When? he asked. When does middle age end and old age begin?

"When" he asked, " when does middle age end and old age begin?"

It took awhile to recover from his question.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Picking up speed on the downhill stretch

If I were religious I'd say  we have been blessed with good health.

We being 'my family,' both the children I have borne and the family I was born into. My husband too, has a family history of good health and longevity. On the periphery  of my family life I have known of people who suffered from ill health and disease but my fore bearers and those of my spouse have lived to impressive  ages, in remarkable good health. My children and grandchild, to date; hale and hearty, my spouse; vigorous and vital.The one cloud on this sunny horizon was the death in early adulthood  of my dear brother Todd, victim of  an aggressive brain tumor.

My friends too have been fortunate to be healthy and parents of healthy children. I have never had to support a close friend with a sick parent, nor give comfort to a friend with sick or injured child or a terminal spouse. I believe  my  life is exceptional in this regard. I cannot attribute it to good living   and see it as little more than dumb luck, adequate nutrition, clean water, immunization and preventive health care. I have given considered thought to this over the last few years and have reckoned that this will not continue as I age.

Someone I know will have a stroke, someone will suffer a heart attack, someone will develop Parkinson's and surely someone will fight cancer. As I age, the incidences of the diseases of aging will increase in my peer group and touch me personally, this is inevitable. It also stands to reason that the odds of encountering catastrophic illness in my community of acquaintances increase as the years go on.It happens to other people and I can expect the same. How can it not be so?

Yesterday I visited one of my oldest friends in the hospital, something I haven't done since all our babies were being delivered into this world. He is a grandfather of two. He seems to be doing very well. He doesn't give off the vibe of someone terribly ill. His condition, just treated, was one of those found  in adults over 50 . It was found in a routine health examination. Tissue and lymph nodes have been sent for further examination, but all indications are that this is due diligence rather than a suspicion of anything more sinister. I am optimistic his crooked smile, quirky sense of humour and kindness will be with me for years to come, but know too that his health is the first of my circle to be seriously affected and that we all will again be touched as time goes on in this down hill track to the end.

No comments: