Friday, September 25, 2015

G:TB Special Correspondent: Chronicles of an Aging Gheorghie

We're beyond excited to debut the work of a new G:TB guest poster this morning. Imagine, if you will, David Wright retiring from the Mets and coming to play for your beer league softball team and you've got some sense of the mismatch between talent and venue we've facilitated. Longtime FOG:TB and current man of semi-retired leisure Dave Fairbank weighs in today with the first entry in what we hope to be a recurring feature. Equal parts travel guide into senility and cautionary tale, this series will offer us insights into how much it sucks to get old, except for the Early Bird at Tortugas. 

G:TBers are a hardy, robust lot, but they aren’t immune to the clock or calendar. Because I have several years on you cats, Rob, the site’s grand poobah (Ed: we prefer the use of the term Tiny Dictator), asked if I’d contribute a post on my aging experience – sort of a doddering canary into the geriatric coalmine.

Fairbank got hearing aids, and a new wardrobe
Personally, I think he wants an easy launch pad for old guy jokes. Fine motivation both.

I recently bought a pair of hearing aids. Can’t say that I’m happy about it, but they were necessary. I just turned 57, which boggles my mind for many reasons, and I’ve experienced gradual hearing loss for the past several years. Too much, “I’m sorry, say that again,” “Excuse me,” and snippets of conversations around me that evaporated. My wife almost reflexively tells me things twice. I’d like to tell you that the eight months after college I spent as a roadie for Black Flag finally caught up to me, but that would be a fib on multiple levels. Certainly, loud music and club dates contributed, but it’s age, with a dose of genetics.

An audiologist tested me – soundproof booth, headphones, tones of various frequencies piped into each ear – and said I had asymmetric hearing loss, meaning one ear was significantly worse than the other. Which I knew. Just as I knew I needed hearing aids. I resisted, due more to laziness than vanity. If you saw my wardrobe and workspace, I think you’d agree.

I went with a pair of what are called Behind The Ear (BTE) aids. Very small. Almost unnoticeable. Small microphone fits behind the ear, with a tiny plastic tube that runs over the ear and hugs the temple, connected to a domed transmitter inserted into the ear canal. Feels a little peculiar at first, but you get used to it. Tip: Make sure your ear canals are clean; otherwise, it feels like you stuffed a cotton ball into your ear, high-end electronics or not.

I walked outside and HOLY SHIT, THE WORLD IS A NOISY PLACE. The four-lane highway in front of the office sounded like Talladega. Flushing the toilet sounded like Niagara Falls. When I went to lunch and a barback dumped ice into a big, plastic bucket, I thought my head was spot-welded to a front-end loader at a quarry. By the end of the day, I had a borderline headache from volume – not just the decibel level, but the amount of suddenly audible stuff that my brain attempted to process.

You can argue that decreased hearing capacity might actually be a benefit amid the present societal din. The problem, however, is that you cannot tailor the input. You miss your kids’ conversations, as well as the beanbag yammering in the grocery checkout line. Studies suggest that hearing loss could cause shrinking or diminished brain capacity as you age. I need all the gray matter I can get.

Here's a picture of a dollar bill. And Dave's hearing aid.
Anyway, hearing aids are a revelation. For the price, they should be. Digital hearing aids typically run from $1,500 to $3,500 apiece. Though apparently, Costco has recently gotten into the hearing aid biz, with in-store audiologists and discounted pricing. Because, of course you think auditory quality while you’re shopping for 10-pound blocks of cheddar and 64-packs of toilet paper. More like, they know a potential market when they see it. A 2014 Census Bureau report projected that more than 20 percent of the population will be age 65 or older by 2030, comprising more than 70 million people. They’ll need hearing aids and motorized wheelchairs and delivery services and metric shit-tons of Depends.

I sprang for a pair of medium-high quality aids. Don’t know if I should have gone higher or lower, but I don’t have the patience to test-drive hearing aids (again, selective laziness), so I picked a model in the audiologist’s recommended range.

Not only do they amplify, but the increased sharpness is a little jarring at first. Ice cubes tumbling into a glass. The dog’s nails on a hardwood floor. A seat belt click. They also drink batteries, which typically last 7-10 days. When the batteries are going dead, my particular models emit the tonal opening to Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, which I’d like to think is a playfully wiseass touch by the engineers, given the composer’s deafness late in his life.

We'll always have this
A friend’s dad recently bought hearing aids at Costco. We had a chance meeting shortly after he learned that I had bought hearing aids, as well. Let me tell you, nothing livens up a conversation like comparing hearing aids with an 80-year-old.


