I made a rather startling discovery today and it has already had a major influence on my Life Plans. Since I made it into the “Over 80” age group I’ve considered myself very fortunate especially since many (most) of my friends and relatives never made it this far. And, additionally, since I am usually feeling well I saw no reason why I shouldn’t go for 90. However, after this new discovery I am amending my plans. I now have a new goal.
This morning I ran across the Mortality Charts issued by some department of the United States Government. I notice the age with smallest percentage of the population dying is the “Over 100” group.
To me the conclusion is obvious. Since I am now 87 years old I’m going to go for it! It’s a fairly short jump to 100. In fact, I can see 100 from my back porch.
The Old Professor
July 22, 2010
Since blogging the details of breaking my hip several interesting things have developed. One is my having genuine flashbacks. It seems that repairing a broken hip involves much physical therapy to get ALL the muscles back to working the way they did prior to the break. The physical therapy that I am undergoing often takes me back to 1943 when I went into the US Navy to be trained as an airplane pilot. Even after all these years it is still so very clear in my mind.
The very first thing the Navy felt it needed to do was take a bunch of young, out of shape men and get them into top physical condition as quickly as possible. There was no easy way to do this. The only way was exercise, exercise, exercise. We exercised every muscle in the body including muscles we didn’t even realize we had until they all began to ache. We used to say our hair even ached.
But the aches continued. It was joked that it was easy to spot the newcomers because they all limped and held onto railings when going up stairs. But a strange thing happened. After a period of time the aches went away and the newly found muscle strength was taken for granted.
The same thing happens when one is 87 years old except it takes longer. It’s probably close to impossible to ever get 87 year old muscles to perform as 20 year old muscles but it is possible make them stronger and more flexible. The catch is that it isn’t easy. It takes time and it takes persistence to continue to do things that are very uncomfortable. The body almost literally screams to stop but to get the results it’s important to push on through that.
That’s where I am now. It’s been about 7 weeks and I wish I were back to normal but I am not. I still feel I need to use a cane, partly for safety reasons (not falling again) and partly to ease the moderate pain I experience when walking. I know I won’t live long enough to get back to the condition I was in 67 years ago but luckily, I don’t need to. But I am going to push through the discomfort and the actual pain until I at least get back to where I was. Hopefully I will even get better than that.
The reason I am blogging this is that I have received a few comments and e-mails where individuals wished they could change their own or some loved one’s physical situation. Well, I know for sure it’s possible to improve -- I’ve been doing that. How far I can go is still a question but at least I know that if I continue to work hard I can certainly get to be better than I am now. Anybody who wants to can.
And that can’t be a bad thing.
The Old Professor
July 21, 2010
It was May 26, 2010 that a parking bumper jumped up and tripped me causing me to fall and break my right hip. After that was surgically repaired I left the hospital 4 days later and checked into a very nice live-in, rehab facility. 27 days after the fall I was home and for a few days I needed a 4-legged walker to get around, however I soon graduated to only using a cane.
While I was in rehab I had a lovely Physical Therapist named Sherry who prodded me through the various stages. At first I needed a wheel chair but soon she forced me to use a walker and eventually I only needed a cane for assistance. I recall Sherry telling me that someday I was going to get up, walk to another room and remember I had forgotten my cane. As improbable as that seemed at the time, similar things did eventually happen. In fact, I am often heard asking, “Where did I leave my cane?” But this morning I topped that.
I’m almost always awake very early and I like to get up and get going. My partner likes to sleep as late as she possibly can. So I have developed a little morning routine. I usually gather up the clothes I plan to wear, pick up my cane and make my way to the bathroom where I can get dressed without disturbing her. I did that again this morning with one major difference. When I arrived in the bathroom I discovered that I had been carrying my cane as though it might be a baby unable to walk. Not only did I forget that I needed the cane to help my walking, I carried it as unnecessary baggage.
I am pleased because it's only been 55 days ago since the event. Notice I do not refer to it as “the accident” because, to this day, I am positive that concrete bumper attacked me to avenge some act, it imagined I was a party to, which condemns it to a life of just lying there in the parking lot all day. A sad fate I’ll admit but it’s not my fault.
July 20, 2010
This poster is now being seen all over California, USA.
***** WANTED *****
"Cement thing to stop car"
"The Trip Over thingee"
This bumper, often seen lurking in parking lots, is to be considered extremely dangerous.
Its modus operandi is to lurk quietly and suddenly appear under the foot of its victim causing the victim to fall and sometimes break one or more bones ordinarily essential for walking.
Has been recently seen in Central California. If seen authorities advise staying as far away as possible and do not, under any circumstances, aggravate it as it will attack.
This warning offered as a public service by:
Parking Bumper Awareness Association.
The Old Professor
July 11, 2010
I saw an article in the newspaper that attracted my attention. The headline read, “Scientists Close To Cracking Key To Longevity.” Since I am close to longevity myself I read on.
It seems there are scientists who spend their time studying centenarians, which as you know, are people over 100 years old. I was interested as that number is on my horizon and I plan on being there fairly soon. So I read on.
Apparently these scientists are examining the DNA of really old people and what they are finding surprised me. At least some of them agree that the primary reason some people get to be that old is simply a matter of genes. They say those with the proper genes kind of automatically bypass diabetes, Alzheimer's Disease and many of the other things that tend to appear in middle age.
I suppose it was reading this that caused me to have trouble sleeping that night. In fact, it probably was a dream but I thought I had a conversation with my parents.
They started by apologizing. My mother said, “We wanted to congratulate you on getting to be 100 years old but also we want you to know we are sorry we gave you so much trouble about eating sugar, and fats and carbohydrates. We only wanted you to live a long life and it turns out that didn’t have much to do with it. It was all the genes we passed on.”
My father said, “Yes.”
"You mean that cod liver oil didn't do anything?"
"Apparently not. Just genes."
I asked, “What about smoking and drinking? Remember, I quit those in order to live longer.”
“We’re sorry but apparently it’s genes.”
“And what about that girl on the next street you wouldn’t let me have anything to do with because she had “questionable morals?”
“Wouldn’t have mattered. Just genes. We really are sorry but we didn’t know.”
I sighed and admitted it probably wouldn’t have made much difference but it might have made the 100 years go by faster. I told them, “Doing it our way sure took a long time.”
In unison, my parents said, “But we didn’t know.“ and disappeared.
I woke up and thought about it. I suppose when I quit smoking and drinking I probably saved a lot of money but if that was the case, I wondered where it was.
July 8, 2010