altivo: From a con badge (studious)
[personal profile] altivo
One of the things about getting older is that other people get older too. Most of us notice our friends and relatives aging without quite seeing the same thing happening to ourselves unless serious health issues arise.

While I've been pretty fortunate in that respect, I've now survived the loss of nearly all my older relatives. My family was never all that large, but grandparents, parents, aunts, uncles, a number of cousins and an older sibling have all passed away, leaving me the oldest survivor of my immediate family. Oddly, I still don't feel "old" in spite of having retired from daily work and being able to take advantage of the occasional "senior discount."

However, it gets closer to home when personal friends are affected. A good friend for many years now, who attended the same university I did (though we had not yet met) and has been fairly close to my husband and me for as long as we've been together (35 years!) has been seriously ill with histoplasmosis. That's a systemic infection by a parasitic fungus if I understand it correctly. It's typically acquired from bat or bird droppings and not very common. Difficult to diagnose and with complex symptoms, the disease can be life-threatening if untreated. He was not diagnosed early, and eventually reached a state of emergency before getting a correct diagnosis. Fortunately, that came just in time and treatment is succeeding, but he has been hospitalized for many weeks and is only now recovering his ability to walk, eat, and perform the tasks of daily life. He is only a couple of years older than I am, and has always been a very active outdoors individual. This is sobering and a bit frightening.

Meanwhile, husband Gary's younger brother has been hospitalized for over two months due to major heart issues. He has had two major heart attacks in the past, and has become so weak that they put him on the waiting list for a heart transplant. This week he received an LVAD, a heart-assist mechanism, in a six hour surgical procedure. His doctors hope this will keep him going until a replacement heart becomes available. He is five or six years younger than I am.

My own younger brother has had both knees and a hip replaced, and has also had back surgery and major heart issues more than once but seems to be continuing a pretty normal life. Fortunately he is married to a very skilled and wise master nurse who can spot issues early and take appropriate action.

So far I've had no big problems and everything seems to be under control. But I begin to wonder if the proverbial sword of Damocles is up there waiting to fall on me.

Date: 2017-07-28 08:03 am (UTC)
soanos: (Default)
From: [personal profile] soanos
Getting old sucks.

You have been quite lucky to not have anything serious happen to you yet. Let's hope it stays that way. I've been battling Crohn's Disease for most of my life so I can't even remember what it was like to be "normal". What I have learned is that stress, depression, anxiety, unhappiness and loneliness are the most influential factors to my physical health.

Which just about sums up my life until now. I must admit, I am so envious of you and everyone else for your health but at the same time I am also glad at least one of us is "healthy as a horse".

My family is rapidly shrinking too, as I have lost both of my parents within 4 years time. My father died in 2013 because he did nor survive surgery, and my mother died last year of lung cancer. I haven't been in much contact with my siblings, but I know at least they are still alive. I have no idea how my family is these days, but last time I saw them at my mother's funeral it was not looking too good. Pretty much none of my older relatives looked like they have a lot of time left on the clock.

That makes me wonder how long I have left. My parents managed to just over 70. I also dread to even think the "quality" of the rest of my life. I've heard that after 40 things will not be getting any better. Really scares me to think how it could possibly get much worse than it is now. Quite honestly, I am terrified of getting old and decrepit. Or, old. I am decrepit already. But what scares me the most is that I might die alone and forgotten. But not much I can really do, other than try to make stupid jokes about it and hope at least someone is entertained. But there are days I am just questioning the point of keeping up with this Sisyphean struggle.

I wish Damocles would take a break from chopping bits out of my intestines too. It is getting tiring to be in constant recovery from surgery. :p

Date: 2017-07-28 03:15 pm (UTC)
soanos: (Default)
From: [personal profile] soanos
Well, Crohn's is manageable if you can feel loved, happy, stress-free and content. But none of those apply to me. really. As if the universe just wanted me to suffer and feel unloved and alone.
My meetup with a friend I wave been having some half-serious talk with is starting to be uncertain now. He just pulled the rug under me and said he wants to stay local for his vacation.
I feel I am back to square -1 again. We had only been talking about it for a few months, no big deal... Really stings. Trying to see if I can make him change his mind.
There are no words to describe how I feel.

And what comes to "modern, western medicine" it seems to never have a cure to anything that really matters, to be honest.

Date: 2017-07-28 02:22 pm (UTC)
deffox: (Sophy)
From: [personal profile] deffox
Knock on wood that you have many good years in the future.

I still hopefully have time before having similar experiences. This decade's realizations are that I can't take the health of my siblings or myself for granted. Many friends are losing parents. My parents are becoming the oldest surviving members of the immediate family. And friends have started to die from non-accident causes.

Date: 2017-08-01 02:42 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] chibiabos
You have a couple decades on me, if I recall, but even at just 41, I feel old. I have some increasingly frustrating medical issues, but its more about the ever-growing list of friends and loved ones I've lost. My last ex boyfriend, for instance, passed away just this past May, I lost another dear friend late last year.

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