Monday, September 19, 2011

I’m Just Fine For The Shape I’m In

This ole house is a-getting shaky
This ole house is a-getting old
This ole house lets in the rain
This ole house lets in the cold

Lately I’ve begun reflecting more on this lament from an old song by Stuart Hamblen.

The thought of getting old and shaky is new for me, since most of my 72 years I’ve enjoyed exceptional health, been physically active and have never suffered a single broken bone or gone through any major surgery. In fact it wasn’t until August of 2009 that I had my very first overnight hospital stay. I wasn’t even born in one. And that overnight at “Hotel RMH” followed a simple procedure my doctor first led me to believe would allow me to return home the same day, but he changed his mind for the sake of being able to check me over early the next morning.

Now I’m learning from experience that good health isn’t to be taken for granted. Things can change without notice and without my being ready.

Not to bore you with details, but early this year my blood work showed an excess of “antinuclear antibodies” (I joked to my friends that my being an “antinuclear” advocate for so long has finally gotten into my blood). Anyway, I was told that my 1:312 count of said antibodies (should be 1:40 or less),  may be associated with having a recent diagnosis of Ménière's disease, a condition that isn't life threatening but can have unpleasant symptoms like increased hearing loss and nauseous spells of vertigo, both of which I've been experiencing too much of lately. I'm on some Triamterene/hydrochlorothiazid (!) now that may helping, but my good doctor isn’t promising a "cure" as such.

So this ole house does feel a tad shaky. For someone who listens to people for a living, to have to strain to hear well is no fun. And to feel tired much of the time, and not to be able to enjoy singing and other activities as I once did, was hard to adjust to.

Today I’m finishing a two-week regimen of Prednazone. I can bear testimony that this is a miracle drug, though one I can’t stay on due to its undesirable long term effects. But for the moment I feel younger and more energized than I have for months, and the inside of my head and my sense of hearing feel about 90% normal.

I can live with that. And I know there will be many more adjustments to make as I grow older. That’s just the way life is, I tell myself. Meanwhile, I want to enjoy each day as if it were my last, and make the most of every opportunity to  live life to the full, and to learn to “number my days and so apply my heart to wisdom.”

On the plus side, this has been a wake-up call about taking better care of myself. By simply eating oatmeal or an oat cereal with fruit and skim milk for breakfast, and by enjoying more salads and home grown vegetable stews for lunch and dinner (while cutting back on breads, sweets, salt and desserts) I’ve been able to shed 16 pounds since March without going on any "diet.” Or maybe it’s just the Ménière's . Who knows.

I do know that God is good. All the time. And yes, Stuart Hamblen, “I’m getting ready to meet the saints.”

I just hope that won’t be right away. I want to see a little more of our grandchildren growing older first.
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