After writing my last article, “Life is an Interesting Journey”, I received an interesting comment from my friend John Booker. “Clyde, I admire you for your attitude on your health problems”. For those who don’t know John Booker, I hope he will someday let me write some stories about his 94 year trip through life. It would be a best-selling book. John has been one of my inspirations during the climbing of my own mountain. He has inspired me again and if you wonder how your trip compares or what to expect is coming hang on to your seatbelt.
Have you ever wondered why some old people seem to just disappear when they get old? Until earlier this year I never really considered myself being “old”. In fact my mother lived to be 94 and except for her last couple of months she never even seemed “old”. It amuses me that when some folks discover I just celebrated my 85th birthday, they have different reactions. The one reaction that younger people have is, “you don’t look a day over 65 or 75”? A few of them have not looked in a mirror recently and most are just being kind.
Some of the things you will read were originally intended to be shared as another chapter of my life with just my family. I have already chronicled the details of my work and personal life with my family that included my personal goals, achievement’s and other major events, good and bad, for my future heirs to understand and hopefully be successful.
Now I have decided to share my perception, facts, highlights and expectations of what to expect nearing the end of the aging process with anyone who has an interest. I am sitting at my PC and my right knee throbbing with arthritis after 18 holes of par three golf this morning with five of my friends who ranged in age from 51-89. I will begin what may be a multi-chapter autobiography of pain, happiness, success, failure or boredom, who knows? Are you ready?
To set the stage, how many people do you know who have matched some of my highlights so far, in their trip climbing their mountain?
A. Had every childhood disease known except polio and had the chicken pox and measles at the same time.
B. Graduated from high school at 16.
C. Served 2 years in the US Navy, married and became a father before I was 20?
D. Entered Management at 24, passed the Registered Professional Engineer exam, received a Master Degree and became a member of Mensa and Intertel in my late 40’s without any undergraduate education.
E. Between the ages of 45 and 75 I lost half of my stomach because of ulcers, had a gall bladder that nearly ruptured, suffered shellfish poisoning, diverticulosis, high blood pressure, gout along with the arthritis in both shoulders and my right knee.
F. Visited and/or worked in 32 countries and 49 states; flew over three million miles of air travel; worked 32 years for Lockheed and Halliburton; started 9 businesses in 3 different countries and retired at 63 years old.
G. Married to my second wife and partner Norma for 55 years; fathered seven children and currently have 45 heirs including spouses ranging from 2 months to 66 years old.
Now let me begin explaining life as it happens after you know you have started the decent down the other side of life’s mountain.
Fasten your seatbelt again.
Earlier this year I started having a tingling sensation in both feet after having cold feet ever since I suffered the shellfish incident some ten years ago. This summer, while on vacation with some 32 of my family and friends I had a saliva gland stop up and get infected and appeared to have been cold cocked in my left jaw. One of my family posted a picture of this on Facebook with me at a Margarita machine that looked like I had a mouth full. Gout stopped my drinking life at 60, a long time ago.
Shortly after getting the infection medicated I lost my balance, fell, tore a muscle loose in my left thigh and arm and put a knot on my head. Norma said, “The cedar post my head encountered had more damage than my head”, indicating that I am hard headed. If you know me you know it’s all true. The torn muscle in my leg is and likely will always be tender as it will never heal. The tingling sensation in my feet had now reached my knees by the end of every day.
About a week later I fell again and tore another muscle in my left ankle, scraped the hide off of both lower legs and sluffed it off as being clumsy. Then driving home one day I had a light headed sensation and when I shared all of this with my doctor, Chad Moody, he decided I needed to see a cardiologists again. This happens about every 10 years and after another series of test they again found that I do have a heart and it is working like it is supposed to.
While visiting the cardiologists he noticed a twitch in my left index finger while resting my hands on my knees. He had me stand with my feet together and close my eyes and then stopped me from falling. His prognosis was I was in the early stages of Parkinson’s disease and immediately scheduled me with a Neurologist.
Well, after the Neurologists examined me, I was advised I am suffering from Neuropathy. I have read everything possible and there is no cure. I have never given up hope in my life and I will see this doctor again tomorrow to find out what to expect as my journey down the mountain progresses. If you care, I will continue to share my experience. I will tee off again in the morning with my friends before my 3pm appointment in Nacogdoches. C Brewer