Getting Older

A reminder: I wrote these columns 20 or more years ago.

Oh dear, it's finally catching up with me. Age, that is. Don't hand me any of that crap about life begins at 40, I believed it when I was 40. I just turned 46 and I'm straining to believe it now.

Unfortunately that's not the only thing I'm straining. The pendulum has swung again and I have gone from being able to dress for days at a time to no time at all. Our houseguest the baby, her mom and mom's boyfriend are almost always present in one combination or another so the lacies stay in the closet. By a whim of the Fashion Gods, I found myself alone in the house last Saturday and finally had the chance to let Ricky out of the closet. But those the Fashion Gods would honor they first make mad, and I was royally annoyed when the kitchen door opened and I had to sprint for the bathroom. I always keep my civvies in the bathroom, just in case.

In feverish haste I reached back to unclasp my bra and froze in place. Radiating from my shoulder was a sharp pain that held me transfixed in agony (don't you just love vivid descriptions like that?) before my groping fingers could get near the catch. Even the sweet caroling of "Anybody home?" was unable to free me from my inaction, I was just too involved with my body and its pain. Eventually I found myself able to function again and, feeling a bit foolish, pulled the bra down onto my paunch, rotated it 180 degrees and unhooked it. I quickly hid the evidence and greeted my tenant who had come to pay the rent.

Since we now have health insurance again I saw the doctor, who diagnosed a mild case of tendonitis. Mild, huh? Glad it's not severe, I guess. He prescribed exercise and every day I do 3 sets of 10 reps with a can of pineapple because I'm not going out to buy expensive weights. All I need is weight to lift. I thought of using one of my breast forms, it's just about the right weight, but it would be hard to explain and the grip I would need to hold onto the thing would cause lascivious talk.

Having lived with a handicapped wife for 24 years now, there is a truism known to those of us who hang out with disabled folks that "being able bodied is only a temporary condition". I've only paid lip service to the idea up to now, but is taking on a new reality, and it raises some interesting questions. If I intend to go to my grave in a skirt and a nice blouse, just who is going to put them on me? I know, the undertaker will the last time, but what about those years in between. Will Medicare or Medicaid pay a home health aid to assist crossdressing? Could we stand another tirade from a certain Southern senator when he finds out? Could you charge your breast forms off as health appliances on the medical insurance? Could you consider five inch heels to be orthopedic shoes and take them off your income tax?

My son keeps threatening to send me off to a sleazy nursing home every time I want him to do something that takes a bit of effort, just how in the devil will I convince the staff there to help me on with my slip. Anybody know just how far you can stretch patient's rights?

While this has it's amusing side when I only have a bit of pain to cope with, what would life be like for a disabled crossdresser? With a severe disability you must depend on someone else to dress you, feed you and help you do most of the things we take for granted. How do you find a caring and accepting someone else? I have many disabled friends, but this subject has never come up, no more so than with my non-disabled friends.

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