Monday, August 06, 2007

Old

My friend's aunt just died. She had PKD.

I foolishly asked her how old her aunt was. My friend replied, "Oh, Heather, she was OLD!"

"How old?" I pressed.

"69".

I don't think that's old. My father will be 74 this year. My mother is 66.

My friend insisted another reason her aunt died when she did was because she was a chain smoker and a heavy drinker.

"I don't know much about PKD, but I'm sure the smoking and drinking didn't help!"

Ok, she has a point.

I was talking about this with my BIL, lamenting the fact that I, too, might die as old as this woman, and he said, "Well, how long do you WANT to live, anyway?"

It is an interesting question, and one that took me off guard. Do I give a blanket answer, like 'hey, I want to live until I'm 80?' My work in hospitals and nursing facilities has taught me that there is 80, and well, there's 80. It's not necessarily a blessing to live that old.

So this is how long I want to live. I want to live long enough to see my children graduate from highschool, and hopefully college. I want to see them get married, and nuzzle my grandchildren the way my mother nuzzles hers. I want to live long enough to know that my family will be strong and stable if I ever have to leave them.

And I want to live long enough to go to Hawaii.

Better get on that last one, huh?

5 comments:

stephanie said...

It woried me too ,will I be around for grandchildren ,I so want to be the kind of Nan my kids never had..So when I found out about PKD I worried ,but hey ,heart disease kills more women than anything else ,my kidneys could live past my heart.I guess I mean there are no certaties and no garentee's we can only live for today and hope we have many tomorrows.hows the dear little baby and her big brother?

Heather O. said...

The kids are doing great. Thanks for asking!

Rob Monroe said...

We're not allowed to talk about my future that far out in my house.

I'm not much for Hawaii (I'm a red-head) but I have a short list of things I want to accomplish. Some are easy (go to an out-of-town hockey gamm) and others are not.

Here's to health for us all - and accomplishing the goals we set in due time.

SusanS said...

I recently went to a financial planner recommended by a friend at work. He's Tibetan. Who could resist that combination. But he gave me three questions to answer (in addition to all of the records I'm supposed to hoist his direction). One of them asks you to consider what would you regret if you died tomorrow, another what you want to accomplish before the end. I found these to be questions we should all think about from time to time. A friend at work told me yesterday about a friend of hers who died over the weekend sitting in her hot tub (no drugs or alcohol so she may have fallen asleep and drowned or perhaps her heart stopped). I guess the point is that we all need to face our mortality, decide what is important, and live our life today. I realize it's easy for me to give this advice not living with PKD. But I am facing the reality of turning 60 this fall.

It's an interesting thing to contemplate. What would I regret or celebrate in that moment of dying were it to come tomorrow--and I had the luxury (or the curse) of that last thought.

Joe said...

I am haunted by the fact that my father passed away with complications related to PKD at 52. Everyone always says that I am the apple that did not fall far from the tree, and I think to myself- how much time do I have left, at age 35?

This fact has been a blessing and a curse. Having this in the back of my mind gets me to do things now, not later, and to take care of myself better than my father did. I know that I am not him, and nobody knows when they will meet their maker, but it does make me think twice.