Monday, January 22, 2018

A Peek at the Future

A Peek at the Future
I had surgery on Friday. As a sign that I'm getting older, I somehow gave myself a hernia picking up my backpack on the first day of our last trip to Europe.

Mrs. Done by Forty and our friends were kind enough to carry my pack for me the rest of the trip. And my doctor said it wasn't serious. As long as I didn't lift heavy stuff, I could postpone the surgery until January in order to pick different insurance during open enrollment. 

Waiting saved us over a thousand dollars, but came with the cost of not being able to play kickball in the fall.

After a few hoops with the insurance company were cleared, the day of the surgery finally came. Almost everyone at the surgical center was cool, but our anesthesiologist turned out to be a dick, opining as I was about to go under that, "The anesthesia drugs will sting going in, but only little girls complain about it." I remember wanting to say something to the douche bag, but didn't because I didn't want to piss off the guy who'd be responsible for keeping me alive for the next hour.

I woke up and made a fool of myself in a drug filled haze, apparently trying to convince the staff that they should all watch Scrubs ("Have you seen it? It's really good!") and then, sigh, did impressions of JD and Turk. I'm not proud of it.


The next day, the anesthesia had worn off and the pain set in. I couldn't get in or out of bed without a crazy sharp pain in my groin, and Mrs. Done by Forty had to help me get from one room to another. She prepared my food, brought me a Percocet and a glass of water every six hours, and laid extra blankets on me to keep me warm.

Forget about putting on socks or pulling on a pair of underwear by myself: Mrs. Done by Forty would have to help with that, too.

It was humbling.

The whole time I was hobbling around, I thought, man, this is going to be my life someday. When I'm seventy or, if I'm lucky, eighty, this might be my reality every day. Having to deal with some pain just to stand up or put on my socks, and having to rely on someone else to do mundane tasks like prepare my meals, or to do things around the house.

When will I stop being able to drive a car, or run errands? When will I stop outsourcing things because I think it's a good use of my time, and start outsourcing things out of necessity?

Someday, I won't be able to do things on my own anymore. I'd need help. And the whole time, I might be in some pain just getting through the day.

Depressing, I know.

But this morning, as I'm able to move around better, I'm definitely appreciative of being able to bend over and pet my dog. And I have a weird sense of accomplishment in being able to make breakfast for us, even if it is just scrambled eggs and toast.

I figure I have thirty or forty good years left (I hope), before life changes pretty dramatically. Who knows? It might be many fewer than that.

Either way, I need to recognize the urgency of the situation.

As you might know by now, baby Done by Forty is on the way. And friends, I know so very little about what to expect in parenthood. Initially, I'd thought we'd save some of the things we wanted to do (like living abroad and doing some slow traveling, or maybe doing a Sprinter van conversion and trying out van life for a while) until after the kids were off to college.

But with the number of good years I have left, that's just not going to work. Thirty years from now, I'm going to be in my late sixties. There's no time to wait.

Whatever Mrs. Done by Forty and I want to do with our lives is going to involve the kiddos, too. That might mean looking in to some home schooling options if we live abroad for a year, and putting my teaching credential to work for once. And if we want to convert a van and travel to national parks in the summers, we might have to get creative if we're going to sleep four in there.

But either way, there isn't time to waste.

And even though it's coming in the form of a shooting pain in my groin, I'm grateful to get a bit of a jolt, and realize just how little time there is on the clock.

As always, thanks for reading.


*Photo is from Army Medicine at Flickr Creative Commons.

24 comments:

  1. I'm sorry I guess I totally missed where you said you were having a baby!! Congratulations!!! Wait, why sleeping 4? Twins? Where have I been? In other news, I'm glad you are on the mend and got that surgery out of the way. And yes that guy was a total dick but I probably would have done the same thing. When I checked myself into the hospital when I couldn't keep the disgusting prep drink down before my colonoscopy last year, the doctor was snarky too and said, "you know old people manage to do just fine with it." asshole! anyway, I do think about my abilities as I get older and man that motivates me each year, month, and day to try and stay as healthy as possible. To not succumb to this stagnate, sedentary, corporate way of living. :(

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    1. Hey Tonya!

