Old Age Just Isn’t Any Fun

I don’t want to write this blog, I really don’t. I’m afraid I’ll sound like a whiner and complainer, which I’m not. All I’m doing is just reporting what has recently happened to me.

An unhappy me in my hospital “gown”

Starting in early February and going through early May, I have been hospitalized three times, each stay was for over a week, and it’s not yet clear that the original problem has been completely solved, or that the follow-on problems that were discovered along the way have been fixed.

Numerous bouts of Sepsis over the last ten or eleven years have taught me that a little patience and massive amounts of intravenous antibiotics fed through a PICC line would bring life back to normal. But that was before I turned 80 . . . or had a stroke.

So, when the big, scabby thing on the outside of my right ankle was diagnosed as a cellulitis, the root cause of almost all sepsis infections, I didn’t worry . . . but I should have when my doctor added, “My, that’s really ulcerated,” and sent me to the hospital.

The doctor put in charge of my care was a podiatrist who was clearly out of his depth, but the hospitalist on my case listened to me when I related my experiences and called in an infectious disease doctor. They agreed that the open sore should be treated at the wound care center when I was discharged, which sounded reasonable enough.

Reasonable, but totally inadequate when you consider that the head wound care doc, said podiatrist, was going on vacation for three weeks in the midst of all this, leaving the open sore on my ankle to the care of random visiting nurses. The predictable result was infection of the entire lower leg . . . so, I went back to the hospital.

This time I sent the podiatrist packing as I had found out that the head of the Infectious Disease department, who had taken care of me many times before, had returned from an extended vacation, had heard about my most recent predicament, and was ready to get to work.

Portable oxygen concentrator

I was there for about a week during which kidney problems appeared. Turns out the kidneys had become too dry, a side effect of using diuretics to keep my lungs dry, the best treatment for congestive heart failure. So, I was sent to the hospital’s infusion center, where they loaded me up with one liter of saline solution to make the kidneys wet.

I don’t know who authorized the orders but there had clearly been a mistake which manifested itself in a massive congestive heart failure attack the next day. So, I was back in the hospital yet again!

This time, in addition to intravenous antibiotics, the heart failure made it impossible for my system to pull enough oxygen out of the air, so now I have to go around with one of those things, called cannula, stuck in my nose.

There is the problem of the 25-foot hose that delivers oxygen to my nose, but I have partially solved the problem by buying a battery-powered unit that fits nicely in my rollator.

Then there is the problem of antibiotic-induced diarrhea, but I won’t go into that . . . too messy . . .

The 25-foot oxygen hose

The doctors aren’t at fault here. When the patient is 80 years old, has had a stroke, has congestive heart failure, atrial fibrillation, hypertension, decreased kidney function, poly-neuropathy, not to mention the as-yet undetected maladies of the body, anything goes . . . or doesn’t.

Why? The cure for any malady can be a curse for another, making one or the other, and perhaps a third incurable. Which means some things you’ve just got to live with.

Oh well, it beats the alternative!


7 thoughts on “Old Age Just Isn’t Any Fun

  1. HOLY SHIT, BATMAN!!! I’ll put you back in my prayers, and hope you get things sorted out. Hugs and kisses my friend.

  2. Hey, Captain Fantastic, glad to hear you are on the mend. I have CHF, hypertension, very high cholesterol, bladder issues, hyperthyroidism, joints that need replacing to match the left side, etc. etc…………80 is an intensive health time. So far, I am mobile and can still “do” the housework and yard albeit very slowly. John, I admire your spunk, my love. I am so very grateful for the program! Truly, its my life’s blood. You do look good and on the mend. I don’t do big things or travel, but I try to keep up. I have a super small circle of friends (all women) and we keep each other supported in more ways than one. I know you have Nancy, but do you have friends you get together with for like…cards? It really makes me feel normal. You are always in my prayers and I love hearing about your latest exploits. You do keep busy!
    Please keep me in your loop. I love you, Cuz. xxoo Mareli

  3. Oh Cuz, a neat remedy for the runs is PUMPKIN! It works for pets and humans. We almost lost a dear friend after a botched open heart surgery. His wife made pumpkin pie which tasted like the best medicine in the world, and it worked for him. Our bodies are amazing and they support us our whole time on earth!

  4. John,
    Good to see you blogging again! First off, you don’t ever come off as a complainer! Quite the contrary, you are keeping it real and your writing comes across as being of relatively good cheer.

    You are taking a lot of curve balls and making the best of it in my opinion.

    Thank God your brain is at 110% … always on point and fiesty!

  5. Damn, sir! That’s a lot to deal with. My best wishes that things get better for you soon.

  6. My wish is for you to be healed.
    Don’t lose your sense for humor no matter what.
    I believe in prayer and that’s what I’m doing always for you.
    Happy trails and a complete recovery.


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