Sunday, January 02, 2011

An Old Man's Fear

And yet another year is gone.  Welcome 2011,  another year closer to the QUESTION. 

Each year, as I get older, I note with some alacrity how fast the years speed by.  All of a sudden here I am 69 years old, my youth but a distant memory of the past, and my main goal in the future is to stay out of a nursing home.  I have to face reality that I am no longer a young man, full of vim and vigor ready to take on the world.  I don't like to drive at night.  I like a warm and comfortable home.  I don't like change.  I don't know the who most of the people are in People Magazine.  All sure signs of OLD MAN.  

Another year and I am staving off the inevitable march to the Old Folks Home where I would probably spend my days propped up in a chair in the nursing home day room (with the TV blaring and no one watching it) with my fellow drug induced old folk.

Oh I know all to well what happens when you live too long and are put out to pasture, so to speak.  Sometimes the family has no choice.  My dear Aunt Jeanette (my Mother's older sister) has been in a nursing home for the past seven years.  My aunt has dementia and lives in a special unit for dementia patients.  She is well taken care of.  If there is a saving grace for dementia, it is that my aunt doesn't know where she is.  But is that a life that I want for myself?  Been there, seen that, no way.  

My brothers and I promised our Mom we wouldn't put her in a nursing home like her sisters.  Thank goodness we were able to keep that promise.  The last year of Mom's life she was slipping into dementia like both of her older sisters.  Mom had another older sister who developed dementia shortly before she was placed in a nursing home.  That sister only lasted a few months in the nursing home before she died.

So this is my worry this new year as I take another step into Old Age.  To be quite frank about it, I never expected to live this long.  I was sure I would be dead and gone by 60.  I almost checked out when I was 17 years old when I had a botched surgery and developed a staph infection.  But I survived that brush with mortality and have lived another 52 years old to cause havoc (and hopefully cause some happiness) with family, friends and strangers.  I would like to live at least another 10 or 15 years of still stirring up a ruckus wherever I happen to plant my feet.  One thing I can say about my life, wherever I am, people know it.  I do not go quietly into that good night.  

Some friends of mine have taken out insurance policies for Long Term Care, which I supposes means that the policy will pay for their stay in a nursing home.  Others have a policy for at home care.  I have no such insurance policies.  The only "policy" I have is Significant Other.  But Significant Other is 82 years old.  Oh he's doing fine but the odds are that I'll out live him and then where am I?  I'll be by myself, that's where I'll be.  Oh, I can live with myself quite easily.  I'm the best company I have.  In fact that is Significant Other's main complaint about me and our relationship, that I don't have time for him.  I plead guilty, I am a Solitary Man. But I do love him and we have had a very compatible, synergistic relationship for the past 46 years.  I often kid him and threaten to check out before he does.  He doesn't think this is funny.  I do.  

I try not to get myself all twisted up in knots worrying about this developing situation of what will happen to me if I live to be 80 or 90 years old.  If Significant Other predeceases me I plan to get a cat or two (he hates cats) to keep my company and provide me with love and adoration in my senior years.  But cats won't be able to shovel the driveway or take me to my doctor's appointments (which are occurring with increasing frequency the older I get).  And I certainly don't plan on replacing Significant Other.  I'm way too set in my ways to go through training another Significant other to tend to my wants and needs.  Besides, who would subject themselves to that fate?  I have to be realistic here.  I cannot live with anyone nor could anyone put up with me.  God knows I am difficult.

So what's to be done?  My answer is I DON'T KNOW.  I have four nieces and one nephew.  While I respect and care a great deal for them, they have their own families and I would never dream of putting the burden of taking care of Uncle Ronnie to them.  Besides, I cannot imagine any of them taking care of me.  Then there are the grand-nephews and grand-nieces.  I hardly know them and again, I cannot imagine any of them taking care of me.  I mean no disrespect to any of them but I really wouldn't want any of them to take care of me.  

I remember something my cousin Jackie (my Mom's oldest sister's son) said to me last year.  We were discussing this very subject and he told me that he didn't want any of his children or grandchildren taking care of him either in old age.  He said he would rather be remembered as "Big Daddy" than as a slobbering, helpless old man, mouth agape,  who needed his diaper changed.  He said he didn't want to "go out" that way.  I agree with him.  Jackie (older than I am by two years) always did know best.

So here I am another year old and another year closer to the Final Exit.  I'm trying not to worry my increasingly gray haired head over my eventual fate as I fearlessly enter 2011.  

Perhaps I'll be lucky and go like the comedian James Coco.  After a large Thanksgiving meal he told his wife that he was going to lie down on the couch for a short nap.  As it turned out he took a LONG nap.  He never woke up.  

Now that's the way to go.  


  1. You do believe in Fate so don't worry of tomorrow. Be happy!

  2. Nursing homes are not a fun thing to think about. Though some are actually quite nice...more hihg-end assisted living facilities.

    My Mom is 74. I worry about her.

