Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Old Farthood

Let's face it, I'm getting old, and so is my entire generation. A quick surf of the web today revealed a number blog titles such as "Face it, Boomers - You're in Geezerhood!"

It's twue, it's twue.

I've been getting old for some time now. I probably noticed it... well, I SHOULD'VE noticed it when I had my heart attack in 1989, at the age of 41. But I was way too busy making money, smoking, drinking, screwing my brains out and hating every minute of my life to pay much attention to it then.

Nor did I pay the least bit attention to my so-called health during the last few years of my most intensive drinking. I was desperately hoping to die, not live. God had other plans, obviously.

Even in early sobriety, I was aware of new aches and pains I had previously never noticed, but I just accepted those as an inevitable consequence of so much smoking and drinking.

The shit hit the fan, though, when I had an angiogram in February of 2003. I wasn't surprised that my cardiology group had suggested that I have one. I hadn't had one since my giant coronary in 1989, and God only knew how clogged up I'd gotten since then! I didn't escape from the hospital that cold February morning before I'd been cornered by the chief of cardio-thoracic surgery at RWJ (Robert Wood Johnson) Hospital in New Brunswick, New Jersey who, with his blindingly blond good looks and blindingly beautiful teeth, informed my drab, sad-sack self, that I was a "ticking time bomb" and that he'd be doing a triple-bypass on me the following week.

It was two weeks, and it was a quadruple-bypass.

But never mind that now.

The important thing is that I started to feel my age after that. I had terrible aches in my muscles and joints which my (then) internist (subsequently fired for incompetency) did nothing about until last summer when my new cardiologist suggested that we "try" going off of statins for a few days to see if it helped. I've already written about that. I'm doing fine without statins now, living instead on a combination of non-systemic cholesterol reducers called Zetia and Welchol, respectively.

But I have numbness constantly in my feet now. It's pain-free thanks to something called Lyrica, which is an anti-convulsant they prescribe to diabetics who suffer from neuropathy (numbness/tingling).

And lately I've noticed new joint pains, this time in the fingers on my right hand. This is not good. I can take pain in the feet. I've never been a long-distance runner. But my hands are my living.

Oh, and food. There was a time when whatever I ate ran right through me like a dose of salts. I maintained my slender 6'5", 190 pound, frame for quite a few years. But after a couple of years of couch-potato-hood, a nearly non-existent metabolism, combined with old age and an overfondness for salty/fatty snacks made with vast quantities of nuts and/or potatoes, the pounds have accrued to the point where I'm now toting around me and my twin brother.

The great irony is that I never planned to be this old. The original plan, as I imagined it at the age of 17, was to be dead by 30. Somehow or other that got re-written along the way to 40. But my 40th was spent lavishly entertaining nearly 2 dozen friends in a very expensive, posh, French restaurant on the East Side, downing gallons of Dom Perignon and dining on Filet Mignon and Dover Sole. So I upped the ante to 50 that night. The following year I had a coronary. The rest of the 40's were spent in a downward spiral. By 48 I was really hoping that 50 would never happen. No dice. In fact, I spent my 50th birthday standing in front of a judge pleading guilty to a drunk-driving charge and wondering how my life had unravelled to such a degree.

Now I'm staring at 60 and there are lots of unanswered questions about that. I'm supposed to not worry and let God sort it all out. So that's what I try to do.

However, every once in a while I can't help but wonder about the future.

A future that's nearly here and with it, my old age.


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