A good time to grow old
“It’s a good time to grow old!” That’s what my husband, Peter, says.
He is right. And getting older is – as the saying goes – better than the alternative. I was thinking about it while waiting for my dad to get a pacemaker.
My dad didn’t know he needed a pacemaker until two days before he got one. They had been watching his heart because he was suddenly so tired that he was out of breath walking up stairs. My dad usually climbs a lot of stairs, so it wasn’t a good development. The monitor revealed that her heart was beating much slower than expected.
“Spring was cold,” I told him. “Maybe you’re just hibernating.”
The cardiologist didn’t seem to think that was the case. She told my dad he should have a pacemaker.
“Not interested,” my father said.
My dad has avoided major purchases since he turned 80 a few years ago. He says he won’t live long enough to profit enough from it.
It did not replace the come-long which is missing a few teeth. He claims it was entirely user error when the accompaniment failed to catch and he applied full force to it when he pulled his Bobcat out of the woods. Without any resistance on the winch, my dad flew backwards and broke a bone in his ankle.
“You need a new companion,” I told my father.
“I won’t live long enough to buy a new companion!” ” he told me. My sister gave her one for Christmas.
So I wasn’t surprised that his initial reaction to the pacemaker was that it was another extravagant acquisition he didn’t need. The cardiologist disagreed. She told my dad it was okay. They could bring him in the next day and he would only spend a few hours in the hospital.
My father gave in. The procedure went without a hitch and my father’s heart is now beating at a faster rate.
“It’s a good time to grow old!” I told my father. My father accepted.
I’ve noticed that conversations with friends are now dominated by discussions of their past ailments. In the old days, before GPS and when my friends were younger, when there was a lull in the conversation, the favorite subject was: “The best way to get there”.
“You got to 35, huh? I always think it’s a little faster to follow the river, and then when you get to…” And so on.
I remember thinking this was the most boring subject ever – comparing routes and trying to figure out which one could cut your driving time by 10 minutes.
“You just wasted 15 minutes talking about it!” I wanted to scream.
Now, there’s no point discussing navigation since we’ve left those decisions to our phones. Instead, the most frequent threads lately are titled “My current illness.”
“Yeah, I had that too. And lately I’ve been having pains in my…” And so on.
Fortunately, I don’t have much to say. And my dad is a great role model. He says, “Everyone will eventually have something wrong with them. It’s just a question of what it will be.
When my dad left his meeting with the cardiologist, he asked what he should do differently before the procedure.
“Just try acting like an 80 year old for a few days, will you?” she suggested.
I think she was joking. My dad said he would try.
Until next time,
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Carrie Classon Contributing Columnist