May 30th, 2024

The aging body doesn’t bounce back like it used to

By Lethbridge Herald on April 5, 2024.

Al Beeber – managing editor

I’ve written a few times about my back woes and falls. And last week I took a tumble for the ages in the alley behind our office. Between the Landmark and the new medical clinic, I slipped on a thin layer of snow covering a thick slab of ice, falling onto my hip and my asthma inhaler which just happened to be in my front left pocket.

I’ve seldom felt that kind of pain before and just lay there collecting my thoughts and catching my breath for a few moments from a charley horse from Hell as a passer-by and Ian Martens, who saw me prone on the ground, came to help.

By rights, I should have gone to the hospital but being stubborn and really busy, there was no way I was taking time off work to get checked out. I could barely walk but that didn’t matter. I was not seeking help.

From family members and neighbours to dog park friends, people were urging me to hit the hospital lest I cracked a vertebrae or my pelvis but nope. I couldn’t stand up without assistance but I was not going to the emergency department.

My reasoning was if I was even slightly mobile with the use of cane I’d purchased a couple of years ago, I was good to go. So I endured the pain, the discomfort and fought through it, as hard as it was.

And now a week later, the body still hurts. Bending over is a chore and I don’t dare kneel in case there’s nothing at hand to use for assistance. 

So perhaps I should have followed the advice that was so thoughtfully handed out by so many. But there’s a problem here – I don’t want to admit I’m aging. I still in my mind want to believe I can bounce back and recover like I was 35 or 25 instead of coming up on 65.

That reality is hard on the ego. As I was telling a friend, one day we’re kids doing stupid stuff knowing that we can take any punishment that comes our way and the next thing we know we’re celebrating because the province is giving us 25 per cent discounts on stuff when we hit 65. And we’re still doing stupid stuff, let’s be honest.

So where the did the time go? And why did it go so quickly? I’m one of those who used to make disparaging jokes about seniors – I still do sometimes because I am one and I know how to laugh at myself – but sometimes the jokes can really hit close to home.

Those of us who are turning 65 this year are fortunate we’ve reached an age so many others born back in 1959 never got the chance to. 

And being a senior feels hard to comprehend. I still can’t get over the stereotype that seniors aren’t the people who watch Lawrence Welk on Saturday nights. I cringe when I’m automatically given a seniors discount or asked if I qualify for one. 

People now in their 60s – and definitely in their 70s – grew up in a couple of the best decades for music, style and entertainment, all captured in our childhood by the best magazine of all time, Mad, which through satire helped us kids make sense of the world around us.

My crew was probably a little too young to really appreciate or understand flower power, the anti-war movement and the genesis for so many memorable songs of the 1960s and early 1970s. 

Instead we were more familiar with the sounds of The Eagles, ZZ Top, the Doobie Brothers, Pink Floyd, Cheap Trick, Deep Purple, Boston, Kiss, Peter Frampton, Sweet (who doesn’t love Fox on the Run?), Journey, Queen and Fleetwood Mac or punk outfits like the Ramones, Joy Division and Devo than we were of the artists who were part of the British Invasion or early psychedelia movement.

Yes, we who blasted The Stampeders and April Wine loudly and proudly from our eight tracks and guzzled Lethbridge Pilsner out of stubby bottles on back roads are now pensioners.


As I’ve been recovering from this latest fall, I’m saying that a lot. It doesn’t feel right. But I’ve learned in recent days the body doesn’t recover like it used to and I now see how falls can be seriously dangerous for an old fella. 

When I had to crawl at the dog park to a training device for support to stand up after picking up after Ben, I realized I’m not a kid anymore. I can’t just bat an eye and keep going like I would in the ‘70s after being kicked by a steer or slammed into a fence by one. Or as I did once in Ontario, have a newly purchased Honda 750 fall on me when I forgot to put down the kickstand at a gas station.

Only through sheer luck, I didn’t crack my skull last week, a reality I don’t, and won’t, ever take for granted. For that matter, luck is probably the reason I’m still alive. (Guess this isn’t the weekend to finally climb on the roof and check the gutters for leaves?)

This aging stuff isn’t for the faint of heart. It’s hard and can be painful. 

Pass the bubble wrap.

GREEN SHIRT DAY NOTE: Sunday is Green Shirt Day and there will be a special skate at Logan Boulet Arena from 1-3 p.m. I’ll be covering it since I don’t have a Sunday reporter because this event deserves immense coverage even though ours will be printed two days after the fact.

In the meantime, you can look forward to a special front page on Saturday designed by our graphic extraordinaire Brian Price paying tribute to Logan, his family and the ongoing need for Canadians to sign their organ donor cards to give people needing a transplant some much-needed and deserved hope as they struggle with their health issues.  If you haven’t yet signed your card, as the Boulets say, have heartfelt discussions with your family about it because you have the potential to help save the lives of others.  

Share this story:

Notify of
1 Comment
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

A visit to your doctor at the very least my friend! As we age we have to look after our bodies better, if we want to enjoy our retirement and you would not be abusing the system or be a wuzzie if you did so. I witnessed you on your cane at city hall and as stated, you were not going to see your doctor.
As we age, our muscles droop down, the six pack is now hanging over our belt, our pecks now look like men boobs, and if we work out, the muscle disappears almost immediately as opposed to lasting 48 hours. The ‘valves’ in our bodies no longer have that once tight seal and the ankle we broke now lets you know when cold weather is coming. We jump up to get something from the kitchen and get there wondering why we are there, what we were supposed to get, and sometimes, we bark back at someone, before thinking, and then wish we had done it differently.
Look after you body, take time for a walk and enjoy this great city and smile at your fellow citizens as you move towards retirement! You will be missed when you retire!

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x