For years, I’ve seen advertisements with slick photos of wealthy-looking silver-haired couples walking hand in hand along a sparkling beach enjoying “the golden years.” There’s a reason they use paid models for the photos: they’re fiction.
More than likely one person needs a cane, wheelchair or oxygen tank to make the stroll. I’m not complaining as I’m just happy to be alive, but the odds of someone making it into their 70s or beyond without a major medical issue are pretty darn low, no matter what you do.
I got my first major scare a few weeks ago with a nasty case of acute urine retention due to prostate blockage. Sounded minor at first, but as I later found out, it was deadly serious.
Luckily, we have emergency rooms, and sensing something was terribly wrong, I went in for my first ER visit in almost 63 years, and they quickly took care of the first phase of stabilizing me – and then promptly went to the second, vital phase of getting my billing information.
Well, they do have a captive audience. At that point, you’re willing to pay whatever it takes to stay alive.
I asked the doc about my condition and he said, “you don’t get these things when you’re young – only when you age and are 60 or older.”
Thanks, buddy. Not fun to hear, but at least he was honest.
And hitting my 60s happened quickly. A favorite saying is, “I thought growing old would take longer.”
I’ve always worked hard on my health. I’m sure it has helped, but sometimes it doesn’t. I know of an elite runner who was in great shape at 52. One day he just fell over and died.
In the past month, I’ve either gone to a friend’s funeral or learned about several friends passing – all younger than me.
My high school reunion committee recently sent out an email stating that next year is likely our last reunion since after that, too many attendees would need mobility assistance.
No matter how well you manage your health, it seems something can and will sneak up on you and slap you down.
And money doesn’t matter. It didn’t make any difference for Wichita-born David Koch, who died at only 78 – with $48 billion of net worth.
If you’re aging, financially independent and have perfect health, you’re one in a billion. Regardless, you will pass away someday.
As my doctor said, the death rate for his patients is 100 percent. The variable is when – and how – you get there.
So what’s a person to do?
Unless you’re going to jump into a cryogenics tank in hope of coming back thousands of years from now, it’s probably best to start living for today.
You know all the diet and exercise tips, so the only other thing to do is work on re-programming your approach.
My personal favorite is comedy. If you can’t laugh, it’s game over.
Given that, in my recovery, I had a hard time bending over, we bought one of those grabber devices. There’s hours of fun seeing what we could and couldn’t pick up. OK, what’s next, wheelchair races? Geritol in shot glasses?
And don’t forget the jokes.
My favorite 911 laugh relief site is www.Onelinefun.com. Among their zingers: “How do you know you’re old? People call at 8 p.m. and ask, “Did I wake you?” Or, “I grew a beard thinking it would say ‘distinguished gentleman.’ Instead, turns out it says, “senior discount, please.” Or, “Being an older adult is just walking around wondering what you’re forgetting.” All of those sure are true.
Dealing with health issues as we age is certainly not fun, but if you can’t stop them, you might as well laugh about them.