Things we Oldies Need to Talk About

The older I get the more I worry about the afflictions that come with old age. What would happen if one of us was diagnosed with Alzheimers? Or cancer? Or suffered a disabling (but not fatal) stroke?

Periodically one or other of my UK pension providers need to reassure themselves that I am still alive and eligible to continue to receive my pension. They have different methods. One sent me €10 I had to collect from my local post office showing proof of ID. Another sent out a form that required the signature of a solicitor or GP. I took it to my GP and used the opportunity to share some health concerns with her.

She submitted me to the test described in the first of the blogs I’m sharing today. I came through with flying colours. A set of half a dozen blood tests did, however, reveal something. Nothing too serious I hasten to add – a deficiency of vitamin B12. It seems this is not uncommon in older people and is caused by the inability of the stomach lining to produce a factor that enables the body to metabolise B12. The treatment is straight forward – weekly injections for five weeks, then a booster every 3 months.

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Jill Stoking – follow the first of my two links to read how she is facing Alzheimers

As I say, nothing too serious. But this week I came across two accounts of people facing much more worrying conditions, one of them a well known journalist whose work I have admired for a long time, the other a lady who shared her experience on Lucinda E Clarke’s blog yesterday. What both are advocating is the importance of talking about these subjects that are too often treated as taboo matters.

Here is the article about Alzheimers and here is George Monbiot’s piece from the Guardian newspaper about his Prostate cancer.

10 thoughts on “Things we Oldies Need to Talk About

  1. My wife has a PhD in Rhetoric and still takes ballet class. But with all that the only thing she can say about this topic is “Getting old f*cking sucks!” Just before Christmas 2016 I sent an old friend a note. She told me her husband was dying of liver cancer. They told him to get his life in order, maybe two months. Take your un-sick life and shove it she said. I understood. I waited a year, heard the cosmic doorbell ring, sent a mote. Just taking her temp. She wrote back at 3 in the morning, distraught, confused, lost. He was still aive. Is still alive. Been dying and driving everyone around nuts for going on a year and half. Death is never easy. When it calls quick the recriminations eek out over time. If it comes slow, they turn into a molasses-like history that distorts memory and wears people down like 60 grit sandpaper on their souls. Old ain’t pretty. And it can be downright ugly if you let it. Sing until the song is over and try not to take anyone down with you. Best you can do. I asked a cardiologist once, looking for something defnitive. She said, “No one gets out alive, that’s the deal. Take your meds, live your life.”

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Frank,
    When I realize all the things that could go wrong, I’m amazed that so much goes right. What if none of those bad things happened, and you died peacefully in your sleep? Then you would have worried for nothing. I don’t believe age is as bad as the fear of it.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. That is so well put. Even without the meds and treatments (my case, zero of each) we are the result of perhaps a too-good life, if difficult to admit. At least, by comparison to so many in the rest of the world. Good food, relatively low stress except what we cause ourselves, so many things denied others – these contribute to an extended life but when such has little or no purpose, in the end there is great sadness in that. We were never designed (if design it is, or evolved) to just be spectators of life.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Sometimes not-so-good food and a sedentary lifestyle contributes to diseases threatening to kill us off as well. We must be ever vigilant if we want to see our grandchildren grow up.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Frank,
    I hear you loud and clear. I’ll be 72 and I have been through a major health issue. It was three plus years ago I was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkins lymphoma. After six rounds of chemo and six weeks of radiation, I”m so far cancer free. So yes, I do think about my health and try to enjoy every day of my retirement. You are among friends.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for that, Chuck. I am thankful that thus far both I and the missis have avoided any serious health issue. We try to stick to sensible diets and exercise both body and mind. So far it seems to be working.

      Liked by 1 person

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