The Glory and Gratitude of Aging

ShoulderOsteoarthritisFirst, I want to affirm that the words that follow shall in no way be construed to be an admission on my part that I am getting old.

Having said that, certain medical issues have reared their ugly heads in the past several years. One of them came to a head this week and caused me to choose a path of gratitude over a path of general grumpiness.

I offer three case examples from my personal medical experience.

  1. I have significant hearing loss. To deal with this problem I wear hearing aids. They are small and most people don’t notice them. Frankly, I don’t care if they do.
  2. I have glaucoma, which can lead to blindness. Every night before I go to bed I put a drop of fancy medicine in each eye. I have been doing this for a couple years and the glaucoma seems to be arrested.
  3. I have “significant” osteoarthritis in both shoulders. This causes lots of pain and loss of motion. I’ve had physical therapy, which helped a little. I’ve had cortisone shots to reduce the inflammation. I take pain meds daily, but nothing addicting and nothing likely to rot out my liver. If the pain and lack of motion get bad enough I’ll have surgery; the doctor can put in new joints.

A visit this week to the orthopedist for the shoulder damage got me thinking about my fragility. I have much I could complain about.

After all, if I had lived a few decades ago, I would be going deaf and blind and would be getting unable to lift my arms.

Instead, miraculous devices help me to hear, a wonderful drug keeps my eyes healthy, and a skilled technician can poke me with needles (painlessly) in the shoulder and stop the pain.

In other words, I have much to be grateful for. And I choose to be grateful.

I also commit to the thoroughly Catholic practice of offering up whatever pain and suffering I endure for people who are truly old and sick.

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