Home Life Laurie Nigro My Zen of aging, interrupted

My Zen of aging, interrupted

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We’re not getting any younger. As much as we may hope for that to happen, it’s not going to. Each day, each hour, each minute, the clock ticks and we age. I try to see this as a good thing. I try to believe that each sunset has followed a day where I have learned something new, that each season waxes and wanes as I search for a deeper happiness, that each revolution around the sun has made me a better person. But then my husband hobbles all over my Zen with an arthritic toe.

He and I have been through a lot together. I might even go so far as to say we’ve had a few more speed bumps than the average married couple and yet somehow, we’ve managed to avoid a full-on train wreck (there were a few car wrecks, but so far, no trains). We’ve had each other’s backs through surgeries, accidents, injuries, and more hospital visits than we should probably admit. And I am proud of the fact that through it all, we’ve remained amazingly calm.

Arrive at my prenatal appointment with a facial gash so severe that the midwife stops my appointment to stitch up your cheek? I’ll just get some water (to retain in my ankles for later) while she works. A small chunk of metal protruding from the white of your eye? Let me find those numbing eye drops from the last time there was metal in your eye. Slipped with the machete and that’s likely your bone I’m seeing? Give me a sec — I know I’ve got some Band-Aids in my purse.

And he’s just as calm about my maladies. Morphine drip isn’t enough to ease the appendicitis pain (and the moaning is super embarrassing)? Let me find a doctor to throw some Valium in the mix. Hemorrhaging after the birth of our first child? I’ll just ask your sister to hold our brand new baby a minute while they stick you full of needles. Fever of 104? BRB with another blanket.

There are some who may think we’re callous, jaded, or even heartless. But I think it’s just that we have found that hysteria helps no one. All situations are better served when one remains clear and calm. Except for a bear attack. I’m pretty sure you’re supposed to freak out, scream like a banshee and act so crazy that they decide your snack-worthiness is too low.

So it was with great surprise — and eventual exasperation — that I found my husband having a personal crisis when he was recently diagnosed with an arthritic toe. One single toe. He was at the doctor for another reason altogether when our physician casually mentioned the condition, which, he noted, was obvious, even through the sock.

This man, a man who writes in his own blood when he gets bored at work, lost his shite. He began to babble on.

“What? What do you mean? Arthritis? Where? In my toe? Are you saying I have arthritis? In my toe? Right now?”

“It’s pretty common. In fact, the toe is the most common place to get arthritis.”

“Do you have toe arthritis?”

“Well, no. But I do have arthritis in my spine from a terrible back injury I sustained in my youth.”

“It’s not the same.”

This went on — and on — for way longer than was reasonable (not that any portion of his reaction was ever reasonable). Hours after the diagnosis, we went to get him new work boots. Of course, he shared his tale of woe with the storeowners, who are a married couple. They immediately offered sympathy (and an additional $60 purchase of an insole — infused with copper because that helps with arthritis, of course — to make the shoe more comfortable and also to heal his new-found deformity) and even chided me when I rolled my eyes and maybe told him to stop whining about his freaking toe. Like he’s the first person ever to have a sore toe? For the love of God, our son complained less when he broke his damn leg — both times.

However, I was vindicated about 15 minutes later when I heard the wife sigh whilst telling him, “Enough with the toe already.” See? I told you so. Just hand him the magical copper orthotics and we’ll be on our way.

The whole situation has me worried for what’s to come. I mean, he doesn’t even have any gray hair yet. WTF is going to happen when one of those suckers emerge? And forget about glasses. I already have to hear the mumblings when he’s trying to read the Aleve bottle. And within a day of his shocking diagnosis, he was already referencing his “trick toe.” I have a feeling that rather than growing old gracefully, he’s going to fully embrace the “rage, rage, against the dying of the light,” mindset — particularly the rage part. I’d better start drinking now.

It turns out he didn’t reserve his complaining for just me and random local business owners. He texted our foot-and-ankle-surgeon brother-in-law, who kindly and thoughtfully offered a therapeutic prescription for the care of an arthritic toe. In reality, my husband just wanted to whine at a professional. Actual help wasn’t the end goal. Upon receiving that tidbit of info, Doctor Brother-In-Law sent him this video which pretty much sums it up. All of it.

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Laurie Nigro
Laurie is the mother of two biological children and one husband and the caretaker of a menagerie of animals. Laurie is passionate about frugal, natural living. She was recognized by the L.I. Press Club with a “best humor column” award in 2016 and 2017. Email Laurie