This is something that you Gheorghies are beginning to experience. As you age, there’s a conversational shift from music and sports and culture and ideas, to ailments and conditions and meds and doctor’s visits. The percentage of conversations devoted to bowel movements remains roughly the same.

Diminished capacity – vision, hearing, chewing, whatever – is more often gradual than sudden. Take stock periodically. Pay attention. See the doc. Talk to your family and friends. Try not to let vanity get in the way. We all eventually end up on adjacent commodes with our pants around our ankles.


That’s it for now. Next on the calendar: a colonoscopy. Good times.

78 comments:

Dan Costello said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Danimal said...

Hey, Dave. Nice Package.

And how about the eyesight? I've had hawkish like vision my entire life, and still do today from afar. But as of late, the blurriness has begun to creep into my left eye when reading. My over/under on the need for readers is 2 years. 47. Forty. Seven. Forty. Fecking Seven.

rob said...

my new glasses are trifocals, danimal.

mr kq said...

Now we're talking! Any good Henry Rollins tales? (Need help from the apostrophe police on that one..)

Just picked up some fly new progressive Oakleys. Oh and had a cortisone hip injection prior to RWC Trip. That shit is magic.

TR said...

This week, I got a cortisone shot in my left foot, the second to suffer from severe plantar fasciitis. I'll be on a fuckton of anti-inflammatory meds for two weeks in the hopes of alleviating scar tissue-related pain around a massive heel spur that looks like a devil's horn.

Other foot was a 2012/2013 issue. I also had shoulder surgery last October, and a severe calf strain in February. Warranty has clearly expired w/ my swarthy carcass. But no new nasal polyps!

Danimal said...

and what's up with diminished "chewing"? what the hell does that mean? is this common? which brings up another issue....crowns. i've had about 4 crowns put on over the last 3 years. i've got another one coming up in early '16. not enjoyable.

so did anyone get to meet the pope yesterday or today? his hat is not that funny btw.

zman said...

Does this mean youre drinking heavily this weekend TR?

TR said...

Brown liquor on my couch will remain my standard solution to life's woes, although I have to do some hardcore dadding to do all day both days this w/e.

mr kq said...

Liquor on my Couch - cool band name.

rob said...

just started narcos. the dude playing escobar is phenomenal.

Dave said...

ice cubes make a sound when they tumble into a glass? i think i'm losing my hearing as well . . . and i need to get my dad to read this post, he's driving my mother crazy.

as far as the rest of my body is concerned, i'm like bruce will is in unbreakable. worked yesterday, then coached from 3:30 to 8:00, then made it out to the bar. at this pace, i figure i've got four or five weeks left . . . nice knowing you guys

Marls said...

Mets magic number is down to one. Still convinced they find a way to blow it.

zman said...

Oh I'll liquor on my couch.

Whitney said...

Any picks from our gurus?

zman said...

Meow the Jewels is now available.

http://www.runthejewels.net

zman said...

I took zson to his swimming lesson this am and was very bummed out by the dad who showed up in a speedo. There's no good reason to do that. I don't think he was foreign either.

Dave said...

if he wasn't foreign, then he definitely lost a bet.

rob said...

he might've been canadian. they look american. sneaky fuckers.

zman said...

He didn't say ayuh but who knows. It was totally uncalled for.

Mark said...

I'm in love with the Big Grams EP. If there's a God and he loves us we'll get a Run the Jewels/Big Grams tour.

Mark said...

Here's a few picks for you, Whit:

Utah +12 at Oregon
USC -5.5
Louisiana-Monroe +38.5
TCU-Texas Tech Over 79.5

Danimal said...

Gt -7
UMass +29
Ecu +9.5
Uf+1

Mark said...

I like the GT and UMass wagers as well. UF...not so much, sadly.

Danimal said...

If the old ball coach loses to ucf I will say that this will be his last year,

TR said...

"First place Manchester United" is weird to type. Also weird to type is "15th place Chelsea lost again". But I'll take it.

rob said...

nice jinx, dickfer

Danimal said...

What's a dickfer?

Mark said...

Replay official in Gainesville is passed out drunk. As is Florida's defensive coordinator, apparently.

Marls said...

Mini summit In Williamsburg for the mets clincher. Florida not looking so good.

Mark said...

Florida looks like Florida. Save for the inability to stop designed QB runs by the defense, this is about what I expected. Again...sadly.

Clarence said...

Marls is eating wings like a champ and drinking beer like a champ's vagina.

Clarence said...

Boy, Maryland looks like dog vomit. They miss Frank Reich.

zman said...

