‘Dem bones’ are A-OK

I had a bone density (densitometry or “dexa”) scan yesterday (you just lie on a table while the machine passes overhead). At my age (73) I was probably way overdue for such a test. The only other one I’ve had was the one required when I signed up for Medicare, and as I recall then they only looked at my wrist.

Basically a dexa is an x-ray of your pelvis, lower back, and thighs, because nobody wants to see an old person break a hip (often the beginning of the end). It’s common in old age for bones to thin and weaken, especially in postmenopausal women. In addition, corticosteroids can cause it — I’ve had more than my share of them — and it’s also more common in taller women. I’m 5’8″ (or 5’7½” now if you want to believe the nurses at the cancer center).

The scan didn’t include my chest, where radiation treatments might have weakened my ribs and breastbone, but since broken hips are the biggest concern, I guess I won’t complain. I do wish they’d stop asking me — every single time I check in down there — if I’ve fallen since my last visit. I know it’s a big deal and I’m as cautious as I can be without living in one of those giant bouncy balls, but they are making me positively paranoid about falls. It’s particularly unnerving since I live alone. Come on, people. All I can do is all I can do. Besides, if I do fall, the cast and wheelchair should be obvious.

Anyway, the scan took all of 10 minutes. When I left they said I should probably get the results by Tuesday. They underestimated my doctor. He posted to my “patient portal page” last night that everything was normal.

I suppose I shouldn’t have been surprised. I was taking a tiny bit of estrogen until a year ago, and I’ve take calcium supplements for years. And my weight-bearing bones have certainly had some weight to bear. Still, a lot has happened in the last year and I wasn’t sure what to expect.

All in all, “normal” sounds great!



7 thoughts on “‘Dem bones’ are A-OK

  1. Jim Wheeler Saturday, April 23, 2016 / 2:29 pm MDT

    My Mollie hadn’t had a bone scan but she did fall and break her pelvis a couple of years ago. She is apparently pretty tough because she recovered through sheer grit and hatred of hospitals. She is more careful now. I had read that a large proportion of breaks in the elderly are not caused by falls, but that falls are caused by breaks. The hip gives way.

    Congrats on your good news, PT!

    • PiedType Saturday, April 23, 2016 / 2:38 pm MDT

      Thanks, Jim. I appreciate it. I’ve seen so many relatives with broken bones and have heard such tales of doom about broken hips. It makes sense that a lot of falls are caused by breaks (happened to my sister-in-law, and she was alone at the time). Regardless of the cause-effect sequence, I don’t want to experience it. So glad Mollie had a good recovery.

  2. philosophermouseofthehedge Monday, April 25, 2016 / 7:01 am MDT

    These scans seem to be on the list for each year now. So far so good. Next they will be nagging you to hit the weight lifting to improve bone density…I hate weight lifting…what I do with the little ones at home is half hearted and irregular. Keep feeling guilty that my oldest uncle started lifting weights at age 98….he was an early adopter of naps – 20 min at work everyday. Live to 102 – and if he hadn’t broken that hip.
    Falls not good. (it’s annoying but they always ask about falls – does being dragged down by dog chasing squirrel count? )
    YEA for good bones!

    • PiedType Monday, April 25, 2016 / 7:39 am MDT

      Weight lifting? I can hardly lift my 200 lbs off the couch right now. Wouldn’t just walking constitute weight lifting? In any case, it hasn’t been mentioned yet. Just trying to walk more. But yes, very happy the bones are still okay. Give it a year or two …

      • philosophermouseofthehedge Monday, April 25, 2016 / 8:26 am MDT

        I feel exactly the same way. UGH. Moving groceries,cat, dog, and stuff around the house should count as weight lifting

        • PiedType Monday, April 25, 2016 / 8:41 am MDT

          If I could do all that without excessive huffing and puffing, I’d consider myself back to normal. Right now the weekly grocery run takes everything I’ve got.

"You don’t have to say everything to say something." ~Beth Moore

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