Are We Sick or Merely Getting Old?

old-woman-dying

As we age, we know our bodies go through various changes. Sleep habits might change. Some people begin sleeping more while others may begin to sleep less. Muscles ache, body aches, some individuals may even experience pins and needles in their feet or other parts of the body. Some may have problems with their brain (ideas just bouncing from one thought to another).

What does this all mean? Well, several questions come to mind: “What does old feel like?” or an even better question is: “What does sick feel like?”  How do we differentiate between the two?

If one looks up these two words either in the dictionary or on Wikipedia, they would be told the following:

Oldhaving lived for a long time or no longer young.

Sick – affected by physical or mental illness.

Which brings me back to my question – “What does old feel like?” I ask this question because it would appear to me that as far back as I can remember – once a person reached a certain age – or perhaps even looked the part, they were looked upon as being “old.”

And yet every now and then one will pick up a newspaper, see someone on the television, or notice something on the Internet that exclaims – oh look at this or that person do whatever it is they are doing and make the comment “Gee, I hope I either look like that or can do what they are doing when I reach that age.”

The problem with this scenario though brings up the question “At what age?” We all know that as we age, our bodies do tend to wear down some, if not completely, and as such need rest. For some – a nap may be in order – for others, perhaps just sitting down to take a break from whatever physical activity they were performing might be in order.

But, is this enough? How are we to tell if we are sick or merely tired? Okay, one day we may over-exert ourselves and do tire sooner but the question that still needs to be asked is – “Are we merely tired because of what we were just doing or is it because we are getting older?  The flip side to this question could also be that quite possibly we are tired because something else is happening to our bodies and we should not just be passing it off as “Oh, I’m getting older?”

Hopefully most of us visit our doctor, if not twice a year, at least annually. Let’s review that scene as to what happens when we do visit them: they draw blood the week before the visit so as to view same and make sure everything is within its normal range(s); they listen to our heart and lungs to make sure they are working properly; they take our blood pressure to be sure that is not “out of whack” so to speak; and sometimes they take your temperature to be sure you are not running a temperature. More often than not, they also weigh you to be sure you are not gaining or losing an inordinate amount of weight within a specific time period.

But, is that enough? Could something be lurking behind the scenes – something the doctor doesn’t see or know about. Most of us, at one time or another, has had the occasional flu or cold that has laid us up for a few days – you know – the one episode that has us coughing, and hacking, being feverish, quite possibly having the runs, and just that overall feeling that – hey, just let me lay around for a few days until I feel normal again, whatever normal is?

However, putting that scenario aside for a moment – and I don’t mean to sound like a broken record – but does anyone have a sound description for what “old” feels like? Why do I ask? Because, looking at life and old age in this fashion, is it any wonder why sometimes we may well wake up, not feel our usual selves, drag ourselves to the doctor – assuming of course we can get an appointment within a reasonable amount of time – only to find out that – lo and behold, the doctor informs you that you really are sick. Or, perhaps the doctor says something like – you should have this or that test or procedure done to rule out certain possibilities. What now, you think to yourself.

Over the past two years I have seen several close friends and relatives – some that were truly sick and others not sick at all, receive information that they have some dreaded disease or worse yet, that their time is short. Keeping that thought in mind, the fact is that today, more than ever, we need to become our own advocate when it comes to our health.  Only we know how we feel from one day to the next and whether that feeling is different than our normal (and I will let you be the judge of what normal is) selves.

Unfortunately, I do not have a solution to this dilemma but in thinking about it and knowing that as we age, our bodies go through various changes, it is logical that we will feel differently. Naturally, the question that results is – “How differently?” – old-old, or sick-old?” To coin an old cliché: “That my friends is the $64.000 question!”

senior-with-redwine

In the interim though, “Stay well! “

Until next time!

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About iglengel

Welcome to my blog: I retired in September of 1996 after twenty-five years as an Underwriting Manager (and one year with a smaller insurance company) and have written blog postings on the website Retirement-online.com prior to setting up this Word Press free site. Having retired almost twenty years ago I have experienced my own retirement transition. I survived and you will too. Oddly enough, now that I have more time, I am discovering various things about myself that I would not have imagined myself doing in retirement. Why does it take so long for, we as individuals, to stop and think about ME!? Join me as I share with you some of the shenanigans we have been up to since retiring. Retirement is and can be a whole lot of fun. Welcome to my site – remember – retirement is not the destination we are seeking – it is the journey! I encourage you to visit often, provide comments, ask questions and add your own insights. We are all on this journey together.
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6 Responses to Are We Sick or Merely Getting Old?

  1. Yeah.. i see it with my mum.. no two days are tge same. Forget that the same day is not the same. I also suoer health oldies. I agree you gotta know in yourself and doctors can be right and can be wrong… it is a dilemma it is… i say know yourself and hopefully you have goid family support. And tgat is half the battle. Won! Sure is a dilemma

  2. I think this is one of your best posts ever. It’s very thought provoking, what defines age. Like you say do we wake up one morning feeling old. I took my mum to the podiatrist yesterday for her monthly feet treatment. She is suffering again with gout!

    She is 86 this year and when we walked out to my car a few of her neighbors were around and I could see the determination on her face not to let them see she was in pain. I asked her why she did that and she replied I am not having them they I’m an old woman! But your 86 this year I replied. I believe in answer to your question that getting old begins in ones own mind. People let getting old happen.

    I’ve just read another post saying that they don’t need angels and harps when they die, they would prefer snow and forests…… basically it was there thoughts of heaven. We are what we think….. sorry to ramble on, it is 4.57 am here , I can’t sleep it must be my age 😳

  3. iglengel says:

    Loved your post on “Inner Peace” along with the great feeling one gets when reading others’ posts that have similar thoughts on what makes one happy in today’s crazy mixed up world. I like the direction you have chosen. Keep up the good work as in this writer’s humble opinion, you are on the right track.

  4. An interesting question… personally I remember thinking in my 20s how middle aged my parents were and yet they were 10 years younger than I am today. Our definition of age is changing and I do think that 60 is the new 40. However, my mother who lived to nearly 95 said that inside she still felt the same as when she was a young girl. Thanks and will post the link in the Blogger tomorrow. Sally

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