I’m feeling my age a little more these days. At least I think that’s all it is. We had a young guy come by looking to establish himself in yardwork. He offered to do some landscaping for us – quoted an hourly rate and a short window to do the work so we said yes. He then proceeded to take twice as long to do half the work so we sent him packing. This, however, has left us with 12 cubic yards of beachstone to be moved from the mountain at the top of the driveway to the banks at the side of the driveway – all 100ft of it. These beachstones need to be moved by hand – one by one. I could bring in a machine, but as we’re already double our budget due to laddo and his inadequate estimating abilities, I’m loathe to spend more money for something we can do ourselves, albeit slowly.
So after shifting several barrowloads of rock I was feeling stiff in all the wrong places. Naturally I assumed I was just suffering from the scourge of the office-bound worker – a distinct lack of physical labour taking its toll on an aging body. And then I heard a piece on the radio (or ‘wireless’ if I really want to show my age) and I realised that this could be the start of something far more sinister. I and my fellow men-of-a-certain-age (or MOCA men as I will call us) are being hoodwinked into assuming all that ails us is simply due to the effects of age and high-living. The truth is out there, and it is called ANDROPAUSE.
The show was discussing the ‘manopause’ or ‘andropause’ to give it the official title. As I listened to the show and the list of symptoms to be expected in andropausal men, it was like the dawning of the light. No longer would I need to berate myself for years of poor living and inadequate exercise. These symptoms could actually point to a clinical issue. I am certain when you MOCA men read these symptoms, you will understand we are each suffereing siliently from this curse amongst us.
Our ladies get the spotlight here, of course. Their change of life is rather more stark than ours when their baby factory shuts its doors and the last worker checks out for a well-earned retirement, but what we had all long thought to be a mere decline of weary bones might just have a clinical explanation. And where there’s a diagnosis, no doubt there’s a drug company eager to shoot a golfer or fisherman enjoying his twilight years thanks to a daily dose of Erectoid or similar wonderdrug.
So here you go, dear reader. Take a look at this symptom list. If you’re a MOCA man, check ‘em off. I can pretty much guarantee that you are each silently suffering from this secret curse.
The Checklist of DOOM
1) Do you have a decrease in strength and/or endurance?
Let me see. Can I do today what I could in my 20’s, and for as long? Ah – NO. Check 1.
2) Do you often have a general lack of energy?
Energy, apathy. It’s all the same isn’t it? Definitely there are those days when my ‘get up and go’ has got up and gone before the alarm goes off, leaving me stranded in the bed like a beached whale, desperate to reach the water but physically unable to shift its bulk. Check 2.
3) Do you have a decrease in your sex drive (libido)?
Harrumph. Excuse me! Though I am now reminded of the old saying:
Once a King, always a King, but once a Knight is enough.
This is probably a good thing though. Imagine having the virility of a 20 year old and the face and body of a 50 year old. Imagine how difficult life would be all the time. All that pent-up frustration and no outlet. Check 3.
4) Do you often feel irritable?
I will confess that the jaw-dropping stupidity of my fellow homo sapiens does grate a little more these days. GOM syndrome definitely resides here (Grumpy Old Man). Check 4.
5) Do you take longer to recover from exercise or do your injuries heal less quickly?
This would assume I partake in exercise of course. As a proxy I will use the recovery speed from a night of excess. In years gone by, a fried breakfast is all it took to realign the humours. Nowadays the recovery period from a similar excessful night is measured in days. Check 5.
6) Have you noticed a decreased enjoyment of life?
And there was me thinking the daily drudgery was to blame? I recall once reading that if you keep walking in the same rut, eventually it will become a grave. I’m thinking my rut is close to shoulder height so I’m thinking I should get a step ladder soon and escape back to ground level. Check 6.
7) Have you noticed a decline in your ability to participate in recreational activities?
See 1 to 6 above. Ability to participate – Yes. Willingness to participate – questionable. Ability to recover from participation – Low. Check 7.
8) Have you noticed a change with your memory?
I’m sorry. Where were we? Check 8.
9) Are your erections/ejaculations less strong?
Old Faithful certainly still erupts, but the water pressure is definitely low. Picture a waterfall after spring flood – that’s your 20’s. Now picture the same waterfall at the end of a long, dry summer. That’s andropause. Check 9.
10) Do you have trouble getting a night of restful sleep?
Isn’t that the truth? You’re not tired when you go to bed and you’re exhausted when you wake up? I’m often waking in the night, so of course I have to get up and plod to the bathroom. Then I’m super-hot when I get back to bed and the mini Mind Miners are hard at work throing the smallest of problems at me to solve. Check 10.
11) Is it difficult to get and stay in shape?
There’s a recurrent theme here. You’ve made your point already! Check 11.
12) Are you eating the same or even less and putting on weight?
Now this one really bugs me. How can my stick-thin 13 year old daughter eat more than me? How can my 120 lb wife eat more than me? Show me a bag of chips or a bar of chocolate and I’m 5 lb heavier. It’s one of life’s evil mysteries. Check 12.
13) Do you feel that you are under chronic stress?
Not until I started working through this damn list I wasn’t. Now I’m just about ready to punch the next irritable little s**t right between the eyes. CHECK 13 !!!
14) Are you more easily frustrated than previously?
Define frustrated? Are we back to questions 3 and 9? Wouldn’t anyone who has just checked off the 13 items above be entitled to fell JUST A LITTLE BIT FRUSTRATED? Who put this damn list together anyway? Probably some spotty little 20 year old medical student. CHECK CHECK CHECK.
15) Do you frequently suffer from joint pain or prolonged stiffness?
Oh for God’s sake. Isn’t that why we started down this path in the first place? I thought it was me who is supposedly suffering from early-onset dementia, AKA ‘andropause’.
So, my MOCA men friends, our state of body and mind now has a label. Nice to know. Thanks. And now we have this label, is there anything I can take to turn back the clock? I’m thinking a Time Machine myself. Now then, I saw a DeLorean for sale the other day. Excuse me while I get on Kijiji to see if anyone is throwing out an old flux capacitor.