Monday, August 7, 2017

Your Personal Health Crisis

Eventually if you live long enough you will have a personal Health crisis.

Life does not go on forever, that is a given.  Many people live under the delusion that perhaps they are there Methuselah and they will live forever.  Health issues, infirmity, and death will never strike them down.  Sickness is something that happens to other people.

By the time you reach your 40s, you may get an inkling that this is not the case.  You may have one or two minor health issues which are a tip-off that all is not right with the world.  For me, it was the combined one-two punch of gout and diverticulitis, two of the most painful ailments you can have other than kidney stones and childbirth.  I am safe from the latter.

So many people set the snooze bar on this alarm and assume that a few pills or whatnot will take care of the problem, and life will go on as before.  However it is an indication that your life is changing and that you better had be in a situation later on in life to deal with this.

In the news, you hear often from people interviewed saying that they plan to work until their 70's or beyond - perhaps never retiring at all, because they have nothing saved for retirement.  This sounds like an interesting theory, until you realize that as you get older your health will become more and more fragile and working long hours at a job might not be in the cards.

Simply stated, when you reach the age of 60 or 70 years old, you don't want to be in a situation where you have to go to work in order to make ends meet, as you may end up having to take days or weeks or even months off from work to deal with personal health issues.

And employers realize this, which is why they often lay off people in their 50s because they don't want to pay the high health care premiums for older employees and also have them absent from work for extended periods of time.  You may say you want to work until you're 70, your employer may have other ideas.

For me, the latest wake up call is heart problems.  My family has a history of heart difficulties.  My mother died of congestive heart failure mostly brought on by smoking, alcohol consumption, poor diet, and utter lack of exercise.  My father, the other hand quit smoking after his father died of lung cancer and was quite athletic playing tennis, jogging, and riding his bicycle.  He was in good shape but nevertheless. at age 78 required a quadruple bypass to repair his heart which had come become clogged with plaque from coronary artery disease.

For me, the age of 40 brought on problems like gout and diverticulitis.  At the age of 50 I started to notice I was becoming shorter of breath and having a harder time doing simple tasks.  I realized that my health was in decline.  That is one reason I've decided to retire from the Patent business, not only because I could afford to do so, but because I didn't want to do it anymore - the stress was not good for my health, nor was the sedentary lifestyle.  To be an effective Patent Attorney, you need to sit in front of a computer screen for at least eight hours a day.

And I am in a fortunate situation with right now I have a lot of time on my hands to deal with health issues.  I may be suspending my blog for a week or so to deal with this heart issue, which may involve a catheterization of the heart to test it for blockage and possible inserting of a stent into the artery if it is indeed clogged.  I am certainly not looking forward to this, but it is better to discover this fairly early on then to wait for a heart attack.

With any luck at all, I can expect to live out a normal span of life even with these health issues.  My father, after his quadruple bypass, lived to the age of 95, almost 20 years after his operation and certainly a respectable lifespan in this day and age.

But life is finite, that's for sure.  And I'm very happy that I am in a situation now where I don't have to work.  Because I need to concentrate on maintaining my health for the last 20-30 years of my life, if God is willing to grant me that.