Seniors: What Happens When Systems Break Down?

Feb 5th, 2010 | By | Category: Senior Moments Blog

Ordinarily writing this column is a fairly common place undertaking.  Most of the time for most people what they expect of themselves comes about with little to no pressure or stress.  When one begins to experience blockages, e.g. intestinally, or in a free flow of ideas and stream of consciousness, or a slowing down of energy and impetus, then what was common place becomes laborious and trying, exhausting and even overwhelming. 

Life’s flow seems to become a blocked stream.  Spontaniety disapppears.  Inspiration is replaced with exasperation.  There is no urge, no fulfillment in trying to do something productive.  Some would describe this as malaise or depression or discouragement.  The words just won’t come.  The thoughts require laborious prompting.  There is no creativity.  Only emptiness.

It is much like crawling out of a hole or surmounting a high hill or meeting an expectation without desire.  At such times it is time to have the systems checked.  Annual Physicals are a mandatory assignment for Seniors.  Delay and denial can often lead to more serious issues.  When certain of the body’s functions begin to send out their warnings, it is time to hear them and to act on them. 

My father suffered with rheumatoid arthritis for a good part of his life.  He contracted it at a time when there was no clear diagnosis of the disease and experimental drugs were attempted to reduce the terrible inflammatory pain.  If you have ever known anyone to suffer with this strain of arthritis you know the dreaded knotting of the hands and fingers, feet and legs.  It is an awful disease.  My father and mother attempted every then known way to address the disease.  He eventually took early retirement, but did not surrender completely to his having to live with  fearsome and debilitating pain. 

While the Big “C” remains one of the most feared of diseases, there are others.  All of them require alert sensitivity to call upon first your primary physician and then, if required, appropriate specialists.  It is possible to head off some of the surprises that invade our bodies.  It may be possible to ascertain treatments that can reduce the threat of a terminal illness or at least extend one’s life. 

When I was met with prostate cancer, a very aggresssive form, one of the options available to me was “wait and see.” Fortunately I had a physician/oncologist who warned me that such an approach would significantly shorten my life and soon. Today I am “free and clear’ and two years away from the radical surgery I chose.  Sure there are downsides. and side effects. But my dear spouse of 35 years reminds me that I am alive.

There are numerous demons that would invade the aging body.  That is exactly why alertness, sensitivity, knowledge, family support and encouragement are all essential, important and frequent. Systems will break down.  But there are methods for catching them early and addressing them successfully.

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