April 23 2023

Been quite depressed the last several days. My dad seriously hurt his back and can barely walk. So he’s more depressed than usual. My teacher friend had to have emergency surgery for a hernia and had to miss a week of work. He didn’t take it very well that he has to take it easy for six weeks. But he’s always been active and even finished a few marathons in his younger years. He’s now in his early 40s and I think he’s starting to get unexpected aches and pains. My unexpected aches and pains started in my late 30s. I went from being able to walk 3 miles per day every day to getting winding going up a flight of stairs within only a few weeks. And even though I’ve lost over 190 pounds in the last three years, the stamina isn’t coming back. Neither is the chronic pain in both of my knees and tailbone ever truly gone away inspite the weight loss.

My friend out in Denver is in chronic pain due to fibomyalga and migranes to where she can barely function some days. She lost a job a year ago because of using too much sick time. She also has frequent panic attacks and crippling depression. She fears that she’ prediabetic because of how much sugar and carbs affect her. At her rate of decline, I fear she will have to go on disability within the next several years. And she’s my age. She rarely returns my texts or emails but I think it’s because she’s so depressed about everything. My dad is really depressed from most of his friends and extended family already dying. He’s actually scared to get close to anyone anymore. It’s really heartbreaking watching all the people I love and care about decline. I understand why older people are often grumpy and pessimistic. I just fear I will become that way eventually even though I actively fight against it.

I now recognize there are a few things I miss about the long term care facility. The biggest one is being around younger, energetic, and positive people who were my friends in addition to being my care givers. A couple of the younger ladies on the night staff were so friendly with me even early on I feared they were flirting with me. But no, they were just that nice and positive all the time. Even though I don’t miss being around lots of sick people and having no privacy, I do miss the friends I made in the eight months I was there. I found it easy to make friends with the staff, most of whom were in their twenties and thirties. Several are now facebook friends. But I made more friends in eight months in that small town hospital than I made in the previous ten years of living in low income housing. First time in my entire life I was around people younger than me for long periods of time. It was refreshing and gave me hope for the future. I guess I had forgotten what it was like to be young, healthy, and full of energy. When I was in college, my closest friends graduated a couple years ahead of me. Most of my friends are older than me today. Even every woman I ever went on a date with was older than me. The apartment complex I’m going to is mostly for senior citizens and disabled people. So I will likely be one of the youngest residents there. I imagine there are separate complexs for low income people with children and too young to be considered elders. But, since I will be living with older tenants, I hope much of the problems with noise, drug abuse, partying, and loud music will be kept to a minimum. I just hope I can keep in touch with my new found friends from the long term care hospital. Being around sick and declining people, even watching my friends decline, can make me feel hopeless and cynical. I don’t want to be hopeless and cynical. I don’t want to live my life in fear even though I have several chronic illnesses that will probably never be cured. I spent my life becoming wise and well rounded. Now it’s time to cash in and share some of that knowledge.


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