Saturday, December 21, 2013

Health: a subject I never planned to talk about

Photo by Mike
First of all I want to say that I'm grateful that I am healthy, have health insurance and can afford medical care and prescriptions.  I felt like I needed to say this because I'm sure the rest of this blog might be slightly whiny.

In my 30's and 40's, I remember wondering why older people always talked about their health.  And swearing I would never do the same.  Well, this past week proved otherwise.

During the holidays we love connecting with our friends.  And I just now realized how the subject of health is part of many conversations.  This past week we've had conversations about the following health issues facing a handful of friends:

  • Back problems
  • Diabetes
  • Cholesterol
  • Calcium deficiency
  • Breast cancer scares
  • Calcified tendonitis
  • Gout
  • Inner ear problems
  • Cataract surgery
  • Falling in the shower (or in my case, on hickory nuts)

It seems we've become the older people.  When did that occur anyway?  It's as if someone turned a switch, and we went from young, carefree, never-concerned about health to people who always have some health concern facing them.  The world of doctors and specialists and new prescriptions definitely moved to the forefront.

Although relatively healthy myself, I too deal with health concerns.  My cancer prevention drug causes bone loss. So now I have to take a drug that strengthens bones.  My recent crazy fall on a hickory nut has me in physical therapy and heading to an orthopedic doctor on Monday.

I guess the upside is that we are more concerned than ever about staying as healthy as possible.  I walk several times a week outdoor or on the treadmill when it's cold, and I am trying to stay a constant weight or drop a few pounds over the holidays (like that is humanly possible).  And a friend with diabetes watches her carbs and walks daily on the treadmill.  And she has dropped 40 pounds over several months. And another friend had the cataract surgery and sees better than he has in years.

So possibly when that switch was turned, we went from young, carefree, never-concerned about health to older but-maybe-wiser older people who realize they have to face whatever health problems come their way.  And now we don't take our health for granted.  And maybe we understand a bit more that life is precious. And that may be the best gift this holiday season.

I hope you are taking time for the important people in your life during this busy holiday season.


  1. It's interesting when that shift occurs, isn't it? For me, it happened about four years ago when I had a cancer growth removed from my face. I felt betrayed by my body, and have not taken my health for granted since.

    I rarely discuss my aches and pains with anyone but my spouse, but I can go on ad nauseam about repetitive running injuries with my running friends, who all understand and struggle with same. Perhaps that's the key - finding others in the same boat who will sympathize and understand, and keep it off the table otherwise.

    1. I also understand how cancer can grab you and get your attention. It puts so much in your life into perspective. I have been fortunate to be generally healthy, but it's easy to take that for granted. I am reminded of that when I break my elbow or get a sinus infection, etc. I try not to dwell on these things but live my life fully (and around these obstacles).

  2. I've noticed the same thing--that we are these people now. My one friend, who is the healthiest guy I know--fit, muscular, runs and bikes regularly--was just diagnosed with Lymphoma. He's in his 50's. His wife (in her 40's) had a hip replaced a few years ago. We're always comparing cholesterol numbers now at gatherings, sometimes we pull the blood pressure machine out like a party game. Good times, huh?

    1. Funny how when you are younger you think you will always be healthy. But aging and health issues find all of us at some point. My hope is to be able to deal with aging gracefully and with humor.