Monday, May 14, 2018

THE YEAR I BECAME AN OLD MAN or THE SOUND OF THE OTHER SHOE DROPPING

This is a rather plainly spoken post.  
Probably more information than you want to know.  
Perhaps you would like to do something else.

Age is something that creeps up on your blind side - at least it seems that way to me. One summer I walked along an island trail that clings to a cliffside that drops off over a hundred feet and thought little of it. Next year on the same trail I seem to be thinking about it more than just enjoying it. The next summer I notice that I don't feel sure at all and the next time I am on that trail I have a telescoping walking stick that now accompanies me anytime I am on irregular terrain. Age.

A few years ago I was walking up an inclined street on the way to work and I am short of breath. No pain, just a little breathlessness. I mention this to my PCP and she orders a stress test and what do you think? I have some sludge in my anterior coronary artery. I have slightly elevated BP. My cholesterol is a bit high. I am prescribed a daily regimen of pills for the first time in my life. Age.

In a regular scheduled physical my PCP asked about my ability to empty my bladder freely and I tell her that I do have occasional issues with that, so I am referred to a urologist for the first time in my life. After an examination he announces that I have an enlarged prostate. Another pill - and the pill works. Age.

A couple of years ago I began passing a little blood in my urine. A call to my urologist and we do a cystoscope procedure - we look into the bladder and find two tumors that must be dealt with. This is day surgery and it is successful. They were malignant tumors. The exact same thing happened recently and two more cancerous tumors were successfully removed. While anesthetized a biopsy was performed on the prostate to follow up on a suspicious bump discovered by a digital exam and cancer was discovered. Age.

I recently completed a series of 28 radiation treatments to deal with the prostate cancer. I feel great. I am essentially a-symptomatic. But I have cancer which if not treated somehow could become a different kind of serious problem. "They" say this works. I'm hopeful. Hope seems to be the coin of the realm as far as old people go.

The good news is that my doctors are optimistic.  Nothing like a happy doctor!  Good news #2:  I live in Paradise and I have wonderful friends, many of whom are not afraid of a nice warm hug.  I mean - think about it.

Finally it's like learning a new language: the language of old age. But it's more than words. It's the way you do everything.