A Boomer Lifestyle Blog

Friday, February 13, 2015


I volunteered to run an errand for a friend yesterday.  My friend who doesn't drive anymore needed some medical records picked up from the eye doctor.  I didn't ask why just ran over to the eye doctor's office which is near me.  I went in, got the records and turned to leave when I saw a lady coming out through the door with a wheelchair and I turned around and held the door for them and then held the next set of doors open as we were all leaving the eye doctor's office.  A nurse with a gentleman in a wheelchair was just entering the elevator as I approached behind the lady in the wheelchair and her companion.  The gentlemen in the wheelchair and his nurse made room for all of us to enter the elevator.  The gentleman in the wheelchair and the lady in the wheelchair were both black.  The lady was very nicely dressed and sat quietly. The gentleman had a large patch over one of his eyes.  He also had both of his legs amputated at the knee.

The lady and gentleman started talking I didn't hear the first part of the conversation because I was in my own little world thinking that the man probably had diabetes which could have taken both of his legs (circulation problems) and even his eye because diabetes can cause serious eye problems.  

I then heard the gentleman saying, he lost his legs, which I thought was strange because anyone could see that.  The lady said something and I looked down and could see from the lines on her slacks that indicated she had prosthetic limbs on both of her legs.  I also saw that she was wearing a very pretty bracelet and I thought I would compliment her on it if the chance arose.  The lady and gentlemen said something else to each other.  They were talking rather quietly, and I didn't really hear what they were saying until I heard her say in a wistful voice, "I wish I still had my arms." I looked at her arms again and saw that they were both prosthetic limbs also.  They were a lovely shade of chocolate that matched her complexion perfectly and I had not noticed that the arms sticking out of her three-quarter sleeves were not her own.  

I have mentioned before that I am diabetic.  Somewhat controlled.  Take my insulin regularly but go through periods, most recently to be honest, of not watching what I eat carefully, meaning that I may not have had my sugar under control since I didn't check it.  It has been one of those periods when you think to yourself, what is the worse that can happen.  

The worse can, and does, happen.  Not just to diabetics, or heart patients or with any of the other bodily ailments that affect us.  Our bodies do not last forever.  They will often last a lot longer if we take care of them.  But we live with them day in and day out.  We may not feed them properly.  We may not exercise them properly.  We may bend and fetch and stop in inappropriate ways that wear our parts out even faster.  We may be blessed with family genes of those that live into their 90s.  We may come from family genes of males who die at 35 of heart problems.  We may come from a long line of cancer carriers.  There is so much that can go wrong and when we don't do the best we can to take care of the saggy skin and rickety bones we were born with, then we dishonor ourselves.  

It is our responsibility to take care of ourselves.  I know I dropped the ball this last week or two.  These past fourteen days alone will not necessarily lead me down the path to the situation those lovely two uncomplaining people are in, but it could be a start, or a push further down the path I don't know I'm on.  

I hear the words I said echoing in my mind.  "What is the worst that can happen to me?"  And, I hear that wistful, childlike sentence of the lady.  "I wish I still had my arms."  I want to cry for her  I want to cry for me.  I want to cry for all of us who are governed by physical illness and malfunctions.  

I am ashamed of my selfishness.  I don't want to wake up in that wheelchair in 10, 15 or 20 years.  I will quit being so lazy.  I will follow my recommended food allocation.  I will take my shots on time and I will check my blood sugar.  

I want you to do the same,  I want you to read my blog for many, many years and I want to be able to type this blog myself.  

If you've got an ailment.  Take care of it.  Fix what you can.  Follow instructions. See the doctor.  Take your medicine.  Don't abuse your body or neglect it.  Don't be like me  and think, "What is the worse that can happen?"  


  1. I fear the worse that could happen these days.
    When we are young we feel so indestructible.
    In the last year, while seeing a doctor for some joint issues he said, "the warranty has run out on your parts at this age.So this is normal we can work with this." 'warranty running out' is not what I wanted to hear at age 58.
    Be good to yourself Barbara - I like coming over here for a smile :-)

  2. I wonder if those people were from an assisted care facility nearby? This is a wonderful story - maybe seeing them will extend your life, and certainly your physical abilities, and they will never know the effect they had on you. It's comforting that they are accepting, but still, I guess we all wish for what we've lost. Our bodies are like cars - we have to feed them the right stuff, take them for a drive once in a while, keep things lubricated and flushed, and not overload them with weight. Otherwise, it's time for a new car, but we don't get new bodies.

  3. Stay well, Barbara. Good reminder to not take it for granted, and to do what is possible to stay healthy.

  4. I think about this a lot. My dad was in pretty bad shape his last years on this earth and I told myself that I wanted to be as healthy as possible for mine. Unfortunately, I have a hard time following through on my good intentions and chastise myself nearly every day for not exercising regularly.