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Not quite Aphrodite...

Updated: Jun 5

Yesterday, I was a dynamic, vibrant young thing, keen to pursue my third career and so ALIVE.  

Today, I decided to have a jacuzzi bath in a hotel I’d booked to celebrate my husband’s 65th birthday weekend.  As I sat down in the tub (I’ve been accustomed to showering for the last 20 years),    I realised with absolute certainty that I would not be able to get out of the bath.  I’m now 68, you see, with an osteoarthritic left knee, and my right knee is not much better.    

Being unable to exit a bathtub will sound absurd if you’re not my age and have never suffered the pain of an afflicted knee.  It seemed ludicrous to me. And unbelievable.  And sure enough, as I tried to leave the bath, I could not stand. I panicked and perspired.  I pushed and propelled.  No way was it going to work!  Two grab rails on the side of the bath gleamed with promise.  Nope.  My upper body strength wouldn’t support me.  My fear of dislocating my knee was so great I was shaking with dread.  

I had visions of two strong men being summoned to lift me, in my naked glory,  from the bath, and the visions were not erotic, let me assure you.  

I decided there and then that if I could not exit the bath under my own steam, I’d check into Dignitas immediately.  And at that moment, I did not feel I was being dramatic.  The indignity!  The shame!  How had I been reduced to this?

With a supreme effort, I grasped the grab rail on the wall, pushed myself onto my hind legs, and—thank the Lord! I was upright!  This must be how I felt as a toddler!  Hurrah!  

I reluctantly shared what happened with my lovely husband, who empathised (my preference was to stay silent and let him believe I was invulnerable). Still, I could tell he didn’t really understand how indescribably scary the episode had been.  

Getting old is not a cakewalk, folks.  It’s hard. More challenging than you can imagine when you have your health and strength.   It’s a shock to the system.  Only yesterday, I thought I was strong and invincible. When I say yesterday, perhaps it was four years ago.  I know it was because it was the year before COVID-19 hit the headlines when I was a youthful 64.   

But time flies, and even though, at that time, when I was smugly walking the earth thinking I’d live with all of my faculties until the day I suddenly and somewhat wonderfully dropped dead, I now realise that perhaps there’s a slow decline in store for me, as for so many.  Ageing.  The great leveller.  


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