Do real ladies climb trees?

seattlegardenerJuly 2, 2012

Hi - First time on this forum and I came here looking to see how other people dealt with their aging bodies.

Let me preface this by saying that I am 68 years old. My husband is 78 years old and because he owns his own business and works 6 days a week, I do 98% of the gardening myself. He had a knee replaced last year and because he is scheduled for his third shoulder surgery next month, I try to keep him from doing too much as he's in constant pain right now.

Last year I climbed up about 25 feet into a tree with my little chain saw to thin out a tree that was giving me fits (I did it BEFORE my husband could tell me not to). A friend told me that "ladies our age don't climb trees". Kind of hurt my feelings... until I realized that because she hires everything done, she thinks I should do the same....not my style. I get a lot of satisfaction out of doing things myself and am convinced you either "use it or lose it".

This year I actually dreaded the onset of the gardening season (I'm a fair-weather gardener in our rainy Seattle area), and at first I could only do about an hour and a half, but once I got in the swing, I usually spend at least 4 hours a day. I try to take it easy on Wednesdays and Saturdays as those are the days we go dancing. Despite our age, younger people often ask if we are dance instructors or ask us to teach them to dance like we do. My husband is starting to like the slow dances more, but I love nothing better than dancing to 'Jump, Jive and Wail'. Although my back hurts 24/7 no matter what I do, the only time I don't hurt is when I'm dancing. Sometimes I hurt so bad I tell my husband to just get me to a dance floor and I'll be OK.....

I'm 5'4" and 116 pounds, pretty severe scoliosis and arthritis in my back, but if I can still climb trees, clean the gutters, lift, tote and all the things necessary to gardening, I'd rather do it that sit and read a book or watch TV which also makes my back hurt! So, I do as much as I can do, then hobble into the house, lay down for an hour and get up to fix dinner. I try not to take too many pills, but we all know that sometimes it's absolutely necessary. As soon as I loosen up the next morning, I'm usually good to go.

I've pretty much given up on doctors..seems all they can do is prescribe some pill that will probably kill you and I won't even think about back surgery unless/until it's absolutely necessary. The last time my husband took me to the Emergency Room when I was screaming in pain and could barely walk, they took a bunch of x-rays and gave me two prescriptions for pills that I was already taking that didn't do any good....go figure! I was able to walk in leaning on my husband's arm, but when it was time to go home, I couldn't take a single step, so they got a wheelchair to get to the car. Guess I didn't have the right kind of cadillac insurance policy. Can't help believe that it's only going to get worse with the new Obama-Care.

Please don't take any of this as bragging...I'm a definite 'Type A' personality and don't advise anyone to abuse their bodies the way I do, but hopefully some will be encouraged to just "keep on keepin' on". I just happen to think that if we expect life to be pain-free, we were born on the wrong planet. As long as I can stay active, I'd much rather do that and then slide into the Pearly Gates yellin' "WHAT A RIDE"!!

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vetivert8(NI-NZ zone 9a)

I think I'd have fits about anyone who climbed up 25' into a tree with a chainsaw who didn't also have a safety harness and a rope with a snap-on for the chainsaw. You could have wrecked the tree if you'd fallen!

You probably have already tried glucosamine for your gnarly joints. It's not a miracle pill by any stretch (and, if you're allergic to shellfish, it may be a non-starter) yet I know someone who has a very steep section and damaged knees from years of contracting work who has found it of great benefit.

Our climate can also be somewhat damp (gross understatement). Rather than simply crawl away and hide for the winter I have a sun porch, access to a tunnel house, and my potting bench is under cover. The tunnel house is great. I love listening to the rain outside while I fossick away and learn the craft of gardening with low light/low temperatures.

You're not too old at all. My mum is 89 and she does those things, too (except climb trees;-)) ) Just - don't be too proud to call for the extra pair of hands. It can be good to be working with a like-minded person that you get along with. And, if you shop together, or visit each other's garden - you can share or exchange plants and make stocking your garden quite a bit cheaper.

Keep going. You're good for at least another twenty years!

    Bookmark   July 31, 2012 at 3:52AM
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"I think I'd have fits about anyone who climbed up 25' into a tree with a chainsaw who didn't also have a safety harness and a rope with a snap-on for the chainsaw."

I thought the same thing. Your awfully brave to go up a tree let alone with a chain saw. Gives me the vapors just thinking about it!

My DH has a history of back injuries so we bought an inversion table. We are going to get a hot tub to work out the other knots.

You might consider eating more foods that reduce inflammation for your arthritis.

