Fear of the Unknown

After 45 years of relatively good health, I have just had what I perhaps could call a ‘health scare’. It is interesting for me in a way to consider things in the light of getting older, as many of the people I want my research to have an impact for will have been through far worse than me. Actually, things seem to be OK for now, but the waiting for results is a real conditioner. Simply knowing something is not quite right and doing too much ‘Googling’ is perhaps not a good combination.

A doctor actually phoned me with the results – this must be something they do these days, to save time and money. I had assumed that, because it was a planned phone call, then nothing was greatly wrong, as I was sure any bad news imparting would have been better done face to face. In the end, a little retest is necessary for one aspect, but I’m generally clear on all other tests. I felt a little like I do when my old bike or car pass an MOT – relieved it was not more complicated. I perhaps have the equivalent of simply requiring a retest to pass my MOT emissions test. Unlike with a car though, where I’d normally pop into Halfords for a bulb, I cannot do anything – just simply get a retest to see if further action is required.

Indeed, I have not really been near the doctor for years. I tend to just grin and bear it and suffer my bouts of ‘man flu’ with courage and stoicism. As most adults in middle age has to do, I have to watch my weight and my diet, so I do the usual like trying to stay active and don’t go overboard. I consume very little alcohol and meat these days and try to have plenty of veg and fruit. I’m always doing things and wonder where the time goes from each day.

Despite all this, I still worry about getting older. The kind of worry, however, is tempered by the knowledge I have gathered from the people I have known through the years. I am privileged to count many older adults amongst my friends and acquaintances and have learned a great deal from them. I have nothing to complain about, plenty of them have or have had various health issues and the majority still lead full and active lives. Valves, widgets, organs and limbs have been renewed, and with it, after periods of recovery, a strengthening of resolve and spirit. Many have an attitude to life that is positive and progressive, and little things like waiting for results have become a common thing. Even after quite serious surgery, I have know some people simply get themselves right again and perhaps approach things with even more vigour.

I mentioned MOTs before, and I sometimes comment to others that we lavish more attention on our vehicles than we do our own bodies. Cosmetic procedures aside, it is amazing how many things can be diagnosed, treated and even replaced. In time, I am sure, much of our physical body will be able to be replaced – just seeing the achievements of amputees and transplant patients indicates we are in an exciting era. The physical side is the easy bit – with sentient beings such as ourselves, how we feel inside is equally, if not, more important.

I don’t expect I shall be seeing the doctor (with luck) anytime soon after this little hicough. I hope this sentiment isn’t going to come back and haunt me. But, convinced as I am that well-being and health are about more than just the physical, I shall continue to follow the fine example of those who make my aches and pains simply melt into total insignificance and get on with life.