I’ve been on a downer lately, due to a confluence of things the last couple of weeks. “Age, sickness and death” is a pretty good one line summary, but if you want the full story, read on:
For starters, I’ve had a cold the last week or so. I think I"m over the worst of it, but my colds don’t end so much as they taper off; it will over the next few weeks become contiguous with the chronic ear/nose/throat congestion I have at the best of times.
However, now my wife has my cold and it’s hitting her MUCH worse. She’s 64 now, and has diminished lung capacity from previous lung infections. She’s been “any sicker and we’d go to the emergency room” sick, literally too ill to do anything but sleep, get a little food and liquid in her, and go to the toilet. I’ve had to more or less keep the house running, and if I wasn’t currently unemployed it would be impossible.
The fact is, the chances that my wife will still be alive ten years from now are poor, and in as little as five years from now she might be gasping the last of her life out on oxygen. My wife is literally my only friend in the world, and when she’s gone I’ll be alone. Unless you count my mother, who is currently 89 but who has mastered the fine art of asymptotic aging, and will probably live to be 102. The thought of my wife being gone while having my mother still around to Be Helpless and continually demand that I see, hear, act and think for her fills me with fury.
And I"M not as young as I used to be. I think 2008 will be marked as the Year I Started Being Old. I have now acquired a viciously interlocking circle of Ailments that show every sign of being permanent. I’m overweight, I have a bad knee which means I can’t walk extensively like I used to to keep my weight down, and which in turn is aggravated by being overweight. My weight gives me sleep apnea, which leaves me perpetually underrested and so of course I feel even less like exercising and more like keeping myself stimulated with sugar which… you guessed it. On top of that I now have an apparently permanent eye infection to go along with my permanent ear, nose and throat infections, meaning that I have uncorrectable blurring in one eye to go along with my diminished hearing.
All of which leads me to stare the grinning Reaper in the face. I have every prospect of the rapidly diminishing years I have left being filled with loneliness and sickness, and the realization that I’ve done nothing worthwhile with my life. And finally there’s going to be the last day, after which I simply will not be any more; the thought of which when I truly contemplate it leaves me sick. I’m reminded of the episode of Red Dwarf when Kryten, having professed a belief in Android Heaven and asked whether there’s a Human Heaven responds “That’s just a comforting lie humans tell themselves so they don’t go insane at the thought of their own deaths!”
Well none of this is new of course, it’s pretty much what all of humanity has faced since the beginning of time. I don’t have much of an answer except that you have to live the life you’ve got as best you can. I just wish things didn’t suck so much. Thanks for letting me whine.