Good morning Beloveds. Another beautiful day in Newberry, South Carolina.
Thinking today I’d begin relating a story of what it’s like to be old. First off, you must realize it isn’t a lot of fun. Oh, I’m still grateful to Father God that I’m here on this side of the sod, but that being said, life does have its challenges. I was blessed with genes which tend toward a long life, but inherently carry aging difficulties. Arthritis has caused more than its fair share of pain and stiffness, as well as eroded the knee cartilage prompting double knee replacements.
Too, not being very vulnerable to pay much attention to pain, had caused me to stress way beyond reaching for help until the problem had exacerbated too far to be easily remedied. I paid no attention to pain in my right foot until I found that I was unable to walk. At that point getting to an orthopedic surgeon became imperative.
After extensive surgery on both feet-yes, left foot also needed surgery, I spent weeks in recuperative therapy. Even though surgery ‘was successful’ there continue to be issues with pain and corrective shoes. Boy am I grateful for Vionic shoes.
Driving a country mail route for 11 years took a toll on my shoulders. Sitting in the right hand side of my Dodge Pickup truck, extending my left foot to the accelerator and brake, left hand on the steering wheel, I drove the 116 miles each trip across mostly dirt roads in Newberry, Saluda, and Laurens counties to deliver mail to 124 mailboxes in weather of every sort. From 110 degrees to 15 degrees. In mud, snow, wind, ice, rain, and choking dust. Reaching out with heavy bundles of mail slowly tore the rotator cuff of my right shoulder to the point I had to relinquish the route just when higher powers decided to give me a full time job.
Up to that point I had been a ‘casual employee’ of the U S Postal Service. No consideration of retirement or benefits of any kind… except my paycheck. Even though the rural route was stressful; during hunting season I was run off the road by truckloads of hunters, or had a rifle pointed at me as I swept past, sliding off into a deep ditch in rich red mud, being shoved into another ditch by the young school bus driver who was afraid to move over to let me by, call to mind a few traumas. Yet! I loved the route.
By the time I gave up the mail route, my elderly mother had come to live with us and taking care of her was more difficult due to the fact that I was 63 and she was 93. lifting her in bed and bath exacerbated the damaged shoulders and so both shoulders were surgically repaired.
I began to notice a few rainbow flashes of light in my eyes. Eye surgeon found retinal tears in both eyes. Took quite a number of ‘zaps’ with a laser to close those wounds. The Doctor surmised that the jarring, dryness, and dustiness of the years on the mail route set up the viscous liquid of the eyes to become very dry and as it shrank, it stuck and pulled tears in the retina.
Not long after, they removed cataracts from both eyes.
Mother died at 99. I was 69, and my husband and I decided to downsize. We offered our large brick home to our oldest son and his wife if they’d agree to live there and take care of us in our old age. They agreed, so we began to build our small house next door by annexing two acres upon which we erected our little house. I was around 76 by the time we finished building it ourselves. I designed, and we executed it board by nail.
Not long afterward we found that our son was diagnosed with colon cancer. We finished the little house. Moved in, and watched our son struggle through surgery and years of chemo. He came from his Greenville home as often as possible to tinker with his cars that had been hauled onto the property of the large home he’d been given. He had a few good years intermittently while we watched the big house deteriorate.
Then, just a couple years ago one night, my husband fell and broke his left hip. After surgery in Newberry Hospital he was taken to recuperate in Unit 4 at Springfield Place. He was there for 30 days in therapy and then we returned to our little house for 30 more days of therapy. It was during that time I decided we had to sell our little house and move into a retirement facility. Having become acquainted with Springfield Place and all the accommodations available I soon applied for an apartment and we moved.
Our son died just a month later.
We aren’t made to bury our children. But, then again we aren’t immune to death, nor ills, nor all the other calamities that have befallen mankind. I’ve come to realize that death is inevitable and have actually gotten to the place where I welcome ‘him’. At least, sitting here at this keyboard I bravely say so, but understand, there are still things I want to do. My husband of 70 years continues to be able to dress and feed himself. And having someone still lucid and interactive is a blessing.
And as you must know, I love to write. So… beloveds, until next time, do take care of yourselves, and love those who are near and dear… kin or not.