Friday, October 23, 2009

Illness as illness, not metaphor

So somewhere along the line we all got duped. The baby boomers that is. We were supposed to be invincible, eternally young, powerful.
At the moment five friends of mine have cancer, my husband has prostate cancer, another friend has Alzheimers'. How did that happen? We got suddenly old and we didn't expect it. My parents did, expect it. They knew from caring for their old parents, that after 50 or so, it was over. People got old, they dwindled, they died. They got eccentric or demented. Men had heart attacks. Women got "female trouble" and lingered for years, suffering. There was not much to do for them. Medicine up to about 60 years ago was palliative. Hence people's attitude was more realistic, grimmer. I have the sort of temperament that thinks grimmer is ok.
I exercise. I try to eat well but don't deny myself much, except perhaps in portion size. My friends do the same. My husband smoked for 40 years and finally quit. He eats whatever and how much of it he wants. My health conscious friends have cancer. My husband has cancer. My friend has Alzheimer's. Except for morbid obesity, which does clearly limit life, not much else seems to matter. Genes and dumb luck. But our grandparents knew that.
My point here that I am exhausted by health news. My well, so far, friends who go on about diet and water and vitamins and exercise have worn out my patience for such discussions. We are all going to get something. We are all going to die. Can we go back to talking about books now?

1 comment:

  1. Maybe the trick is to invite death and sickness in, make light of them. I don't know. It worked for me in Iraq.