Thursday, March 31, 2011
Just got back from NC. My brother is seriously ill and so went back to spend a little time with him. He is pretty much wasting away, 180 down to 120 pounds. Chronic lung disease which causes internal bleeding They all want me to move back and direct traffic. And I might for awhile, have to think about it. Getting older has been no fun for him (maybe not for any of us). I surely wish that he would "hit the road." It is what he wants. He misses the drives to the beach, the big family meals he can no longer cook, his "turns" (as he calls them) around the golf course that he walked for hours. So, since he can't do those things among many, his view is "time to go." I surely get it.
His story is almost a novel. He had been divorced for years, dating regularly one or two friends, enjoying himself. Had made lots of money in various ways, mostly legal. Consequently, life is moving along. He meets this woman, very attractive and super aggressive: so much so that my older brother and I try to intervene. She out maneuvers us and snares our brother. They have a good time, travel lots. She has massive stroke, later on aneurism, becomes total invalid. The kicker: it is discovered that she lied about her age and is 10 years older than my brother. When you are 40 and your mate is fifty, not such a big deal but when you are 70 and your mate is 80, a big deal. My brother stepped up to the plate, however, and has been her primary caretaker for the last several years. He's had lots of help but still, has taken it's toll. Pretty sad.
My brother is an example of the aging process and the part we must play in it. When I was a chaplain at Letterman Army Medical Center when it was a "full blown" teaching hospital, a boss once said to me, "we must take an active role in our health care." By this, he meant every aspect of our lives. I agree and am constantly reading and trying to figure out lifestyle issues as I get older. I've just read two books that are terrific: The Longevity Project. Deals with this eight decade study about longevity. My nephew gave it to me. Really good book. I love this one aspect. Women who have regular orgasms live longer. I'm serious, based on this study. The second one, "Never Say Die," is one of the best books I've ever read. Based on how the popular culture has sold us a bill of goods about aging. The new forty is not the eighty. Aging is no "day at the beach." Growing older based on how long we live is a big time issue. I agree and have always believed that if we live to the age of 80 or ninety, get a disease quickly and die is a goal, healthy to then but can't reverse aging. BS to think we can. Book provoked long discussion between my wife and me who thinks I am preoccupied with issues of death. I don't think so, just realistic.