  3. What's this all about? Did I misread something? Are you 69 or 99?

  4. I'm only 50 but I worry about the same things sometimes. I'm older than my spouse, but, I think that I will outlive him somehow as well. I don't have any answers for you, Hon. We must take it one day at a time, I suppose... ((HUGS))

  5. Ron,

    You aren't all that old yet. Man, you are younger than I. And who knows, you may get along for quite awhile in pretty good shape, like my parents. True, my dad isn't allowed to drive anymore and they both have to walk with the aid of a cane, but otherwise they are perking along. They get out regularly, even seem to go out to eat as much or more than Lo and I.

    What you don't want to do is worry yourself into the home.


  6. I don't know about insurance policies for Long Term Care - I'm considering an insurance policy to pay for a hit man that will take me out quickly and painlessly at the first real sign of dementia...

  7. Kim,
    That sounds like an option! Personally, I'm saving all my extra meds. That's what a lot of us older gay guys do here. "Save 'em up for The Day"

  8. Hanuman,

    That is exactly what I do, take one day at a time. I know of two gay guys quite a bit older than I am (yes, their are gay guys down here OLDER than me, thank you) who live on their own and do quite well. As a matter of fact my former boss's father is 93 years old and lives by himself. Still, I can't help but think about the future and try and be prepared.

  9. Lar,
    I don't lay awake at night worrying but I do think about it occasionally. Tony Ursini, my former barber is the same age as your Mom and he's still cutting hair! You remember Tony don't you? He was cutting my hair when I was 10 years old. And, I think Miss Ezrah is still alive and doing well. I believe she is 103 years old now.

  10. You're funny Cubby! No, I'm "only" 69. I don't feel it though. In my mind I feel like I'm 37 years old. I guess this was too much of a downer post. More upbeat posts to follow!

  11. Rick,
    The people I see in nursing homes are really old. I would hope that I have quite a ways to go yet before I reach that point but I am so anal, I have to plan everything. This is one thing I don't want to plan, going into some kind of facility. I couldn't wait to leave home and be on my own. I don't want to close out my life dependent on anyone. It's something I think about from time to time. Your Mom at 74 is still relatively young. Is she healthy?

  12. Your post made me sad; I hope you have many years and each one quality and with meaning.

  13. First of all, wow, you have been with Significant Other for 46 years! What an accomplishment.

    Second, I enjoyed this post very much. I appreciate your candor, but I gather you have a long time left. My dad is only three years older than you, but you seem 20 years younger.

    Thank you for reading The Jason Show and for commenting as well.

    I'll be back to read more!

  14. Anonymous12:24 AM

    What wonderfully honest musings of what it feels like to age! I have happily found your blog while searching the WWW for info. on "old railroad tracks" in Delaware for the purpose of locating a picture I'd snapped this August with my cellphone, of an interesting abandoned house.It was done while driving to a repass after the funeral of my beloved aunt whom I hadn't seen in years. She begged me to come and see her and I sadly never did until she was in her coffin. Her name was Eileen McCarthy and she'd retired to Rehoboth Beach DE. over a decade ago. Instead I drove 5+ hrs. to DE. from the N.Y. area for the first time to say goodbye to her. A HARD lesson learned. I charge all the people who love you Ron, to visit you as often as they can, and make you so busy with their nearness and love you'll have no time to worry how you'll pass. You are now a small part of my life as I follow my first fabulous blog. A happy new year to you and yours, and may James Coco come for you no sooner than your 100th birthday as you take a nap in excellent health. SIGNED - 50 year old single mom of three amazing boys in CT. PS - GREAT music!

  15. Oh I am happy Tai. I didn't mean to sound so negative in this posting. I believe I'll end up in a good place..:)

  16. Spo,
    I'm afraid my post about my concern where I will end up when I'm old came off as much too negative. I do think about what will happen to me when I'm really old but I'm not sad about it. However, it is a concern of mine. Thank you for wish for me to have many years and each one with quality and meaning. That is my goal. A quality life to me is knowing good folk like you Spo. I wish you same long life of quality and meaning.

  17. To the Mom of three in Connecticut who left a heartfelt comment on this posting.....thank you. I blog from my heart. It is nice to receive positive feedback. My best to you and your family for the new year.

  18. Jason,

    Thank you very much for your kind comments. Yes, Significant Other and I have been together a long time. My life was only half before I met him. Now I am whole. I am concerned about going back to half again, to be honest with you. And you're right, I don't feel 69. I remember when I was 21 and my first experience was with a man 29 years old. I thought he was SO OLD. Can you imagine? Age puts a different perspective on things.
    My best to you Jason for the new year!

  19. You seem SO much younger. I had to re read the sentence with your age 3 times... I pray that you will find peace with the whole ordeal of aging. I worry about my parents as I am growing older. They are 60 and 64 now. I really can't imagine life without them.

    I am so glad I saw a comment you left tonight at a page and I came to visit. So glad.

  20. Kaishon,

    Guess what, I feel SO much younger! In my mind I think of myself as a 37 year old. The years just fly by and here I am 69 already. I am lucky that I have inherited good genes. Both my father and my mother didn't look their age until a few years before they died at 80 and 86 respectively.

    Even though I don't feel old or think that way I do have to face the fact that time is running out and I have so much to do.


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