Search This Blog

Saturday, April 27, 2024


[11:15am, April 27, 2024]
Friday marked what a local Northeastern PA weatherman calls "another trip around the sun" for me.  Specifically, it was my 60th such trip. This is a monumental achievement, well, if this were the 1400's. As it stands, April 26, 2024, was pretty much another day, all be it in a rather bumpy week.  More on that in a moment.

Regarding the above-mentioned trip around the sun, Ms. Rivers had asked me if I wanted to do anything special for the big day.  (not) Shockingly, I said no.  I did, however, request coconut cream pie. And pizza. Both wishes were honored.  

Now is where I am supposed to offer some road apple of older-person wisdom, but I won't. Well, I won't other than this:  At age 60 I am still learning new stuff...both about myself and the world around me...and this is a good thing.  On a related note, a valid question to ask at this kind of occasion is "what does it feel like to be 60?", and based on this past week, my answer is a solid "I hope not like this".  Let me count the ways.

The week started with me trying to deal with the remnants of a cold I acquired the weekend before. Now I don't get colds very often; something like every other year sounds about right. When I do though there is about a 25% chance that it will cause some asthma-related issues. That was this case, and I am pecking this out now while sitting at a local DMV office, getting my driver's license renewal, with what feels like a feather duster stuck between the back of my nose and my throat. Interesting analogy, I know, but also a practical pain in the rear-end. 

Speaking of pain, coughing, at this stage, feels like an Olympic sport. Literally, my very diaphragm feels like it has run a marathon and now is being asked to swim 49 laps.  I want to cough, but it doesn't feel all that great plus it's also not that productive (from a "getting crap out of my system" perspective).  

[later in the day...]
Driver's license in hand, it's now the evening.  In totality, I was at the above referenced DMV office for less than an hour, which is nothing short of remarkable.  The staff was friendly and efficient, something one doesn't always associate with such places.  

Side Note:  Is complaining about one's health a stereotypical thing that "old people" do?  I may be skating on thin ice with this posting.

Anyway, back to the week that was.  Cold and asthma issues noted, I ended up going to a local urgent care, as breathing was becoming a bit of a problem by the time Monday afternoon came about.  After about a 20 minute wait, I saw an outstanding nurse practitioner, who was very, very helpful.  Some blood was drawn, nebulizer treatment performed and 'roids prescribed.  Also required was a chest x-ray, which necessitated a trip of about 3 miles to another health facility.  That was done in short order, as were the x-ray results: No pneumonia, arthritis in my spine and some kind of lump in my lungs.

Not the best of news.

Fast forward to Thursday and I ended up getting a CT Scan.  The good news is that lump really wasn't there...curse those two-dimensional x-rays...although there were other things of a lessor-but-still-sucky nature.  Still, it took a lot off my chest (figuratively speaking), and now I'm "just" dealing with dry coughs and the occasional wheeze.  I am also nearly done with the 'roids treatment, which has helped a bit, but not a lot.  I will say this though...I am feeling better, all be it at a pace that seems all too slow.  

There is something of a cosmic/karmic lesson in all of this stuff, what with getting older, health scares, etc. all coming together in a week.  I absolutely know that I have not been a friend to my physical body over the past few years, with it subjugated to a lessor importance as I try to navigate the murky waters of being late in my professional life, with all the stress that entails.  There is lots of irony to go around, including the notion that I have the potential for a long and fulfilling retirement in a few years, complete with a reasonable amount of financial stability, but yet I seem to be subversively doing things that might impede that from happening.  For someone who prides himself on being logical (me), it's all so very illogical.  

Difficult times though offer dramatic opportunities for clarity in life.  This is a kind of true-ism that is easier to write than to actually experience, but here I am, and I know where I need to go.

Post Script
I know the above reads to be pretty dark for something that should be a bit more uplifting, namely a "milestone" birthday.  The week, by the way, was not all terrible; for example, I had a chance to attend a half-day workshop on A.I. in Philadelphia on Tuesday that was very interesting.  I also had my pizza and coconut cream pie Friday, complete with candles, after a work-day full of birthday wishes from co-workers and friends.  There was much gratitude to be had.

I also received two thoughtful birthday cards, a bag of treasured circus peanuts (the candy that tastes like bananas, not actual peanuts), and Ms. Rivers and I went for a nice drive after dinner.  I wanted a simple day and that's what I got.  While a lunkhead at heart, I am learning that, as I do grow older, there is a kind of "seen but still unseen" beauty in simplicity.  My more intellectual view of the universe, complete with near constant analysis of anything and everything, makes this harder at times, but the ultimate importance of simplicity...such as taking care of your physical not to be trifled or diminished.

Here's to growing older and always trying to grow smarter at the same time.

No comments: