Saturday, March 6, 2010

WHY DO WE HAVE TO GET OLD?

To scream or not to scream...that is the question. Sometimes you feel like saying: "Hey, don't I count? Is there someone out there who cares if I'm sick, or feeling puny, or just want some TLC? But alas, that doesn't happen. You put all your Florence Nightingale skills to work, use your Nurse Ratchet (which my husband calls me) hard-nosed techniques to work, and hope everything you try to do helps the patient.

My husband, 83 years of age and just out of surgery for squamous cell carcinoma of the face and neck, seems to be getting better by the day, however, his Parkinson's seems to be going downhill by the day. It's not enough that he's plagued with the PD, but now he's got an eye that won't close, caused by a severed facial nerve during surgery, redness and pain, and then his blood pressure plummets, and you wonder, WHY do you have to get old?

I think Fitzgerald had it right with Benjamin Button: be born old, gently slide into middle age, then enter childhood with all its glorious wonderment and freedom. But alas, we are here, dying cell by cell, day by day.

Many women I've asked say they started thinking of their mortality at about age 40; before that age we think we'll live forever. The life expectancy statistics for women in this century is about 84.l years of age. The good news is that we didn't live in the Roman Empire era where life expectancy hovered around 25 to 28 years of age. I guess those orgies and food feasts did them in, as well as the raping and pillaging.

Here are some thoughts I've garnered from women, who all seem to think about this at one time or another: Okay, say we're in our forties. If we live up to the statistics, that means we have another 40 years to go. Yahoo! Plenty of time to do all that we want to do. Then all of a sudden we find we are in our 60s. Okay, 20 more years will work. And then one day we wake up (having no idea where the years went) and find we are in our 70s. We panic. Wait, we're not ready for this. It puts a damper on all our plans. Now that we're older, we have the money to travel; no kids, hopefully no bills, but now we find the body has taken on a host of nasty diseases. So the money we've saved for our "old age" goes for medicines, walking aids, hearing aids, chewing aids, and sometimes--horrors--nursing homes. It isn't fair, I tell you!

One consolation is that we do have it better than the men, statistic-wise; life expectancy statistics for men is only to age 73.

So, younguns, while you can, live, laugh and count off the days. And try to beat the Grim Reaper. Enjoy those trips before it's too late!

2 comments:

The Adventures of Missy G said...

You're so right, Broad Abroad! I'm 30 and was getting hung up on things, but recent events taught me to chill out. Life isn't forever, so quit whining and get on with the task of making yourself happy. Working for me so far:-) All the best of your travels x

Christine said...

Hi Dodie,
Thanks for sharing this. I am definitely at that point when I am thinking about the future. (I am 42 years old!) I'll be reading your blog more often, Dodie. Your words speak to me more than you know.
Thanks!
Sincerely,
Christine