Follow the podcast on
New experiences make you feel young.
At least, that’s what I told myself as I slipped into a gown, folded my pants and shirt into a plastic container, and followed the technician through the big double doors.
It took me almost 37 years to get my first MRI. I don’t know if that’s good or bad, but even though I’m pretty good with claustrophobia and that kind of thing, I still felt a little blush of nerves, the hesitation of the unknown, as the giant machine shifted me into position.
The technicians had advised me not to move. So of course, just as soon as the machine began scanning my insides, whirring and beeping around me, I developed an itch right on the tip of my nose.
I breathed through it as best I could and by the time, I was ready to be extracted, 40 minutes later, I swear I was almost about to doze off.
If new experiences make you feel young, my MRI results did not. Reasonably advanced arthritis. Various tears and bits of damage to body parts with long names. A bone spur steadily nibbling away at the already-reduced cartilage in my hip. Not the end of the World, but also not the kind of ailments that will ever improve. The pain I have been feeling in my left hip isn’t going away. When it comes to the sports I love to play, there are some tough decisions that lay ahead.
The next morning, I went to the optometrist. The news didn’t get much better. I swear I was reading every line on the chart, and he was saying, ‘Good.... good... good!”
But then after he’d trialled me with various exercises, the optometrist turned his chair towards me and explained it was time to consider reading glasses. Again, hardly the end of the World. But a first for me.
‘Really?’ I asked. Surely, I thought, he’s just trying to swindle me for a fancy pair of designer specs.
“There’s been a decline since your last check.” He said.
“Not a massive decline, but a decline.”
He showed me again what it felt like with corrective lenses over my eyes. The letters on the chart were clearer.
I thanked him, limped out and squinted at the sales rack to try and work out if any of the glasses there would suit my face.
Yesterday morning, I woke up to a text on the family group chat. Overnight, my sister had had her baby. A boy. Her third. Fit and healthy and doing well. I had that primal response. A photo of a child, hours old, whom I’ve never met, and whom I already love so much.
It’s funny, one minute you’ve got your whole life ahead of you. And then you realise you don’t. The thing that makes this tolerable is knowing that at least someone else does.
Take your Radio, Podcasts and Music with you