Best of health (and luck!) to you and your DH for at least another 20 yrs!

A link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   October 14, 2012 at 9:09PM
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Also need to know that.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2013 at 5:36AM
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You are my kind of hero! Keep fighting, that's the spirit!

    Bookmark   October 21, 2013 at 10:52AM
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Of course real ladies climb trees, pah, what a silly question.

Granted, I'm still in high school.

But I climb to where I'm about to break branches in my apple tree with a book on a daily basis.

I can only hope that I am still scaling up the trees when I'm your age.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2014 at 3:12AM
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Remembers me a quote:

Don't watch the clock; do what it does. Keep going.
-Sam Levenson


    Bookmark   November 10, 2014 at 12:18PM
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Since jen has gone grave digging (no pun ),I may as well join. IMO,the movie Secound Hand Lions pretty much put things in prespective. I will choose dieing at 80 while barn storming over at 85 while not living the way I love. I have another question. Why do you think so few young people pardener up with older individuals with similar interests? Why wouldn't a younger gardener aspiring to pick up violin where they left off 30 years earlier seek out a 75 yo pal? They have so much to offer one another. In my case an unemployed youngster desiring a career in mechanical trades could recieve one on one training while assisting me with investment properties. They earn minium wage while going to trade school free. I am able to eliminate some contractor expenses and recieve satisfaction of knowing my skills continue serving both of us. He could help spade up my soil and I could help him with finer points in his garden. Mel Tillis once said "I got the hoss,,,you got the saddle".
vetivert wherever you are. Thank you for the laugh." You could have wrecked that tree if you'd fallen! "

    Bookmark   November 10, 2014 at 2:47PM
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toronto.and.brisbane(CAN/US 5 or 6)

:) lol... I'm 50 and hope to be like you when I grow up also.

I totally agree with the diet thing, I stopped asthma, arthritis, and terrible stomach problems with diet.

Doctors weren't much help at all but it's not their fault preventative medicine and subtle food allergies are not in their training. Medications are a nightmare too - so many side effects ...death being just one.

i've just given up the nightshade family and feel better than ever but I really struggled with that idea plus I adored green peppers and tomatoes, potatoes was less of a struggle since I ached the next day, but I do love French fries ...sigh.

The weather has a lot to do with it i'm sure you know... cold and damp just makes me ache non stop. I adore Vancouver but I couldn't live there not even in the summer and i'm sure Seattle is the same.

I really agree if you can pay/befriend a younger gardener - a teenager maybe - who needs a friend would be really great ... but I also know that sometimes I wouldn't want anyone else working with me ... interferes with my thinking.

On the other hand I'd be really, really careful about not hurting myself because recovery would be so frustrating.

My friend who is 85 finds it hard to let go of what he used to do too.... 2 years ago he was walking on the roof of his 2 story house, clearing snow with a broom. I nearly passed out.

All the best to you ... :) .... silvana.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2014 at 8:59AM
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    Bookmark   November 29, 2014 at 2:53AM
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I don't think so..

    Bookmark   January 4, 2015 at 10:25PM
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just keep going, you are really cool

    Bookmark   January 11, 2015 at 10:26PM
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Sow_what? Southern California Inland

Romanticdreamer, I've been in the medical field most of my life. Working in your garden is one of the best things you're doing for your health -- keep it up! You might want to look for some tools that make garden tasks more efficient with arthritis. And diet, for example, eliminating refined and processed foods, vinegar, and oils while adding fresh seeds, beans, lentils can make a big difference. Fresh pineapple is even said to reduce pain.

An over-the-counter salve that comes recommended by some orthopedic surgeons is Dr Christopher's Healing Bone, Flesh, and Cartilage Salve which can be purchased online -- it's herbal and is used by some of the doctors I know. Or a home made poultice can be made from activated charcoal, comfrey, and psillium.

My hat's off to you for the tree climbing, and I'd love to meet you in a tree some day. I do think it's crucial tho, to avoid injuries when you're into the osteoporosis years. Healing doesn't go quickly, and I've seen people who were active go into a rapid decline, never to recover after a fracture. I think it's key, after you're older, to stay active, but to avoid injuries.

We post a lot of helpful tips on our Humpty Dumpty House facebook page, so I hope you'll join us there.
. . . . .

Visits to Humpty Dumpty House on facebook are much appreciated during this difficult time. If you like what we do, please give us a page "like". This simple act can help us get the gardens and our work back up and running during my absence due to an injury. ~Thank you!

Facebook for Humpty Dumpty House

    Bookmark   February 15, 2015 at 9:34AM
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