Aging changes everything

7 May

The odd thing about discovering that XLH is, according to some old medical articles, a form of dwarfism, is that I have certainly never considered myself a dwarf, a term which is now considered outdated. The first time I ever read this, I was shocked. The only bones that get “dwarfed” by this disorder are the legs. As far as I can tell, everything else is a “regular size.” So regular, in fact, that my uncle used to say to me, when I was a kid, “Girl, if you ever grow into your hands and feet, you will be VERY tall!” I never did. In fact, I used to look at my hands and feet and say to myself, “Whose do these belong to and who got the ones I was supposed to get?”

My hands are quite large and, I don’t mean to brag, but I can stretch them as much as an octave and a third (which is technically called a “tenth”) on a piano, with the natural keys and an octave and a second with the sharps. This, on the chart of pianists’ average hand sizes, falls in the range of “small man-sized” hands. I could play Rachmaninoff, if I had ever advanced that far with my piano lessons. They were definitely made for music-making, which I like to do on various stringed instruments, including the banjo. And now you know where the name “banjogrrldiaries” came from.

My large feet, however, are another story. The older I get, the more in the way they seem to be. This apparently happens to a LOT of folks as they age…their feet get larger and wider. Goodwill has reaped the benefits of my foot growth as I have donated shoes to them with each passing year. When I was young, I didn’t know that there was a special language for shoe sizes. I was very confused the first time I heard my mother say that she wore a “size 6 narrow with a quad heel.” I had taken enough geometry to know that a “quad” was obviously some kind of square or rectangle, but for the life of me, never saw anything matching that description on her shoes. A quad heel? But now I know the language and can speak it with confidence. “Do you have New Balance in a size 8 ½ Wide?” The word “wide” is very important in my shoe purchasing transactions. I have to be able to “squiggle” my toes, to prevent foot claustrophobia. My tall sister and my tall brother both have this same issue with claustrophobic feet. This is not an XLH trait. This is just weird.

And, to add insult to injury, I am doing what everyone else does as they age…not just growing their feet, but SHRINKING! However, when a tall or even average-sized person loses an inch, that percentage of loss is way less than when a person who is 4’11.75” tall loses an inch. I prided myself for many years on being “four feet, eleven and three quarters of an inch” tall. I took every part of an inch I could get. However about 3 months ago, the bone scan technician measured me at “four eleven and one quarter inch” tall. I’m thinking, “oh dear…I am shrinking.” I mentioned it to the technician and she asked my how tall I used to be and I told her and she reassured me that shrinking is normal. So now, I worry. Do I round down now, when someone asks me how tall I am? I don’t want to seem too greedy about that quarter of an inch, but I am. Two months after that appointment, I was told at my endocrinologist’s office that I am now “four feet, eleven inches.” Well, that question is answered…no rounding up or down necessary.

All of this to say…with the shrinking height, and the feet getting bigger and spreading out wider…I am pretty sure I am melting.

© S. G. Hunter and Banjogrrldiaries, 2012-2017

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2 Responses to “Aging changes everything”

  1. Pegi May 8, 2012 at 10:31 pm #

    When you add the elongation of the nose and earlobes, melting aptly describes aging for all of us!

    I love you, Banjogrrl!
    Nice blog.

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