Saturday, July 5, 2014

At 80, the Past Is Now

Photo "Time & Tide"  by Seriykotik1970.
Most of the time, my blog contains practical information about managing one's own aging process and supporting a parent's aging process.

I also take a more philosophical or literary approach to aging from time to time.

I try to temper myself from going on too many flights of fancy.  Sometimes I fail to remain practical.

Warning: This post is about poetry.

That being said, I find it very powerful to read what seasoned writers have to say from their vantage point.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

My 1st Colonoscopy Screening

Photo by Merfam.
This post is part of a three-part series on my first colonoscopy.  See this post about the risks and this post about the preparation stage

I know these are detailed posts, but some people have anxiety if they don't know what to expect. 

I took good notes so that I could be a tour guide.  

After people turn 50, they are encouraged to get a colonoscopy screening every 10 years.

Because I am in my early 50s, my general practitioner encouraged me to get a colonoscopy. People who have blazed the trail before me have talked about the discomfort and oddity of this procedure.

I am here to report that my experience was not that bad.

Sure, it was a bit unpleasant, and it was all consuming. But I read a great deal before, and I talked with a few friends.  Being prepared made it less of an ordeal for me. Plus I had no complication.  More importantly, the results told me that the screening found no polyps, no diverticulosis and no diverticulitis. Hooray!

The procedure itself only lasted 10-15 minutes, but I was in the surgical center for about 90 minutes before it was my turn. Here are the details from the day of my screening:

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Aches & Pains

Photo by Telstar Logistics.
My husband isn't very mechanical. He prefers to spend his disposable income on books or computer equipment--not on his car.

So when his car starts to rattle, squeak or lurch, what is his solution? Does he take his car to the mechanic?

No. He simply turns up the radio.

Some people take a similar approach when their own bodies start to show signs of "engine" trouble. They don't want to see a doctor because they are afraid it will be bad news leading to extra expenses or even some time admitted into the hospital so that the doctors can really get a good look under the hood and put in some new parts.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Longevity & The Big Five

Photo by Rob Nguyen.
As a gerontologist, I frequently come across questions about what factors correlate with longevity?

Even in the popular press, I run regularly run across interviews of centenarians and supercentenarians who are asked, "What is the secret of living a long life?"

Their answers are varied and often include a claim that a certain food or beverage gives them super aging powers. 

While I am very charmed by interviews, I read evidenced-based research with a little more attention. 

There are a handful of studies that suggest the Big Five Personality Traits influence longevity. 

Thursday, June 12, 2014

The Prep Not the Colonoscopy

Colonoscopy Prep Items 
It's the prep, it's not the colonoscopy.

I've heard that from many people who have had a colonoscopy. And now I know this is true. But I can also tell you, that the prep was only challenging for about two hours.

And because I read various accounts prior, I was ready.  It really wasn't that bad.

[Note: I am not a licensed medical professional. If you are preparing for a colonoscopy, follow your doctor's instructions, which might differ.]

Because I had a colonoscopy scheduled for Monday, June 9th at 9 am, I had instructions to start my prep at noon the day before.

Briefly stated, the prep took place in five stages:

12 noon to 3 pm: Three hours of ingesting of the majority of the prep items with fairly passive emptying of my bowels starting at the end of this stage.

3 pm to 5 pm: Two hours of active emptying of my bowels.

5 pm to 11 pm: Six hours of moderate emptying of my bowels.

11 pm to 5 am: Six hours of sleep.  (No liquids after midnight or until my screening was complete.)

5 am to 10:30 am: Five and a half hours of waiting in the morning (at home and at the surgery center) until my scheduled screening.