Growing Old Isn’t For Wussies…

…but it sure beats the alternative.  I’ve been reminded of the “alternative” quite a few times recently.

It began with learning about the death of a college alum. I did not know Harry Singletary; he was Class of ‘68 and I didn’t arrive until 1970.  But he was a “legend” there.

“Harry Singletary” was associated with “star basketball player” at our college.  Before then, Florida Presbyterian (now Eckerd) was just a small college of academic overachievers with a facsimile sports program.  He gave us some sports credibility.  (Not that students were looking for it.)

Harry was also in the college’s first graduating class with African-Americans. He went on to become the first African-American to head the Florida prison system.

Later that week, I indulged in a rare lunch outside the office and ran into another college alum who was two classes behind me.  Charlie was a sports photographer on the campus newspaper when I was editor.

I did not even know he lived in town until I happened upon him a few months earlier while I was walking around the office complex during lunch. Charlie’s now an attorney for the utility regulatory commission and works in the building across from mine. Small world…

I asked Charlie if he had heard about Harry.  He said he had and then he asked if I knew that two other alums who were at the campus when we were there had died recently.  I had not and knew them both.  (With only about 1,000 students on the whole campus, we knew almost every other student regardless of class.)  One had died from cancer and the other from a heart attack. They were in their mid-50s.

That’s one of the aspects of getting older.  More and more folks you know die.  Including your friends.  And at fairly “young” ages too.

I almost died as an infant.  Also, I almost drowned in elementary school after my arm got caught in a swimming pool water outlet pipe in the deep end.  That near drowning instilled in me an appreciation for life that endures today.

About  a week after Harry Singletary died, I came down with a UTI (urinary tract infection).  Very nasty.  I had a fever of about 102, and was so dehydrated when I showed up at my HMO’s Urgent Care that they gave me an IV. And liquid antibiotics through the IV.  That was a reminder of mortality.

The last time I had anything serious was about seven years ago, when I caught chicken pox at a matinee of Shrek full of kids.  Adult chicken pox is also very nasty.  Thank goodness the blisters never itched, which is supposed to be the worst part of chicken pox. (I’ve never had measles or mumps either.)

Although to date my health has been excellent, learning about the deaths of folks I know, especially if they’re younger than me or about my age, is rattling.  It is another reminder of mortality, a fact which we all acknowledge but push out of consciousness.  Which makes sense. Why dwell on something we cannot control?

There are other reminders.  A scratch now takes up to two weeks before the scab disappears.  And then there’s the medications.

The number of medications I’m taking is growing.  After a second (but thankfully milder) UTI two months after the first one, I have a new medication.  The descriptively named FloMax.  😉

One thing I don’t like about prescription medication is that most have a variety of possible side effects.  Here is the one that concerns me about FloMax:

FLOMAX capsules can cause a painful erection which cannot be relieved by having sex. If this happens, get medical help right away.

Can you imagine Susie’s 911 call on that one?  “Help, my husband’s up and can’t get down!”  😉   (OK guys, don’t be rushing out to your doctor asking for FloMax, which at $10 for 30 pills is probably much cheaper than Viagra.)

FloMax becomes pill number six that I’m taking.  The only other prescription I’m taking is for blood pressure, which is preventative since my doctor started me on it when I was at “pre-hypertension” stage.  There’s also low-dose aspirin on my doctor’s recommendation.  On my own, I’m taking a senior multi-vitamin, calcium, and fish oil.

Six pills a day means I’m growing older.  But it sure beats the alternative….because I want to stay just a little bit longer.

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6 responses to “Growing Old Isn’t For Wussies…

  1. Ah my all time fav Jackson Brown song. The Load Out/Stay

    You are correct sir, growing older is not for wussies . I am up to 8 pills plus 4 vitamin supplements. I didn’t take any before I started snoring because the chiropractor told me to sleep on my back only. Then everything changed. But that’s another story.

  2. I don’t want to upset the apple cart but who is Jackson Browne?

    I’m only on 3 meds but I take one twice a day for a total of 4 pills.

    Iv’e always wanted to know, just what does the doctor do when you have an erection that requires medical attention?

  3. I think ee knows who he is, just doesn’t recognize the genre. I remember the first time I actually listened to the load out I was jogging with my walkman and it came on as I finished my 10 miles. I was thrilled and asked my daughter who that was. She was about 16 at the time and looked at me as if I were from the moon. Of course at 16 I might just as well HAVE been from the moon in her eyes.

    I am also quite fond of The Times You’ve Come.

  4. I agree. I’ll take growing older, as opposed to the fate of a few of my high school class mates. One was a police officer, shot and killed by a criminal. One was killed in a car accident. More recently, one died due to a brain tumor.

    So far, I’m managing pretty well in the pill department. I take a multi-vitamin and a fish oil pill every day. And there’s only one prescription that I only take over the winter months.

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