      There were a couple mentions of the baby hidden in the last two posts, but I'm just making it obvious now. :)

      We're only having one this time around, but we want to have two before we call it quits. I kind of am in love with the idea of the four of us going to national parks in a sprinter van.

      And what is it with jerks in hospitals? I know they're trying to be funny but, man.

      I'm trying to use the injury as a wake up call. I'm not a spring chicken any longer...time to get while the getting's good.

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  2. You're having a baby?! GAH! How could I have missed this? This is what happens when you're in the writing cave for way too long.

    Congrats!

    So sorry to hear about the surgery though :( Get better soon!

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    1. Hi FireCracker! Yeah, we're making a little one...who might wreak havoc on our FIRE plans, but maybe not.

      I'm on the mend now and my goal for the next couple days is to wean myself of the Percocet. :)

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  3. Good to hear that you got it fixed. It'll get better. I've had two hernia surgeries. No fun but it gets easier. Best of luck!

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    1. Hey Money Beagle. Here's to hoping I only need one...but I suppose it's pretty likely that the other side may go at some point, too. I'm surprised by how much it hurt the next day! I was out of commission.

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  4. YESSS I like that I wasn't the last person to figure it out :)

    I would personally hunt down a way to formally complain about your anesthesiologist being a jackass because misogynist much? I wonder if they would take a complaint seriously.

    And this is exactly why I'm trying to figure out how to make this retirement thing happen. How you feel after surgery is how I feel most days of the year but thankfully I won't reopen a surgery site when I can force myself to push through. This has been life for the past 20 years, there is no cure, and it's certainly not going to get better. So I have to make it happen ASAP.

    The good news for you is that if you eat right and keep yourself fit, you may well be as awesome as my friend who turned 75 this year - still able to do more than one pretty high impact sport, contribute to society, and live a relaxing and enthusiastic life. It's just that it's not guaranteed, so we SHOULD work on making the most of every bit of time we still have.

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    1. Hey Revanche,

      I was considering saying something, too. I wonder if I'm even a reliable witness because of the anesthesia...

      I'm sorry that this is how you feel most of the time. That sounds incredibly rough.

      As cliche as it is, I am trying to lose some weight and eat better this year. Maybe this surgery is what I need to see that I don't have any time to fuck around?

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  5. While headlines love to draw attention to the woes of aging; the majority of the elderly are doing ok for themselves.

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    1. That's something I hadn't considered. Maybe it's not as dire as I'm making it out to be.

      Still, I want to take the motivation and use it, even if it's based on an overblown fear.

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  6. Congrats with the baby. Enjoy your sleep now because that's going to change. ;) Life will be so much fuller, though.
    I'm afraid of aging too. My mom is turning 70 this year and she is starting to have dementia. That means I have less than 30 good years left. I'll just have to enjoy life while I'm young and do all the travel I can ASAP. Waiting until I'm old isn't going to work out well.

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    1. That's good advice, Joe. I'm going to savor the sleep for the next few months.

      My mom is in her early seventies and I know we only have so many more years with her. Another good reminder to appreciate the people you have, and the time you have with them!

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  7. Congrats on your baby! I had my first (and only) at 40.

    FWIW, I will respect you more as a FIRE blogger now. I don't really take FIRE blogs very seriously, from those who don't have kids ;-). Once you have kids, you start thinking "Done by Fifty or Fifty-Five" is still pretty damned fantastic!

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    1. Yeah, Tin. Those FIRE bloggers who retire without kids are chumps: it's like playing FIRE on easy mode.

      But yeah, even if we hit FIRE at 40 (and I think we will) then we might work a bit longer to pad things: need to be a bit safer with kiddos in the mix.

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  8. Depressing indeed.

    And I have the same thoughts. I counter them by thinking about successful old people and trying to mimic them. Our 90+ year old neighbor walks multiple miles every day. Our 80 year old neighbors do the same and also swim. All 3 of them are skinny, active and in better shape than my 70 year old parents.

