In recent years I've watched good friends walk the valley of battling cancer. Somewhat slowly they went through the process of fighting for their lives. Finally, one day it was over and they died.
I sat with one dear friend in his home months before he died and he asked, "Why me?" He was about 63 and had just started thinking about retirement and then his life was over.
I was talking to a classmate from high school who was telling me about his elevated PSA while his significant other had just been diagnosed with cancer. She had just decided to go with a double mastectomy. We were sharing our troubles and we both agreed that we are aging.
The alternative to dying is aging. If we are to live there is only one way to go and that is adding additional years. While many of us still feel and want to act like we are 21 we aren't. We all know people who died at young ages from disease or an accident or were killed in war. Some of us have been fortunate to live awhile and most of us are very grateful for every day of life.
We shrug our shoulders sometimes and say we're 40, then 50, then 60, 70 and so forth. It's hard to believe that we have achieved our particular age. The flipside to this increasing number are life's problems that accompany aging. We don't see as well. We don't hear as good. We don't stand as straight. Our knees and hips hurt. Our hair turns color or falls out. We start having other internal problems related to heart, liver, kidneys, thyroid, lungs and the list goes on. Aging means more trips to the doctor and other medical specialists. The trade off to dying young is frequent body checkups and tune-ups. They aren't fun at all and are sometimes financially prohibitive for many.
I'm not for socialized medicine but I'm for everyone having access to healthcare. If it takes socialized medicine to insure this then I'll vote for it to happen. I'm totally against the powers that be at an insurance corporate office deciding that I can't have a surgery if my doctor says it's imperative for my health and even life. I am opposed to someone at a government Medicare office saying that Medicare won't pay for a heart surgery; a chemo treatment, dialysis or whatever is needed for anyone's health and life. I am opposed to killing babies on the front end of life and I'm opposed to killing old people at the back end of life. Life should be given every opportunity.
We are fortunate if we get to live awhile. The longer we live we will deal with blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar, polyps, nodules and so forth. Finally, something takes us out and this good life we enjoyed is over. Thus while we are alive we do all we can do to live wisely and to do our best. We trust that our doctor will do all that he can do and we look to God in faith that beyond this life is a much, much better place where our dear friends and family await our entrance to where they have gone on before.
Glenn Mollette is an American syndicated columnist and author.
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