The Bills miss Frank Reich.

rob said...

pissin' and fuckin', danimal

Danimal said...

Fortunately I didn't get the Ga Tech wager in in time. The nd score...in the first half I was worried about winning, much less covering.

Rob...the dickfer question is a line from Spies Like Us. You're too young to remember.

TR said...

It's for the best Marls doesn't drink too hard too quickly, given, um, leakage issues he's had in recent years.

rob said...

um, mark?

Danimal said...

dagger on the penalty. great game though.
so good to see this game carry relevance again. even though I like neither.

Danimal said...

my son: why'd they call the time out? now they're gonna make it.

TR said...

That Vols miss gives the kicker a big mental reset...

Dagger. He pulled it so much closer to that upright.

Danimal said...

wow

Danimal said...

congrats mark.

Danimal said...

quick childbrag...d-man gets a 1st place podium at kids tri today. or is that a dadbrag?

TR said...

Quite a pitching duel in the Bay Area b/w Zito and Hudson.

Mark said...

Holy. Fucking. Shit.

Danimal said...

AZ and usc too.
Prediction....Richie Rod is the next Vatech coach. If not next year, the following.

Danimal said...

Jmu beating smu on the road

TR said...

W&M - Stony Brook TV broadcast being bumped by Mets' celebration. I blame Marls.

Danimal said...

So ucla is pretty good.

TR said...

All of the Mets players left their locker room celebration to come out and high five the fans who came to Cincy to root for them. Pretty cool scene in an otherwise deserted stadium.

rob said...

charlie strong got done really dirty by the stripes tonight.

Danimal said...

They've been gutted.
Jmu just scored a td on a 58 yard pass play....still up near the end of the 3rd. Yeah...it is only smu but they D1.
Congrats Mets fans and I say that with sincerity.

rob said...

should fetty wap really be riding a motorcycle?

TR said...

Cespedes' translator is sexy. I wonder if that was in his contract.

And he's been in the US long enough to speak a bit of English. Seems like a ruse to get some road beef.

Danimal said...

No. And jmu up 10 in the 4th.

TR said...

Other than JMU, lots of weak shows from CAA footballers this week. Nova, Delaware, Maine and UNH each have two losses.

Danimal said...

41-37 w 4 min left. Jmu winning. And with the ball. You guys nervous?

rob said...

we need jmu to win so w&m's rpi will stay strong after we whip that ass next weekend.

Danimal said...

Jmu smu game is nutty. Jmu going to come out of there with a V. I think. Smu sucks,

Danimal said...

You got your wish. Jmu wins. Defeating, once again, a D1 opponent.

Mark said...

I've got my JMU Football update. I partied there once. Good times. Congrats, Dan.

Mark said...

Does Rob really know who Fetty Wap is or did he just read a tweet/headline?

Danimal said...

The beatings taking place in the Arizona and Oregon games....shazambot. Very surprising.

Danimal said...

I do like the Dr. Pepper commercials.

Danimal said...

729 yards of offense vs smu.

Mark said...

I thought Utah thought would give Oregon a game. I did not see this.

rob said...

i am acquainted with mr. wap's work, mark. coincidentally, was reading a pitchfork profile of him just a few days ago.

mayhugh said...

Tribe defense looked rock solid. Claytor and Donald could not be blocked on pass plays and the lateral support from the backers and dbacks on the run was stout. Stony Brook's offense wanted to rely on running on 1st and 2nd but they were consistently looking at 2nd and 8, 2nd and 10, 3rd and 5, etc.

That JMU game down the road should mean something to both teams.

mr kq said...

USA 10 Scotland 6 deep in first half. C'MON THE USA!

zman said...

I had an idea for a fett wap post a few weeks ago but never wrote it up.

#laziness

TR said...

Two Jets drives, two 3rd down throws three yards short of the first down. Today is the game where an irrationally exuberant Jets fan base comes down to earth.

Danimal said...

I think you're right. I felt compelled to bet on Philly.

At least you're not Jacksonville.

TR said...

Make that three drives and three third down passes well short of the first down marker. The coaching staff's fear of Fitzie having too much leeway to make decisions is palpable.

TR said...

And Coach Bowles still doesn't understand the replay review logic. Hope is not a thesis, Todd.

zman said...

Apparently Luke McCown is the second coming of Joe Montana.

zman said...

Kevin Burkhardt is dressed like the guy from Monopoly.

Clarence said...

Seems like just a couple of years ago that Kevin Burkhardt was the Mets' in the stands interviewer puff piece guy.

zman said...

This super blood moon eclipse is bogus. My local pollution completely obscures it.