    You can't stay young forever, but I do believe that the crappy years can be minimized. I'm going to stay as active as possible for as long as possible. F*** the TV; I'm going outside.

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    1. Hey Carl!

      There's definitely a way to spin this to a positive, while still reaping the benefits of added motivation. I personally don't know a lot of 80 and 90 year olds who are active...but maybe I need to volunteer at the Senior Center.

      And yeah, Fuck the TV. The missus and I watch entirely too much...that thing will literally be the death of us if we're not careful.

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    2. Ha, a little TV is OK as long as you balance it out. Everyone has their vices. I read silly car magazines and technology websites.

      Back to the main topic. The other thing I'm mindful of is this How your treat your body now has repercussions. For example, my blood pressure used to be 130/80. By getting it lower now and keeping it low for decades, I'm saving a shitload of wear and tear on my body. My knees are also thankful for the big gut that I shed.

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    3. I need to copy your plan. Been at 180 or so for the past 6 months which is crazy for me. I used to be lean and mean around 150-160 but, man, age is a killer.

      My buddy and I are stealing that bet idea, and having a friendly competition: seeing if we both can get down 10 lbs by April.

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  9. Eee Gads! That doesn't sound like a whole helluva lot of fun. I'm glad you're feeling better. It's always good to get a reminder that we are, in fact, mortal, isn't it?

    You know, CatMan is 20 years older than me, and he suffers from a degenerative nerve disease. It makes it difficult for him to do things like walk any meaningful distance, or bend over, or turn his head sharply, or sit in the wrong chair, or lift anything heavy, or a whole slew of other things that most of us take for granted.

    But, one of the things he can still do is ride his bike, and once a few years ago when we were out riding I got a flat. I was grumbling vociferously about it as I flipped my bike upside down and started to change the tire. He stopped me and said. "You know, the time will come when you will long for the days of changing flat tires."

    And that set me straight. The thing is, life is gonna put limits on all of us. It might be age related, or you might find out (like me) in your 20s that you're violently allergic to a whole pile of foods, and suddenly you can't really enjoy going out to eat anymore... and that's when you learn to love cooking.

    So IMHO, the important thing is to recognize the value of the things you do get to do, and not take them for granted. I mean, I know that CatMan dearly wishes he could still do things like go rock climbing, or hiking, or cave exploring. But even with all of his medical issues, and at the age of 71, he can still ride me (and most people, for that matter) into the ground.

    I guess what I'm saying is yes, absolutely - you only get one life, so don't waste it... get out there and do the things you want to do. But also remember that if and when things change, and your life no longer looks the way you imagined it would, it doesn't mean that all is lost. It just means that you might have to let go of the picture and plan, and just live in the reality of whatever blessings you do have.

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    1. You always leave the best comments, ECL.

      I tend to think of things in a binary manner: that I'll have something, or not. Do things now, or later.

      But there's this big wide world of middle ground, of adapting, and focusing on the things we really can do...and damn well.

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  10. First, glad the surgery went well. Second, congrats on the incoming baby. We hope to have our first here soon (although we are a little older). Hopefully, that won't put our FIRE by too long. But it is worth it in the long run. Congrats again!

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  11. Thanks Jason and congratulations to you too! Maybe we can share first time parenting tips.

    I agree FIRE may be delayed with the kids but I am trying to understand the fact that I am not in any race, not even with myself. Better to enjoy the joy than to worry about my final time.

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  12. Congratulations on the kid!

    As someone in her mid-20s it's incredibly easy for me to take my health and mobility for granted. I sprained my ankle in October 2016, which was a wake-up call since my primary form of transportation is walking and it seriously impacted my life for about two weeks. And then of course a few months later (aside from the occasional twinge when it's cold out) I'd completely forgotten about it or how thankful I'd been when I could walk normally again. It's good to have a reminder sometimes of how much I take for granted.

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    1. Thanks, Erin!

      It's definitely easy to forget to feel gratitude. It's only been two weeks and I can see that happening a bit. In a way, it's good for us to seek out challenges and adversity just for regular reminders of how good we have it.

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