Passing a Bone Density Test

I was a bit late starting to have my bones scanned. The first two times the scans were done in New York where they were quite passive. All I did was lie comfortably on a table as the arm of the equipment passed over me.

Time went by as I became more aware of aging. Old folks’ magazines harped on balance, among other things. A few weeks ago I added a short routine to the dressing schedule – standing first on one foot and then the other for several seconds. That was harder than it used to be, especially on the side that didn’t recover well from a total knee replacement. Little did I know that this was going to be beneficial for the upcoming bone density scan.

The friendly technician filled out a form as she asked me questions about smoking, drinking, exercise and such. Then she threw me a curve. I was to stand up and balance on one foot. Ah! I had unknowingly been prepping for this! I knew I could do it. She didn’t specify which leg to use, so I chose the better one. She said, “Cross your arms and put a hand on each shoulder.” How bad could that be? Well, it wasn’t bad, but it was almost impossible to do. If I couldn’t balance, would they send me to the emergency room at the hospital next door? “Sending over unbalanced woman for immediate observation!” Panic set in. “Do it, Anne. Just do it!” It didn’t help that the woman’s lips moved as she counted. How far did she need to go? A minute? An hour??? Each time my other foot touched the floor, she began again at one – one potato, two potato, three potato. I wanted to tell her to give me a break and start with five the next time. I swear her potatoes got bigger and bigger. I thought of demanding a stopwatch that didn’t get slower with each successive count. Finally, before I fell over and damaged something in the room, she pronounced herself satisfied. We could have been there all day!

Days later my doctor’s office called to give me the results. I have yet to see any number associated with the scans, but this time there was a name attached. It’s not good when you slowly slide into named diseases! The advice was to keep taking calcium and Vitamin D and to keep walking. Of course, I’ll keep walking! I probably started running about 72 years ago. I didn’t say that, knowing she meant walking as exercise. A morning walk of at least half an hour was my norm for the last 22 years. It was upped to an hour about six years ago.

Complacency might have been the correct label for my mental state. I was doing the right thing and would continue secretly working on balance. That was before I got blasted out of the water again. A smug article upped the ante. Can you guess what it suggested? It said to balance on one foot for a full minute, like when brushing your teeth!!! Golly Pete! If I can’t hold a pose with arms crossed, what is the likelihood I could do it while brushing my teeth as thoroughly as you are supposed to do? I challenge you to give it a try and let me know how well you do. Don’t fall. Knocking your teeth out while trying to balance is not recommended.

41 thoughts on “Passing a Bone Density Test

  1. Ack! I have osteoporosis (borderline) and need to take meds for it (so they say — next year I’ll find out the meds aren’t good for you). If you got a “name” it was probably osteopenia which is the stage prior. Most women have it to some extend. I’m still trying to walk and chew gum. Balancing on one leg? Wouldn’t be many potatoes for sure.

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    1. You are quite a sleuth! I have osteopenia. I’m sure walking and chewing gum wouldn’t work for me. I can’t do two things at once. I laughed that you wrote balancing wouldn’t be many potatoes for you. Would spuds go faster?

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  2. Anne,
    You write funnily about something that must not have been fun at all.
    Balancing on one leg is not fun for anyone past their first decade of life, I feel but glad you passed your tests and got a license with your name on it.
    I am going to try to balance on one foot while brushing if I can do it. Maybe I will crack the wash basin falling down.
    Susie

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    1. Actually, the scan appointment was fun. I enjoy making fun of myself. I tried balancing while brushing and probably looked like a wild bird flapping about. My mother had osteoporosis, so I’ve been expecting porous bones for ages.

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  3. A *minute*?!?? While brushing teeth??????!!!!!! Well: I say they need their *heads* examined! LOL! Of course I just tried it (with hands on opposite shoulders) and barely made it to a count of 3!! I will practise for sure! Apparently I need it! (Just as a side note, I was taking calcium & Vitamin D also – I’m 71 – but last year my doc said to stop the calcium and just take the Vitamin D. Something about newer studies that were done, saying the calcium isn’t good anymore to take as supplement? I dunno, you could check that out if you like.)
    Great post as usual!

