Friday, April 8, 2016

Needs Stabilizing (Part two)

You can escape the cold, the heat, the rainy weather, even the tax man as the Panama Papers revealed this week. But, you can't escape death, old age and sickness. And Yes, they do go together, and statistically, the older you get the closer you are to getting a major disease.

I read, just this week in the New York Times, that living well, such as exercising, eating the right kinds of food in moderation, getting enough sleep, eliminating stress and abusive behaviors, doing everything the experts have taught us to do, all that will not prevent death. They will not prevent sickness and old age. Yes, some people in the mountains of Sardinia have shown remarkable capabilities for staying health through old age.

But, most of us will get sick, and eventually die.

After a major illness or casualty we hope and pray, and look around our environment,  for things to do, food to eat, changes to make to achieve that previous state we left behind when we became ill. We are hoping to achieve stabilization, a return to the normal we have been accustomed to for decades. This wish for normalization, for stabilizing, keeps us sane, keeps us relatively happy.

But what happens when what we are faced with is not stabilization, but a status we dread, a continuous imbalance that has to be accepted as the new normal?

What happens when the new normal includes pain, misery and a death sentence around the corner?

Doctors and nurses and social workers have learned a few tricks to deal with such issues. Mostly, they rely on prescribing new, expensive drugs that the patient may not be able to afford, or procedures that cause more pain and more money spent in order to give the patient more hope for achieving stabilization.

How do we plan for these stages?

How do we alleviate our fears that this meal, this reunion, this experience may be the last one?
How do we even sit down and have a conversation about our health issues and ask the question, is this procedure going to make me better so my life can return to normal?

I'm of the opinion that the bravest thing to do, as you age and become more and more infirm, is to live as though everything is just as it should be, great and rewarding. That nothing would make you happier. That you were brave and smart and conscientious in the previous decades of work and child rearing, and spousal companionship, and life was good to you.

Then, keep smiling, keep giving gifts as long as you can to as many people as you can. After all, you can't take anything with you. This will be your way of stabilizing the muddy pavement you're stuck on, the unknown you can't wish for, take, or give.

This stage of life aims at subtracting from you. 

Well, you can do additions, and multiplications. Set up a trust fund for that baby still to come; help your poor relative with purchasing that first house. At your funeral, someone will remember that you substituted in their class on the day their child was receiving an award miles away, and that teacher you substituted for was able to attend that event. That's how you stabilize a roaring ocean that aims to destroy the peace and tranquility of your neighborhood.

Stabilization is a human attribute. 


Shadow said...

I think we all pretty much know what we should do to stay healthy. That is our choice. Dying, however, is not. It's gonna happen sometime....

the walking man said...

The stability came for me when I saw that I could control only X amount. I know how old I am and know how many (approximately) of my peers I have outlived already. Odd how much one can accomplish in life and still feel like there is more to do, at least I believe a man I went through grade school with who made it through the heart operation just fine but died in the recovery room this past Tuesday, felt he had more to do. Now if I could ask him just one question it would be asked before going under the anesthesia, "do you fear death?"

I think on the condition of death often and do not fear it, don't remember ever fearing it, have had to accept more "new normals" than I ever thought possible. I wonder if I have survived this long because I took a few risks and the outcomes stabilized me, body, soul, and spirit?

Tom at Sightings said...

Yes, all this is true ... but I like your attitude!

Vagabonde said...

Yours is an interesting philosophical post. As you say, after a major illness we look around for things to do and to achieve the previous state we left behind. Some even get angry, pessimistic or depressed – but sometime nothing will help. Sometime even Big Pharma does not have the pills to sell to help one’s health get better, because they don’t know what will help, just like us. For some illnesses, the pills have not been discovered, yet.
At first I was very upset with the diagnostic that my husband had Alzheimer, but now I take it, as they say, one day at a time. I know he will get worse and already he is much worse than at Thanksgiving. But I don’t think about the future and try to stay happy thinking that we still can appreciate spring with all its beauty. To wallow in misery won’t make him better, and he won’t understand why I am upset – better to be truly cheerful to be still alive, and grateful for it. And, as you say, stabilize that way.

Marty said...

You're a wise lady, Rosaria.
For someone who likes control over my life, I'm grateful that all the parts have held together pretty well up until now. I hope when that ceases to be true, that I am able to remember your advice.

Therese said...

Good morning, Rosaria. Ah, I haven't thought of the word 'stabilization'. It's an apt term. I think of balance but stabilization contains more specifics. Thank you for your blog.

#1Nana said...

Thanks for blazing the trail. The rest of us are right behind you, using the signposts you've left us!

Hilary said...

I like the way you think. There's much truth to it. Stabilization makes sense.

Unspoken said...

This is an interesting approach and one that sounds much better than becoming bitter.

Midlife Roadtripper said...

"I'm of the opinion that the bravest thing to do, as you age and become more and more infirm, is to live as though everything is just as it should be, great and rewarding."

I think you are completely correct in this opinion. We just have to go for it.

I hope this goes through. I have had trouble posting to your site of late. Not certain why.

A Cuban In London said...

A very articulate and beautifully written post, especially on such a difficult subject.

Greetings from London.