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July 14, 2004: The inevitability of age

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The last time I called the pharmacy to get a refill on my happy pills (aka birth control) they called me back to note that I had no more refills. A quick call to the doctor garnered me a two-month reprieve, but there was also a stern reminder that it was time to make my yearly appointment if I wanted them to give me any more. So this afternoon I left work early and headed off to my doctor for the yearly poking and prodding and all the fun that goes along with it.

I've been dealing with these nasty sinus infections now for the better part of three years or so, and I am getting awfully tired of having them come on every time I come down with a cold. Plus I seem to get sick more often these days, despite the exercise and healthier diet. So this doctor's visit I finally decided that I had enough, and brought up the subject of allergy shots. We talked about my symptoms, and he agreed that - especially since my known allergies (to most things small and fuzzy) have been getting progressively worse over the past few years as well seeing an allergist would be a good idea for me. So he'll set that up and once the insurance company has agreed that it will be covered they'll call me to schedule an appointment. I must admit that I'm actually looking forward to it. At long last I'll finally know exactly what I'm allergic to and maybe I can finally *do* something about it beyond taking random allergy meds and having to deal with the occasional and unexpected breakout in hives and swelling of throat when I am exposed. Plus, anything that might get rid of these damn sinus infections is a good thing.

It turns out that since my health is otherwise pretty stable I only have to get the worst of the poking and prodding every other year. So aside from peering into my nose and throat, the appointment was mostly us sitting there and chatting about all my questions. But then he brought something up which took me by surprise. He noted that now that I am 35, it's time for me to start thinking about scheduling my first mammogram.

I will admit that my first response was to gape at him. And then I picked my jaw up off the floor and gave a weak little laugh. I know that it's something I have to 'look forward' to, but really, I didn't think it was something I'd have to worry about for at least another five years or more. I thought that sort of thing didn't come up in conversations with doctors until you were in your 40's. Yeesh.

I think my shock amused him, and he noted that it wasn't necessary for me to get it right away. But I have a feeling I'm going to be getting more and more pressure over the next few years until I *do* schedule it, so I suppose I might as well suck it up and get it over with sooner rather than later. But still, it was kind of a nasty wake-up call. I have never lied about my age nor do I understand the woman who feel it necessary to do so but sometimes it sneaks up on me just how 'old' I am. At 35 I can no longer say I am in my early 30's and by my next birthday 'late 30's' will become a reality. It won't be that much longer until suddenly I am facing 40 squarely in the eye and middle age as well. And really, that doesn't bother me as much as I suppose it might. But really, mammograms. Why do I have to be suddenly old enough for *that*?

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