The Fluidity of Expiry Dates

After an ultrasound, the niggling pain in my upper arm now has a diagnosis.

I have degenerative calcification in my shoulder. As the name suggests, the degenerative part is due to age. Specifically middle-age.

I am officially middle-aged.

To some, middle age is seen as the start of end. The loss of youth. A thing to be feared.

“But then you turn 30. Oooohh, what happened there? Makes you sound like bad milk! He TURNED; we had to throw him out. There’s no fun now, you’re Just a sour-dumpling. What’s wrong? What’s changed?

You BECOME 21, you TURN 30, then you’re PUSHING 40. Whoa! Put on the brakes, it’s all slipping away. Before you know it, you REACH 50 and your dreams are gone.” – George Carlin

George Carlin’s views on aging are funny because for many people they speak the truth. Always one to march to the beat of my own drum, including the occasions when I’m out of time with myself, I’m delighted with middle age.

Because I’ve outlived my expiry date. I was not supposed to get ‘old’.

My expiry dates have been flexible and fluid, but nonetheless real. My mother was told that my chances of seeing thirteen were 50%. The median life expectancy of a person born with Cystic Fibrosis in the early 70’s was seven.

As medical technologies advanced, statistical probabilities changed as did median life expectancies. I saw the median life expectancy raised to fourteen, to twenty-one. Currently thirty-seven is the ‘doomsday’ number. Ironically, at thirty-seven I found myself in respiratory failure, with the clock ticking down in real time.

A transplant saw me cheat my way past that expiry date. A life-saving transplant which heralds a new set of statistical probabilities and expiry dates.

Yet, despite these facts and figures, here I am.

Still standing.

Still breathing.

So yes, I’m delighted to be middle-aged – even if that means I’m bringing a degenerative shoulder along to my party.

Ultrasound Images of my Degenerative Shoulder

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