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    1. When my doctor suggested the bone density scan, she said taking calcium seems to help women who are younger. After the scan, she said to keep taking it. I suspect the experts haven’t come out with a definitive statement yet, and taking calcium won’t hurt me. I’ll have to bone up on it.

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    2. I tell people my mom died of osteoporosis. Her spine began to disintegrate, so she sat in a wheelchair, without exercise, until she died. They didn’t know as much about it back then, and she sought help when it was already too late.

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  4. This cracked me up :” “Sending over unbalanced woman for immediate observation!”
    Every time we think we’ve figured out all their tricks they think up something new.
    I balance one foot at a time, but not while brushing teeth. OMG
    Still walking and taking vitamin D3 and calcium twice a day. So far so good
    (But must work on that stork stance while brushing teeth…)

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  5. I have osteoporosis. Was diagnosed with it almost ten years ago. Mom said I haven’t taken any milk substitute when I was a baby. Purely relied on breast milk. I still don’t drink milk until now because i don’t like it. I think having brittle bones is part of growing old.

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  6. Fun post, Anne. I didn’t quite last a minute with my arms crossed. Love a good power walk daily and can hardly wait for the weather to lift. With the rain I feel like a hamster on a wheel, but rearranging furniture a bit I’m getting in 2 miles circling the cottage every hour. Must try brushing teeth on one foot, alternating feet every other day. 😉

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    1. You did really well balancing for almost a minute! I haven’t worked up to timing myself yet. That’s amazing that you get in so much mileage by circling the cottage regularly. I’m trying to pause occasionally to use free weights. Should set a timer like you do. As to alternating feet every other day — I wouldn’t be able to remember which foot I last used.

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  7. what a funny, yet informative post! I so admire your consistent walking! The balance thing, is something I have practiced, but a full minute!! That is a stretch! gosh, I will do better, but not while brushing!!

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    1. The walking is just a habit. In NY I became friends with people who happened to be out at the same time. Every day was different. Here John walks with me most days, and we chat the whole time while having splendid scenery to look at. I’m not sure how long we are supposed to balance on one foot. It’s probably better not to know and just keep practicing.

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  8. Funny retelling of your appointment. I’ve had osteopenia for quite a few years, as well. I refuse to go on medicine and when I give in to getting retested, it usually remains pretty constant, so I guess I’ll make it. Great that you already walk an hour a day, that’s wonderful! I think you’ll be surprised at how much longer you can balance on one foot if you keep extending the time a tiny bit each week. I don’t do it while brushing teeth, but I’ve tried the alphabet method where you stand on one foot and write the alphabet in the air with your other foot, now that can get tricky!

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    1. Wow! You can stand on one foot and write the alphabet in the air with your other foot?????? I’d have a hard time doing that with a hand! You are amazing. I’d be content just doing the vowels. Forget “y” because it’s a “sometimes”.

      ‘m very glad to hear that your osteopenia hasn’t gotten worse. Since the doctor told me to have another bone scan in two years, she can’t be projecting crumbling bones for me in the near future.

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  9. Have to take that test in a few weeks, as a chronic pain patient due to my scoliosis, radiating pains, arthritis I was already wandering what my status would be…especially after my mother had some problems last year, had the test and turned out it was absolute phase red alert with two fractured back vertebrae without even falling or doing something wrong! She takes medication now weekly and will have another test this year if things have improved or at least stayed the same. As there is also a bit of a heritage factor to consider found it important to know already know at age of 45 what is what. I already take vitamin d and walk daily, or try to and sometimes just very short walks, as in too much pain. Wishing you all the best!

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    1. Hi, Ingrid. Thanks for reading and commenting. I’m sure my bone problems are not acute, since I was told to have the bone scan again in two years. I’d love to know how you make out with your bone density scan. I hope it will be good news. Meanwhile, it’s good that you know your have a heritage factor in the equation. They say walking is one of the best things you can do for your bones. Good luck.

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  10. Brushing your teeth while performing a balancing act sounds like the ultimate challenge! Even with hands on shoulders seems daunting. You are a strong and wonderful woman.

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    1. I’d be a goner if I had to stand on one leg while brushing my teeth. I did once see something I thought was impossible. My daughter lifted her foot, took her shoe off, put it back on, and retied it while standing on the other foot. If I had known I needed a video of that, I would have taken it. It defies logic and gravity!

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