The Sunset Years
Reaching the age of 70, my doctor recommended a variety of exams to see the results of my state of health. When all the exams were done, and all the information was collected, he scheduled an appointment for me to meet with him to hear the results.
Listening to him reminded me of a similar conversation with a car mechanic who did a diagnostic on my first car. It was an old Ford 1964 Galaxy. As I listened to my doctor describe the results I heard the mechanics voice. I remembered sitting in the garage office as he pointed out to me the problems with my old car. He told me, my water pump leaks, the radiator hose is worn out, the battery needs charging and there is a clog in my fuel pump. He said he didn’t even want to look into my crankcase. The muffler is shot and the exhaust is so loud it is an embarrassment and worse; my tires are bald. Not too dissimilar from the reports from my doctor.
I felt exhausted after listening to the declining state of health of my body. I realized that I had reached a place in life that no amount of running, weight training, vitamins, and hairpieces were going to turn the clock around. I was not at the end of my life but for the first time, I could see it from here.
My doctor’s tone became more somber as he informed me that my heart rate was in the 30’s and I had signs of Atrial Fibrillation and Tachycardia. Tachycardia is a rapid heart rate caused by a problem in the heart's electrical system. I felt like I was back in the garage again. I thought of the irony involved. As a weightlifter, I had plenty of muscle but the one I needed to stay alive was defective.
Driving home I reflected on comments my father made as he got older. The one that stands out among them all was his remark about sex. He said, “You know Bob, when you are old sex is like a fence. The post goes before the hole.”
Since I had two children in my 50's the comments I heard the most was how lucky I was because my kids would keep me young. My only thought was that I don't remember being this tired when I was young.
One night when the two of them were in their cribs crying, I lied in bed wondering what was I thinking when I decided to remarry a younger woman and have a couple more kids? Then at that moment, my wife stepped out of the shower and I remembered.