It is confusing

As I age I become more aware merde happens all the time to innocent people. It happens to good people of any age. Horrible as it seems, anything can happen to anyone, and it seems it usually hits those who were about to say their life is good.

Long ago I realised my health has been a gift. I do have a little story though. In my case, I was four when I ran in through the front door of the house and by the time I reached the hallway door it slammed shut and I ran into the door knob fracturing my skull. (Not that anyone has ever confirmed officially my skull was broken but it is the way I describe the indentation on the right side of my head.) Apart from a visit to the vet surgery across the road, and the clever advice my mother accepted that it would be better if I was treated at the hospital, it has been of no bother to me accept it is a bother to my hairdressers. That was until I turned fifty three and I commenced drug treatment for a stroke.

Some thirteen years later I had a month or so of TIA s. These temporary blood blocks would starve my brain for a second or two, and I would lose track of what I was doing. I cannot describe now the occasional trouble it caused me except for these examples. The first time I became aware I had no idea of what I was doing I was in Stabby’s butchery.

Before I left home I had grabbed a handful of coins as I had no notes in my wallet. My meat purchases came to say, $8. I reached into my pocket and started to count the coins. I got worried because I only had half as much as I needed in my hand, but I handed to to Gordon and told him I would return later with the remainder. Instead of agreeing he started to hand me back some of the cash, saying I was overpaying him. I was further confused. I took the cash and the meat and realised I was counting $2 coins as 20 cents. On the second occasion I was trying to learn the script of a play I was scheduled to appear in. Try as I might I couldn’t remember more than one line. With the aid of the playwright I was allowed to read my lines and it didn’t affect the play.

With luck by my side these events happened long ago without lasting effects. In the last case I found the remedy after another brain scan, and a change of medication.

Brains hadn’t figured at all in my life again until I learned a couple of my friends are headed the way of the Hungarian, the politician’s wife, and the bishops. All these people have died with Alzheimers condition.

In the case of “Celery” (my wife’s nickname for Cecilia) it has been a total shock. This woman has been a wonderful caring teacher, she remains, the devoted wife of a friend even though she is now in a nursing home. Sadly she can no longer respond to the frivolous nickname as she did years ago.

In the case of the biker, the disease has not yet progressed as far. A recent meeting with him reminded me of the confused lesson the Hungarian gave me on cheese making. It was purposeful but inconclusive, and didn’t result in cheese. A little while later he was in care and unable to recognise me. The biker is now fighting the disease walking everywhere.

The journey these families are on is too familiar to me. The results of the illness is not at all like forgetting your PIN number, or what you have to do later. Neither is it forgetting to put money in the parking meter. In time it will progress until the very purpose of the meter is forgotten. A comparison in this digital ages is to compare it to the slow destruction of your computer’s hard drive.

My thoughts are with my friends. This is my chance to thank them for the richness they have added to my life.

Advice to my 100 year old self

This was a very difficult job because what I remember is coloured by the prejudices of long years but it is written without hindsight. We can all be wiser with hindsight. I mentioned my aim to write this article last night in company. I was challenged to offer advice to my 100 year old self.

In no particular order these words are words of advice to myself at one hundred

Don’t stop

Walk

Stand

Welcome change

If you have made it this far it speaks wonders for modern science and the ability of prescription drugs to aid longevity

Have more things to do than you have days to finish them.

Complain not – except by silent sufferance

Recognise I have only reached this age with the love given to me by loved ones.

Remain curious and investigate things you don’t understand

Develop a positive attitude

Don’t be bullied into anything

Understand stubbornness is recessive energy

Eat drink and be merry because almost everyone you knew is now dead

Dying is natural so give it a go without fear.