Site Meter Elsie's Space: Shrinkage
Location: New England, United States

Not much to tell.

Monday, January 29, 2007


Yes, Shrinkage. One word which can evoke any number of responses. If you were a Seinfeld fan, you're probably chuckling. If your husband just dried your favorite cotton sweater on 'high,' you're probably not. And if you're me, today, it's not funny in any way at all.

Shrinkage. At the doctor...nurse says, "Please step on the scale." (Isn't that the absolute worst part of a physical?) Ugh. She tells me my current weight. Not too bad, but something I never reveal. Then she slides the stainless bar down on top of my head and pronounces "Five feet, seven and a half inches." "What?!!" I reply. "You're five feet, seven and a half inches." "No, that can't be right." Now here's where I must admit to having lied to everyone. I stretched the truth a little bit. I say that I am 5'8", knowing full well that I am, in fact, 5' 7-3/4". But when someone asks, "How tall are you?" it doesn't feel right to say it. Sort of like saying, "I'm 45-1/2 years old." Nope. So I do what any red-blooded woman will, I round up when it comes to my height, round down when it comes to my weight (but that's another story altogether). I tell the nurse that I'm 5' 7-3/4". She decides to measure me again. I stand as tall as I possibly can, wishing that 1/4" to magically reappear. No. "You are definitely 5' 7-1/2" tall. Sorry." How can this be?

Shrinkage. Not much I can do, so I wait patiently for the doctor to come in. When she finally arrives she asks, "How's everything going? Feeling good?" "Yes. I'm feeling great, finally. But I'm concerned that I measured 5' 7-1/2". I'm positive I've always been 5' 7-3/4"." She looks through my chart and acknowledges, "Yes, you're right. You've always been 5' 7-3/4". Let's go measure again." I breathe a sigh of relief. It must be the nurse. Yeah, that's it. She has no idea how to properly measure people. I step back onto the scale, doc slides down the steel bar. She looks at me and says, "Elsie, sorry to say, but you you are indeed 5' 7-1/2" tall." I ask her, "Is this because I'm getting older?" "It may be," she responds, "but it could be that you lost a bit of height from your back surgery. I'm not really sure. We'll keep an eye on it."

Shrinkage. Okay. It's been confirmed and reconfirmed. I am five feet, seven and one-half inches tall. I can't believe it. Shouldn't I have noticed that I've gotten shorter? And now what do I do? Do I still round up to 5'8"? Or do I (grudgingly) round down to 5'7"? I've decided that I will continue to round up, but what if next year I'm 5' 7-1/4"? Guess I'll cross that bridge when I come to it. For now -- I am five feet, eight inches tall. That's my stock answer, and I'm sticking to it.

Shrinkage. Sigh.


Blogger Liz said...

In the same way that I am 5'5". Definitely round up height. Although even when I do and round down my weight, it's still too much for my height!

12:09 PM  
Blogger Elsie said...

I'm with you there, Liz. Now what about Body Mass Index? When the good doctor showed me where I fit in on the chart, she said "perfect" and showed me that I fall right on the edge of normal. I swear if I gain even one ounce I will jump over to the overweight category. That's sure to keep me on my toes. Now if only I could figure out how to get back that 1/4"!

5:01 PM  
Blogger MaryB said...

2" heels, baby, 2" heels! And if you shrink more, make 'em 3"!

I'm 5' 3 1/2", but I've always told folks I'm 5'4". Not sayin' a word about my weight . . .

8:25 PM  
Blogger Elsie said...

Oh, Mary. I haven't worn real heels (more than an inch) in years. I must admit that when I felt I needed an edge in a meeting (I spent more than a decade working in the construction industry), I'd pop on the three-inchers. I swear that the guys were intimidated by my being 5'11". Since I spend my days wearing sneakers, I find that I look like a kid wearing mommy's shoes whenever I wear heels (or maybe I've become a weeble). Perhaps I should start practicing now so I'll be ready for the next 1/4"!

6:38 AM  
Blogger Liz said...

BMI - pah! According to a wall chart that came free with a newspaper, I am in the overweight category and quite significantly. I have never been in that category before and my weight hasn't changed much so I just don't believe it! That's the easiest way I find.

9:07 AM  
Blogger Elsie said...

Liz, surely the chart you looked at is not at all the same one I got (I think that Americans are allowed extra pounds in ours -- we're naturally bigger, don't you know). From the photos of you I've seen, I just can't imagine anyone considering you overweight. I propose that we never talk of such things again. The three of us (you, Mary, me) should think of ourselves as fabulous just the way we are.

1:49 PM  
Blogger Clare said...

I'm 5'9 and have always begrudged the extra inch that I was supposed to be. You know when the health visitor measures you when you're 2 and then works out your height? I was supposed to be 5'10".
However, I suppose, since Phil is only 5'9" (tho he rounds it up to 5'10" which is definitely not true!!) I'm quite pleased I'm the height I am... I'd never be able to wear heels otherwise...

6:08 AM  
Blogger Clare said...

oh and BMI!!!! Bane of my life. Half the time my friends have told me I'm "dangerously undernourished" (a phrase that produces images of starving Ethiopians, surely) and then the next time I do it, I'm normal-heavy! I don't understand it!!

6:10 AM  
Blogger Elsie said...

Well, Clare, my doctor predicted I'd reach all of 5'4". So he was way off. I appreciate every additional inch, but I'm still the "shrimp" of my family. And my 12-year-old son will pass me any day now!

Just forget about that nasty BMI thing. Professional athletes often come out in the obese range, so I tell myself that something's just not right with that foolish chart!

6:19 AM  

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