As we age, we all discover that various parts of our bodies don’t operate quite as well as we expect them to and some unlucky people seem destined to have to deal with one problem after another during their lives. However, a lot of those people who appear to endure countless health issues often show a resilience that the remainder of us have to envy.
I can think of two such characters connected with me who have displayed a strength of character that has meant that they have lived for a great deal longer than medical science would have estimated. My dad started to suffer from asthma as a young man, which meant that he often suffered from bouts of breathlessness and had to use medication from a young age. When he was 45 he was hospitalised with an especially severe asthma attack and soon after he suffered a cardiac arrest. We were told that he had no more than a fifty per cent chance of living and we were warned that if he did make it there was a serious chance that he would have experienced some level of brain damage as his brain had been starved of oxygen for too long.
However, he did survive and his mind was not damaged intelligence wise although his physical reflexes had slowed down noticably. A few years later, whilst being treated in hospital again after another serious asthma attack, he told the doctor about other symptoms and discovered he had bowel cancer. Fortunately it was at a very early stage and he underwent successful treatment for it.
Later on, his lungs and heart could not cope on their own and he had to be hooked up to a permanent oxygen feed and became virtually housebound. His lungs were so awful that simply relocating from one seat to another would leave him gasping for breath and quite unable to manage anything else at all. Even putting a glass to his lips was impossible. He died two years ago, but to get to his seventies whilst suffering from such serious problems truly was an achievement.
The mother of a good friend has gone through a similar catalogue of health problems. She got polio as a youngster, was confined to an iron lung throughout her childhood and was never expected to walk again. She proved the doctors wrong by managing to walk and went on to have a career as a singer and then studied to be a nursery teacher. She married and gave birth to three children although she’d been informed that she probably couldn’t reproduce, and spent many years caring for her husband after he broke his spine and developed a serious heart condition.
However, after her husband’s death, she had a nasty fall which shattered her ankle and this, along with the beginnings of severe arthritis in her arms, legs and hands, meant that she became virtually housebound. She developed a lung complaint and then started to experience problems with her vision. An operation on the left eye did not go well, and despite being recommended Laser eye surgery for the other eye, she declined to have it done due to the nasty experience she’d had during the conventional eye surgery.
A chest infection a few months back had a detrimental impact on her already damaged lungs and resulted in her being rushed into hospital only a few minutes away from death, but somehow she managed to keep breathing and gradually started to recover. However, she now has to use a permanent oxygen supply and has had no choice other than to go and live in a residential care home where her mobility issues and breathing complaints are checked daily.
Since she moved into the home though, she is once again mixing with other residents instead of spending most of her time on her own at home. She now takes more care with her appearance, and has become a firm favourite with the carers due to her feisty attitude to life. Whilst she will always say that the place is not her ‘home’, it has most certainly given her a greater zest for life. A recent appointment with the optician again suggested that she have Laser eye treatment on her other eye as she was having trouble when viewing the television, and this time she actually agreed to have an appointment with an eye specialist for a Laser eye surgery assessment.
She recently went to the local hospital where a extremely friendly specialist carried out the Laser eye treatment and then she finally realised just how awful her eyesight had become. Her big complaint now? That when she looks in the mirror, she can now see how old she has become!
Tags: Health and Fitness