I will get to Sitting in a moment but first:
Answers to Two Questions About Medical Aid in Dying Drugs
On Friday's post, there were two more questions about these drugs in the comments:
Do your death drugs have an expiration date as so many of our compounds seem to have, and if so, and you don't use them before their expiration date, can you get a refill? I hope this doesn't sound crass.
Not crass at all, dkzody. Yes. The expiration date is one year. I hadn't thought to ask, if I live that long, about a refill. Just out of curiosity, I will do that. If I do need a new batch, I would expect to pay full price again as it was a straightforward commercial transaction between me, the customer, and the pharmacy.
From Martha K. Backer:
As I'm listening to you and Alex, I found your 8/12/19 Man Plans and God Laughs as part two today, you had said the cost is between $3,000 and $4,000 and doubted if Medicare Part D pays, a privilege to those with the funds.
I was operating on old information when I wrote that post a year ago, Martha, relying on what I had been told in 2017 or 2018. Since then, the drugs used have been changed as has the price. I paid $600 plus a delivery fee for the drugs this month and no, Medicare does not cover them.
If It Fitz, I Sitz
This meme, always written in that peculiar spelling, is a long-time feature of the internet and it still makes me laugh. It is such a cat thing to squeeze into the smallest available container to snooze. Why do they do that?
You don't need to answer. I mention it only because it is the image that first came to mind when I was considering the time I spend sitting these days - although not in seats too small for me.
Recently, I became a bit alarmed when I realized that I sit nearly every waking moment. At the start my day, after I've attended to morning ablutions, I fire up the computer, read the news and answer some email while sitting at my desk.
That can last for up to a couple of hours as I fuel myself with coffee for a long day of sitting.
After that, I'm on my feet for a short awhile to shower, dress and go through some light (sitting again) exercises. Then I'm upright again to make breakfast and, after sitting to eat, wash up the dishes. But soon I'm back to the computer (in a chair, of course) and then I move to another chair for a session with the nebulizer before I'm back at the desk for blog and other kinds of work (or play) involving the internet.
Throughout the day, I sit for meals and I sit to read or talk on the telephone or watch a movie in the evening. In between, I take a pass at dusting and other light housekeeping chores but it is easy to overdo (gasp!) by moving around to fast and I am finally convinced that I need help so will soon hire a regular cleaning service.
My major health difficulty is not cancer, the only symptom of which is (so far) is pain that is being well controlled with over-the-counter medications on a schedule set by my hospice nurse.
The hard part, and it is a big one, is living with advanced COPD. I have good days and bad ones but either way, walking anywhere much farther than the next room can leave me heaving for breath if I'm not careful. And I am not careful a lot of the time, forgetting that I have a serious lung disease and walking too fast.
Taking out the trash, a trip to the mail box or the one flight of stairs to visit a neighbor are undertakings akin to a 10-mile hike. I move through these “journeys” v-e-r-y slowly as I do the supermarket every 10 days or so.
The excellent nurses at pulmonary rehab last year taught me about preparing myself both mentally and physically while planning expenditures of energy – which is just about anything I do except sit. They gave me an entire binder full of tricks and tips on managing COPD.
Even so, I often forget. After all, for 75 years I led a remarkably healthy life mostly on bodily autopilot. When I said go, my body went, so it makes sense that I now stall sometimes due to over-confidence.
Which is not to say that it doesn't annoy the hell out of me. It's not for nothing that I still miss the pace of New York City.
Sometimes when I overdo (which to a healthy person can look like an extremely lowl level of exertion), it can take four or five minutes of heaving for air, even with the rescue inhaler, to be right again. When that happens it goes beyond annoyance to fear even though I always survive those bouts of breathlessness.
As I ruminate on this, I realize how lucky I have been that nothing serious happened to my health until these late years. It is frequently said that the common maladies of age – cancer, stroke, diabetes, heart disease, etc. - begin to appear in large numbers among people during their 60s.
So, compared to a lot of others, I come to this physical extremity later in life, just lucky to have had so many years free of health issues.
For the 20-odd years or so that I've been studying ageing – while watching myself age from my mid-fifties to now – I have never wished to be younger than I am. There is no pride to be taken from that, only that I have been my own best guinea pig in tracking changes through the years.
So it is for the first time now that I occasionally long for my younger, healthier body that existed not all that long ago: when I could walk to the trash bins and mail box without pacing myself. Shove the vacuum cleaner around the house without needing to stop for breath every few feet. Carry ALL the groceries in from the car in one trip instead of three, short, slow ones.
The thing is, COPD never gets better so unless I want to be annoyed to death - ahem, I need to take a cue from the cats: I sitz.