As a postscript to the entry I wrote on “You Can Go Back Again,” I started thinking about a subject that has bothered me for some time. I try not to talk about it all the time, but I have health issues. I do NOT talk about my cancer unless someone has specifically brought up BREAST cancer. I want to give them empathy, comfort, and hope.
Several years (decades) ago, I had determined I was not going to be that person. But here we were at the post-game gathering, talking about knee-replacements, as if it were a passage of life—like puberty. I’ve always felt in my inner person that “if I would just lose so many pounds,” that my problems would be less.
Here I was with folks who, while they are not the skinny little kids that we all were before the onset of real adulthood, are NOT heavy! And, they still have the same problems!
On the way home, I began thinking about what these conversations would have been like 50 years ago, of my grandparents and their peers, because many of our parents have had the types of orthopedic surgeries that are available to us today.
Grandma and Grandpa undoubtedly had arthritis. One of my grandparents died of a brain tumor at age 61. Thin in stature, I don’t think he had any other problems during his lifetime. The other three, however, “slowed down” considerably.
So, what happened to life? I do remember my widowed grandmother taking trips in her 60s. I think that slowed down in her 70s, but she was always upbeat about life in general. There was never “I can’t do that anymore,” just a quiet acceptance of whatever, as we would say irreverently today. When we went through her things upon her death, there was a sweater that I had bought her and it had never been worn. Only then did I realize that she was unable to slip it over her shoulders. But she wore her jewelry until the end. I already have “easy-clasps” on my jewelry!
My father’s parents didn’t travel much, and that involved visiting relatives, such as their son in Florida. My grandmother was heavy, diabetic, and I am built quite a bit like her. She lived to be almost 73 (massive heart attack, but she cooked with LARD, for Pete’s sake), and until her death, she worked in the flower beds, walked up and down basement stairs to do laundry (as a widow, that might not have been as much) and had one bathroom—on the second floor. How she must have struggled with those narrow stairwells, but I never heard one word of complaint. There might have been a couple of grunts.
Her husband, who lived to be 79, was small in stature and I never heard any complaint from him about anything physically. However, he did slow down. In his later years, he took up the hobby of paint-by-numbers and thoroughly enjoyed that (while my grandmother cooked, cleaned, and did laundry). He also loved to play cards with us kids. It was always the easy games, I learned Euchre from my parents and Spades in college. But Grandpa and I and my brother played and talked and played and talked.
Grandma was on insulin, but neither took any other statins, BP meds, or any of the things many of us take today regularly. Might they have lived longer had they taken them? Grandma still cooked the old way and that was fattening, but he never had trouble with it and she maintained a steady 230-250 all the years I knew her. She didn’t know anything else. Exercise? He walked everywhere in town, although he did own a car, and she was working in the yard. She put up her garden every year. My knees hurt writing those sentences. They were not sedentary.
So I sit here today on a COLD morning, thankful that I don’t have to go anywhere until later, and I am still having trouble with the knees. However, they have been followed by a knew thing, which has plagued me three other “spells” in my life. Plantar fasciitis. Gotta love it. I have insoles, I but probably need new ones as it’s been ten years.
It’s always something! I guess I should be thankful for the things we have to help the situations and just accept the other things that can’t be helped.I still feel old.
The Kline men were slight of build.
Grandma's in her mid-30's here.
I don't know when she was diagnosed
with Diabetes, but you can see she's
beginning to put on weight.
Grandpa was diagnosed with
brain cancer and didn't see his
62nd birthday. The twinkle is not
in his eyes here. I wonder how
close this was to his death.
Grandma, though, always had a