Friday, December 20, 2013

Learning to age gracefully

I've always felt "young at heart." I stubbornly continue doing things like playing soccer, riding my bike to work, going backpacking and hiking, and so forth.

One of the things that's paramount in my mind, as I age, is to retain mobility. I've got close family members who aren't mobile, and I can see that it really impacts their quality of life. So being able to get around freely is extremely important to me.

Recently, our beautiful 6 1/2 year old Labrador, the best companion a family could ever ask for, has suddenly developed a severe case of arthritis or some other sort of joint damage. Viewed from hindsight, this has been coming on for a while, but to us it seemed very sudden. She had recovered from all her previous injuries quite quickly, but this time it's been a stubborn several weeks with no improvement.

She's always been a fetch-and-retrieve dog, and so the restrictions on carrying balls, sticks, pine cones and other toys have come as a big change in her lifestyle. If you had seen her 5 years ago, racing through a meadow at top speed, eyes focused on a flying frisbee, snatching it out of the air at the last moment, you'd watch her limping down the hall, barely able to make it 100 yards from the house, and it would break your heart.

Besides the mobility, the other thing that terrifies me is losing my eyesight, as I'm so incredibly dependent on my vision, not only for my employment, but also for my general lifestyle.

So I recently made my regular trip to the eye doctor, worrying about vision problems that have been affecting family members recently.

Happily, after a thorough, if exhausting, two hours at the doctor (did you know they make an MRI of your eyeball now?!), he pronounced himself thoroughly pleased: "perfect visual field, no blind spots, no evidence of glaucoma, no retinal tears or scars, no evidence of tumors, no cataracts, optic nerve looks healthy and strong, eyesight remains stable and prescription has changed just slightly."

I've got lots of things to do, lots left on my list, so I'm trying to keep healthy and active and stay busy.

And so far, so good.

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