Life After Emilee Logo | Neal Klein honoring his wife after losing her to pancreatic cancer
Life After Emilee Logo | Neal Klein honoring his wife after losing her to pancreatic cancer
Life After Emilee Logo | Neal Klein honoring his wife after losing her to pancreatic cancer

Birthday Month Day Twenty, Thoughts On Aging

Birthday Month, Day 20
 
This is Emilee’s birthday month. I post every day on her facebook page. Her birthday would have been August 24. We are exactly two weeks apart, so it is always on the same day of the week, hers and mine.
 
I thought this post might have a little interest here, so I am posting it. Put all my physical ailments in a thimble and chuck them in the ocean, they are nothing compared to what Emilee endured, and nothing compared to what any one who has cancer or any other ongoing, chronic disease, endures on a daily basis.
 
But, I have to laugh at some of my foibles and some of my aging crap, because if nothing else, I should get some humor out of it, DAMN IT. So take me and my fickle foibles with a grain of salt, and maybe you will have a little smile on your face.
 
August 20, 2017
 
Day 20 of Your Birthday Month
 
we need a poem today… subject????
 
my feet and legs are swollen
 
and so are my hands especially in the morning when they are sometimes so stiff I have to use one hand to massage the other so I can get my fingers to flex, and I had to rearrange all my rings because they were choking my fingers and the circulation was getting cut off and sometimes they are asleep when I awake
 
and sometimes I wake up and some part or another of my body has decided to also go to sleep, like my arms, nothing like waking up with both arms completely numb, quite the scare the first time that happened, let me tell you……or the other night when I fell asleep leaning forward onto the bed from a chair next to the bed…and my legs fell asleep….don’t ask…ok…I was trying to stretch my back….okay??? and I fell asleep….okay???
 
my toe nail still has fungus in spite of using Jublia liquid antifungal for a year and a half daily, and I will need to use it forever more to keep it under control
 
spots on my skin keep propagating like new growth on my plants
 
and my hair keeps growing sparser
 
my ass ain’t as pretty as it used to be and we won’t even mention hemorrhoids (oops)
 
We will NOT talk about changes in libido sex drive ability to maintain nor we will talk about sex or the desire for it possibly being used as a distraction for dealing with other emotions (thank you therapist for pointing that one out to me, tainting at least one emotion or physical/emotional drive I thought I somewhat understood)
 
sciatica is rearing its ugly head and likes to keep me guessing whether it will be left or right on any particular day or moment to moment
 
most of the joints in my body ache in a reverberating rotating symphony that is more like a cacophony of a John Cage orchestral work
 
the hair on my head has decided to depopulate and migrate elsewhere, with progressively thinner patches adorning an increasingly smaller surface area except for some spots on my forehead or my eyebrows that sprout these stupidly longer hairs
 
some areas of my body have decided that they will act as if the hair in those spots has received MIRACLE GROW, and now require some appropriate pruning (is my hair really that long there? even my arm hair seems to have found new revitalization…..what is up with that?????????
 
my bowels require softener and this miracle something or other which ain’t so miraculous otherwise my straining is akin to the image of the cheeks of Louis Armstrong or Dizzie Gilespie playing the trumpet or me trying to blow the Shofar
 
my bladder sometimes likes playing a major role in my planning of my daily activities (of course to treat my swollen legs, we, meaning I, take Lasix which affords me extra cardio exercise in running to the bathroom repeatedly as needed to relieve said bladder and keep everybody happy….are we happy yet??)
 
and I need drugs to control my syncopating heart which now has stents to keep the arteries open ain’t that far out and since this lowers my heart rate considerably and also my blood pressure, sometimes when I get up and start walking, I get a nice head rush like I just got waaaaaay stoned like I did forty years ago except this is NOT fun and I am not laughing
 
my eyesight goes from near to far to where the hell ever it wants and generally I don’t wear my glasses anymore in the house so when I leave the house to drive somewhere I sometimes forget and frequently find myself at some point on the driveway (hopefully for your sake, not much further, although…) saying damn…again? and having to run back in the house (more cardio) to find my glasses,
 
my teeth are living up to those crumbling dreams I used to have and even more so now that I no longer have dental insurance
 
I have marks on my face that have decided to make a new permanent home and in spite of my insisting that some of those white head bumps be gone (yeah I know I know you are NOT supposed to squeeze those F’rs but who can resist) they have also taken up permanent residence along with some bumps that now are squatting and insist they are in a rent free district
 
I think the aliens are contacting me when I hear ringing in my ears but I have been assured it is just my aging and mildly decrepitating hearing (I swear I hear things that aren’t there, and don’t hear things that are there…go figure)
 
