There is that ’cause and effect’ thing. I had a simple thumb surgery two years ago but my thumb is still stiff and I don’t have full feeling in it. (It’s great for telling the weather though. It has a 100% accuracy rate.)
I have scar tissue from a previous surgery that occasionally gives me neuralgia. Nothing serious, just different and annoying. (Funny story here – the docs couldn’t figure out what the pain was from. There were MRI, CAT and PET scans. My chiropractor diagnosed it accurately. Go figure.)
This isn’t unusual. You have to work hard to come back from injuries and depending on the age and injury, total recovery isn’t always possible.
This post isn’t about that. It’s about being prepared. It’s about recognizing that your life has stages. It’s not being old per se. It’s about changing lifestyles.
My interests are different. They change. I don’t need to be able to have a party for 60 in my house. (Only did that once! Yikes! Never again! I don’t even like big parties.)
I don’t need a big house. (Great side effect is that it lowers expectations that you have big parties.)
I prefer to not have steps. Whatever I want is always on the wrong floor. (That includes cats!)
Or intricate gardening that requires a lot of attention. Watering a few pots every day isn’t a big deal but when I was younger I had 10 pots by the front door, several at the back door plus a smattering at other places. It was gorgeous but required an hour a day.
I like grab bars. No, they are not just for old people. (For the record, old is at least 20 years older than me no matter what my age is.) When I fractured my kneecap I needed grab bars and banisters (and occasionally people) along with the crutches to steady me. I develop a profound respect for those things.
I keep a card with all my doctors and their phone numbers. There is another for the few medications I take along with the dosage and any helpful comments. Easy to grab in an emergency.
As my mother aged, I couldn’t get her to move. She loved her house (which was on three floors and without a first floor bathroom) and the neighborhood. By the time she recognized the need for downsizing, she was too sick.
She died before I could get her into a place that was simpler. In the meantime family members mowed her lawn, shoveled her snow, stoked her coal stove (yes, she had one of those dusty things), paid her bills and did her grocery shopping. I won’t even go into the portable commode we had to clean. We would have done some of that anyway but less house care (and worries) would have helped.
The lesson I learned from her was to be prepared. Anticipate. Simplify. Accept new stages of life. Be sure your home is “illness friendly” before something happens.
We are not talking about being inactive. We are talking about letting go of things that require unnecessary work. Focus on activities you truly enjoy.
Are you prepared if you would have a heart attack or stroke today? Or would your family have to scramble to accommodate you?