From the Desk of Dora DePaoli: The ills, pills and wills phase

January 25, 2002

Saturday morning I woke up with a start in San Diego. The left side of my face hurt. I changed position and it didn't do any good. When I was wide awake I realized I was having a toothache in the upper left molar region. I have been incredibly blessed. This was my first toothache.

I ate a little breakfast and did quite well. Shortly after brushing my teeth I realized I needed to get some kind of a painkiller. I didn't even have aspirin with me. My sons were visiting and we took off for a drugstore. Extra-Strength Bayer Aspirin and Maximum Strength Anbesol helped until I got some Vicodin two days later. I did a little window shopping and went for long walks. From time to time the pain flared up. As I write this, I am scheduled for a root canal.

For five years my friend, Betty, told me people start falling apart at 65 years old. She has since upped it to 70.


While in San Diego I heard a minister talk about the seven stages of life:

"Spills, drills, frills, thrills, ills, pills and wills."

As we get older medical terms like "bone-density test" and "colonoscopy" keep popping up in conversations. Catalogs tout the comfort of "relaxed fit," "stretch fabric," and "non-binding" waistbands. I don't bat an eye anymore about women out shopping in house slippers. Comfort is what it is all about. Painful shoes and clothes that hurt should be gotten rid of.

My goal for summer is to once again wear sleeveless blouses. I used to love them. Since developing wingspans in mid-life I stopped wearing them. I remember the day I was beating some batter and my upper arms kept moving after I stopped stirring. I read somewhere that lifting weights is good for this. Hefting large tomato juice cans hasn't done the trick yet, nor have my little 5-pound weights. I guess I'll go sleeveless anyway.

A friend e-mailed me that mid-life is when the growth of hair on our legs slows down. This gives us plenty of time to care for our newly acquired mustache. It also is the time the memory starts to go. In fact, she said the only thing we can still retain is water.

My niece recently sent me this senior moment item:

"A state police officer observed a car puttering along the highway at 22 mph. He turned on his lights and pulled the car over. Approaching the vehicle, he noticed that it contained five old ladies — two in the front seat and three in the back, all wide-eyed and white as ghosts. The driver, obviously confused, said: "Officer, I don't understand. I was doing exactly the speed limit. What's the problem?

"Ma'am," the officer replied, "you weren't speeding, but you should know that driving slower than the speed limit can also be a danger to other drivers."

"Slower than the speed limit?" the woman asked. "I'm following the posted speed exactly!"

The officer, trying to contain a chuckle, explained that ‘22' was the route number, not the speed limit.

Embarrassed, the woman smiled and thanked him for pointing out her error.

Before letting her go, the officer asked, "Is everyone in this car, OK? These women seem awfully shaken and they haven't muttered a single peep this whole time."

"Oh, they'll be alright in a minute, officer. We just got off Route 119."

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