My body temperature seems at times, to have a thermostat independent of what the ambient air is indicating at the time which means sometimes I am cold and sometimes I get hot flashes, and yes it is probably the meds I take to keep the cholesterol under control and it is genetic, the cholesterol, because I haven’t touched red meats in forty years, and NO, I do not eat THAT MUCH ice cream (I can’t help it, I love coffee ice cream)
 
I can’t run more than fifty feet without an elephant on my chest and someone adding molten lead or concrete into my legs and shoes even though I used to like running, then jogging, then skipping or galloping and then even that bothered my back from the compression of up and down, I can do a cross country stride without the skiis or poles but even for ME that is a bit of a stretch into a very WEIRD what was it called…oh yes, THE MINISTRY OF FUNNY WALKS, courtesy of Monty Python
 
each bruise on my shin leaves a permanent reminder that I am still here in spite of scars of still being in the game, and they take forever and a day to actually heal, and then leave a scar
 
I try not to pick at some of the larger bumps and growths here and there on my skin but sometimes they get big and dry and bothersome and I can’t help myself all I can say is thankfully I was recently taken off the anticoagulant that you have to take for several years after cardiac stents, and so now I don’t bleed quite as profusely as I used to (just on baby aspirin these days), but I still keep my styptic pencil and powder not far away (I cut my ear one time and it bled for hours, and I….ok, ok, I can’t tell that story…..lol)
 
there are a hundred other things I could probably rattle on and rattle off like wax on and wax off in the Karate Kid
 
but really what is the point
 
I am here and still have time
 
time to live my dream and time to make it count
 
I have time to share my love and time to spread what joy I can
 
and I need to keep reminding myself that that’s all that matters
 
I can start taking care of myself better
 
and hedge my bet as best I can
 
I only have one life in this body
 
and each day I get a new chance to make it all count
 
each day I am grateful to do a little good and brighten someone’s shadow
 
each day I know you are cheering in my corner and on my shoulder
 
encouraging me to walk through my own demons, my own circles of fire
 
square off with my fears and push ahead when scared
 
the fear burns away when I just keep going through sometimes over sometimes around and sometimes barreling through the walls and barricades of mostly my own divise
 
each time I seem to forget how good it felt to break through to the other side
 
some days seem easier and some harder
 
sometimes I want someone to make it all go away
 
I can’t or choose not to do that anymore, I start recognizing when I do that these days, get depressed, and then light the fire under my ass all over again
 
some days I want to crawl under the covers, and sometimes that is just necessary, and then enough of that, feel it acknowledge it embrace it and release it
 
someday I may achieve buddhist monkdom, but probably not in this lifetime
 
but I can aspire to that state of holiness and honor myself as a humble student who is here to learn from my many mistakes and let go a thousand times or as many as it takes
 
I vow to do better and love myself where I am without becoming complacent to just stay where I am
 
angels give me strength to be all that I can
 
to do as little harm as possible to others and this earth
 
and to hopefully leave this world knowing I left some small mark for good …………….and now it is time to say…..Amen…….so I do…say…..AMEN
 
Now, do I need a title for that?….my first thought is…soup to nuts….since I covered a lot of ground… maybe old and new… dying and living, breaking down and building up…. it is like the body’s metabolism….cells are regenerating, cells are dying…the food is being digested and converted into energy….
 
thousands of body processes going on simultaneously, with a system of checks and balances to keep them running, and we don’t think about any of this stuff on a day to day basis, until something is not working correctly.
 
So, I had to look this up. There is anabolism or constructive metabolism which is about building and storing and smaller molecules are changed into larger more complex molecules of carbohydrate, protein, and fat……….
 
and then there is catabolism or destructive metabolism, that breaks down large molecules, mostly carbohydrates and fats, to release energy, energy that is required for all activities in the cells.
 
This energy provides fuel for anabolism, (remember, building and storing, new cell growth, storage of energy for use in the future), heats the body, and enables the muscles to contract and our bodies to move.
 
As complex chemical units are broken down into more simple substances, the waste products that are released in the process of catabolism are removed from the body through the skin, kidneys, lungs, and intestines.
 
Wow, no wonder there are changes in my body….what, did I expect all this to continue going on and NOT show signs of wear and tear?
 
It is all just miraculous that this all continues in the background of our going about our daily lives. I am amazed I don’t walk around with my mouth open in awe most of the time….but then, I would have a lot of bugs in my mouth, and that would NOT be good.
 
ok…this was SUPPOSED to be a poem…and I don’t know what it is.
 
 
my head is just trying
 
to make sense of these thoughts
 
and organize them into folders
 
for the files of my brain
 
 
they come in different rhythms
 
the flow seems to ebb and then surge
 
and hopefully there is some order
 
so y’all don’t think I’m insane
 
NmK

Neal Klein
Life After Emilee, on the loss of my wife to pancreatic cancer. I’m not accepting comments right now but please feel free to get in touch via my Contact page.

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