspect they’d just missed it. It wasn’t getting any better—in fact, the leg pain was worse. It’s amazing what you can convince yourself of at 3:30 a.m. when you can’t sleep. I truly began to think I’d never walk self-confidently again (okay, there was even one vision of me in a wheelchair), that perhaps the clot would break loose in my sleep (what sleep?) and I’d never wake up. In calm retrospect I’ll just say that a writer has to have a vivid imagination.

My leg was particularly painful last night, so that at 3:30 I was thinking not about wheelchairs but who I could call. I realized that it didn’t hurt except when I lay down, so I sat dangling my legs (against all medical advice to keep that foot elevated) and then I walked around. I also realized if I lay perfectly still, the cramping in my calf was less frequent and severe. The doctor had assured me the pain was because I was favoring the foot and walking funny. This afternoon I took a long deep nap—slept on in spite of Jacob crawling in and out of bed, coming to talk to me, etc. No cramping. Good sleep. This evening, a vegetable dinner tasted good, and I have my enthusiasm back.

Amazing how the mind can push us into aging if we let it. And Jay? We went grocery shopping this morning and mended our fences. He’s too good a friend and takes too good care of me to stay angry. My world is looking good tonight.

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