Wednesday, May 21, 2008

What A Drag It Is Getting Old . . .

Next month I will be 44 years old. . Wow, that is almost halfway to 90 . . . It seems like only a short time ago that I thought people over 30 were old.

There have been many things over the past year that I have both observed and been subjected to, that remind me of my frailty and mortality.

About a year ago I was at work and around mid day I started having these shooting pains in arm and chest. I tried to wish them away but that did not work. So I did what most fools do, I tried to ignore them. As the afternoon went on, these uninvited pains continued. It was then that I made a deal with myself. I said to my co-worker, “if this continues I am going to stop at the ER on the way home to get checked out.”

I drive by six (6) hospitals on my way to work so going to the ER was not really going out of my way. Besides, I knew the moment I told my wife what I was experiencing, she would just make me turn around a go right back to where I should have stopped. Anyway, I left work at 6pm and stopped at a local area hospital. As soon as I told the nurse what I was experiencing, within 5 minutes I was on my back, on a gurney, with an IV and EKG monitor. I guess a middle aged, overweight, middle class white male was a typical candidate for a heart attack. While I was more of a risk taker with my life and health, the hospital ER staff was not taking any chances. The tests came back negative and a couple of hours later I was released to follow up with my own doctor who had me complete a series of stress tests and complete cardio screening before telling me I had to diet and exercise. The mystery pains left and have not returned.

Several months later I had another visit to the ER, but this time it was in the middle of the night. I swear I thought I was dying. . But the check in nurse at the ER was not impressed with the agonizing pain and distress I was in. On the contrary, she told me without a hint of empathy that I was more than likely only passing a kidney stone. She was right. .the scans showed, not one, not two, but three large stones. This got me to an urologist . . . in one year; I had seen two specialists . . . aren’t specialist the type of doctor that old people see? Wait, I am not old. . Well, maybe just a little . . . ok, uncle! Yes, I am getting old. I may share more about kidney stones and my experiences treating and passing them, but be warned; this is not for the squeamish! Yes, my kidney stones and trips to the urologist deserve their own special entry!

Lastly, back around Christmas, I found reading was getting difficult. I would get fatigued from reading so I stopped reading at night for the first time in forty years. My wife suggested I go see an eye doctor. I did. Now I have reading glasses.

So through diet and exercise I have lost over 30 pounds. I eat much better too. I feel better than I have felt for years. But I am still growing old. Next month I will be 44 and no matter what I do or don’t do, I am still going to die someday. But that also is a topic for another time.

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