Growing old obviously poses risks. We seniors learn about them every day. News stories, television specials, advertisements all remind us of the perils of old age. Health problems are a big topic. After watching a television commercial about ocular myopathy, I went panic stricken to my eye doctor. I was convinced my fuzzy eyesight was the harbinger of total blindness if not the first stages of a fatal brain tumor.
The good doctor examined my eyes. “You can tell me the truth,” I bravely told him. “How much longer before I lose my eyesight and/or die?”
He said my eyeglass prescription was out of date and I needed stronger magnification.
Television has truly become a health hazard. An NCIS episode may be forgettable but commercial warnings about insomnia, incontinence, dry eye, dry mouth, dementia, COPD or diabetes are not. The list is endless. Even worse, the cure seems worse than the disease. Television ads for “miracle drugs” feature older people laughing and cavorting with their grandchildren. Obviously these clueless octogenarians cannot hear the disembodied voice over warning of side effects like bloody stools, suicidal thoughts, nausea and growing extra limbs. I keep waiting for that giggling grandpa to start foaming at the mouth as he staggers crazily through the yard, babbling incoherently and spewing liquids from every orifice.
Worrying about the Awful Things That Are Sure to Happen Now That I am Old is definitely not healthy. But even if health concerns can be corralled, other life happenings are apt to raise anxiety. When is my adult child going to get a job? How do I survive on a fixed income? What is the Cloud anyway?
The only solution I can offer is humor.
Dylan Thomas wrote “Do not go gentle into that good night…rage, rage against the dying of the light.” Good advice but I plan to laugh my way into eternity.
Excerpt from upcoming Chasing Pills: I Must Be Old, I Have a Pill Dispenser, all rights reserved.