Monday, August 31, 2020

My year so far

I find myself rather surprised to be still alive in 2020. I had never imagined getting this far but I am still alive and feebly kicking at age 77. So I thought some record of my aged self would be appropriate.

In my late '50s and early '60s, I had a number of good and memorable relationships but none of them lasted. So by 2005 I was really hopeful of a lasting relationship

And I got my wish. In late 2005 I met Anne, beginning a long and happy relationship that lasted until early this year.

In the last couple of years I have had a couple of operations to remove cancers in my neck and that seems to have triggered a general decline in my fitness. So, by 2020, 77 years of sedentary living had really caught up with me. I had experienced a substantial loss of vigour and fitness, leaving me as a shadow of my former self. That contributed to Anne leaving me for a much fitter man.

The friendship between us endures, however, so we still see one another at least once a week.  Tomorrow is the 15th anniversary of us meeting so we will be celebrating that with a lunch at our favourite dining spot tomorrow

Many men die in their 60s. It is a great age of dying for men. So those of us who survive into our late 70s are rarely in perfect health.

My greatest age-related difficulty is my low level of strength and vigour. I was very strong for most off my life -- something my son Joe inherits -- but, after 77 years of a sedentary life, most of that is lost. I usually use my hands to help me out of a chair, for instance.

So you might conclude from that that I am in generally poor health. Surprisingly, the truth is the reverse. I am basically in perfect health. When blood tests results come in, my liver function, kidney function and blood sugar come in dead centre. And when doctors see my electrocardiograms they just nod and walk away. There is nothing to discuss. And my BP is still around 140/70.

And while your heart is beating you are alive. When it stops you are dead. And mine seems destined to beat for a while yet. There are a lot of long lives in my family. One relative made it to 100.

And that fits with something else: As a former Mensa member I am a certified high IQ person. And high IQ persons commonly live into their 90s

And there are still some faint positives in my appearance. Most people of my age are pretty wrinkly by now but I have hardly any wrinkles at all. But I do look rather blotchy and that goes back to something else:

I had lots of coughs and colds in my childhood and the local doctor always gave me his "pink mixture" to deal with that. It contained arsenic. I think it goes back to Paracelsus who observed that the toxicity is in the dose and small doses of arsenic probably are on balance helpful. But I got a lot of it and from my late teens the results came out in the form of skin cancer. I get outbreaks very frequently now. But it has become routine for me to get them chopped out so they hardly bother me. The little blotches are however low-priority cancers. I get bigger ones that demand first attention.

Alcohol: I was a heavy drinker once but drink little these days. I often have a glass of wine with dinner but rarely finish it.

My interests and activities have contracted in line with my fitness. I spend less time blogging now (about 4 hours per day) and my chief leisure activity is dining out. I don't even watch TV now. My mind is still sharp, however, so I feel that I still have something to contribute.

I hope to have new companionship while I do so but am not optimistic about that. I am probably too old and feeble to initiate a new relationship. Though there are some interesting possibilities at the moment.

I had an exceptionally medical day today -- two appointments with two doctors during which I underwent a total of five procedures -- all minor

And last night I had for dinner that great family favourite: Egg rolled pork.  Most readers here will have no trouble guessing  the exceptionally kind person who made that for me

Tuesday update

I got into my best gear for our anniversary celebration.  See below:

Friday, August 14, 2020

An eldern dinner party

I have been seeing more than usual of Anne this week, to my considerable satisfaction. We had a Tuesday lunch together and today we had a small dinner party together. And Anne and I will be dining together tomorrow.

Anne's best friend is J.. and she has a husband G..   and J.. hosted the dinner party.  I get on well with G.. so I was invited along to make up the numbers of the foursome.  In a very traditional way, the men mainly talked in the dining area while the women talked in the kitchen

Our hostess

Our host

J. did an excellent pie with vegetables for the dinner and in a very Scottish way Anne dished up my version of the dinner.  She knows what I take.  So I got a big slice of the yummy pie and only a token amount of vegetables.  I noticed that J  had only a small slice of pie and a plate replete with vegetables so I am glad I didn't get her dinner.

G. and I chatted about political matters in our usual way. G was at the time thinking about how Australia's constitution could be improved and so we also discussed constitutional arrangements in the USA and Britain.  No wonder the ladies retreated to the kitchen!

G. is firmly anti American, as is common in Australia, so he was rather surprised and pleased when I told him that America is more democratic than Australia and Britain because it has congressional (parliamentary) elections every two years.  So a bungling government can be kicked out more quickly there.

We had our tea all together in the parlour after the dinner so everyone was amused when I briefly nodded off during one of G's harangues.  It will be a remembered event, I think.

After the dinner, we went back to Anne's place for a lie down where we had some very pleasant chats in our usual way

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

A crazy sort of a day

My day today started out as a medical appointment followed by a lunch but that was the only simple thing about it. It soon got complicated

I was due for a 11:40 appointment at my skin cancer clinic today  for a review of the dressings on a recent shave biopsy. I am usually pretty good about punctuality but I do very occasionally  get the hour wrong. I turned up at 10:40 instead of 11:40.  But I am a frequent customer there so the receptionist was indulgent and  popped me in to be seen next anyway.

And when I saw the doctor she did an amazing number of things for me.  She put on FOUR dressings on four of my bad bits and sprayed another bad bit: A rare 5 in 1 service.  She was a gem to look after me so well. She was booked to do one dressing but did four.

And then there was the lunch: scheduled for 12:30 and to be the first part of new arrangements with Anne.  I knew the traffic was bad out her way so when she was late getting to my place I texted her at 12:20 to tell her to go straight to the restaurant, where we are both well-known.

Unbeknown to me however she had nearly got to my place when I left.  So she saw me driving off in Merton Rd and followed me. So I got to the parking lot and was walking along towards the restaurant when a little hand suddenly appeared in my hand. It was Anne!  A very convenient coincidence leading to a very pleasant surprise

And when we arrived at the restaurant for our booking, some previous diners were dilatory so there was no table for us. So we went shopping in the nearby Woolworths for 10 minutes until the restaurateur rang me on mobile to say that a table was free.

So we eventually sat down only a little late for our lunch and it was great  -- calamari with chips and salad.  That place does the best calamari I have ever had.  Definitely worth the wait

Anne was wearing an arty red necklace that I once gave her

I was so happy that night that as I was going to bed I was singing in my head "Colonel Bogey". My normal happy song is "Men of Harlech"