For the last few days, I’ve been waking up to the realization that I’m probably going to die of heart problems. Now, being as I’m already 72 — and I recognize that I and everyone else is going to die of something eventually — this isn’t shocking or surprising. Once I finally understood that this heart thing wasn’t an attack or a disease, but a genetic problem, a lot of things made more sense.

Lego set to get kids ready for that final play date. Seriously, no kidding. You’ll probably have to buy it on Amazon and have it delivered.

The cardiologist was very good about explaining the nature of the problem and how in families that have it, one out of every two children will have the condition. That was when I realized the surgery I’d had was not a cure but a temporary fix.

It was (is) an interim solution, although I’m beginning to think that life is an interim solution to eternity.

Dress code suggestions

How temporary? No one knows. At my age, everything — even my heart — grows slowly. It might take 20 years, by which time I could have been run down by a crazed FedEx driver or been done in by something else. Or it could be next year.

What I was told is that “So far, your heart is still pumping a reasonable amount of blood and you have an adequate number of red blood cells where they need to be. But the heart is growing. Again.” The implication was they will not repeat the surgery. The heart could last — even overgrown and thickened — decades, but the surgery might easily kill me. Or, as that old joke goes: “The surgery was a success, but the patient died.”

The Last Session

So I’m not going through an “Oh I’m going to die” crisis. More like doing a mental calculation about how long I’ve reasonably got. A few years? A decade? Two decades? More? No one has a measurement, so in the end, I’m still dealing with the same thing I was dealing with before: something will kill me. Probably my heart but give me a little time and who knows what else could pop up?

I don’t think you could get this many people out for my memorial unless the food was really great

Given my family history, I figure cancer or heart. Both run on both sides of the family, but aside from my mother, most people on both sides also manage to live a pretty long life, DNA notwithstanding.

It was at that moment that the phone rang. It nearly jarred me right out of bed. I swear it’s louder sometimes than others and this was a really loud morning.

I’m not kidding. It was the “Death Insurance” saleswoman. Alive, not recorded.

“How are you?” she said.

“Fine,” I rasped.

“As you probably know,” she began, “the price of funeral arrangements is exorbitant. So, we are selling … ”

“No!” I choked and hung up. Gee WHIZ!

My people

Seriously. Did I need that particular call as my first call of the week? It’s bad enough to get all this crap on television.

Please see Tom Curley’s ONLY OLD PEOPLE WATCH CABLE NEWS for more details on special advertising for the aging.

Couldn’t they at least have waited until after lunch?

Categories: #FOWC, Daily Prompt, Death and Dying, Fandango's One Word Challenge, Health, Marilyn Armstrong, Medical humor, Photography, Tom Curley, Words

Tags: , , , , , , ,

25 replies

  1. Are they still offering direct cremation, or is there a new cheaper alternative way to go? I don’t have any black, so I hope my good white shirt will do. I wore it to my Dad’s funeral and they didn’t kick me out for not being properly dressed…


  2. That was humerous! And such a serious topic. Aging and health. And, well, death. You are a prolific blogger. I don’t get to WP every day. When I checked in this morning, I thought, how does Marilyn do it? I’m happy to get out one post a week these days.


  3. Most of my relatives died from heart problems, pneumonia or dementia around age eighty. I am seventy seven. So I think about it a lot. Both parents had dementia but died with pneumonia in their early nineties before they got to the last stages. Who knows what will happen. My parents had heart disease for almost twenty years. They would feel weak but kept going. Not fun to have watched their brains also slip away until the lungs gave out.


  4. What a rotten way to be jolted out of sleep. We all know we’re going to die and as we get older I guess we do think about it more. I know I do since David died because he was only 60 and while I didn’t think he’d live to 80 plus I didn’t expect to lose him at that age. I don’t think it’s morbid to consider what I’d like to happen to me when I die. I would kind of like to have it arranged so it’s less stress for Naomi or whoever has to deal with it. I have spent time reading about alternatives to traditional funerals like natural burials, having a tree planted with your ashes embedded and similar ideas. I spend less time thinking about what illness might carry me off because frankly, I’d rather just fall down dead than end up in a hospital or nursing home.


  5. When I watch the Perry Mason reruns at night we get life insurance or rather death insurance (Alex Trebek) ads, and someone in a hospital assuring her children they are protected. Auto insurance (Lerner and Rowe) because we all cause accidents. Reverse mortgage (Tom Sellick) so you can die in your own home while using up the value so your heirs get less (or nothing). Various “Final Expense” policies. I am not too concerned about that but perhaps John should be, if we keep intermingling things.


  6. You’re not allowed to go anywhere. Besides, you need to come over here first so I can give you some castle tours! 🙂
    I genuinely can’t believe that Lego cremation oven! What are they thinking? I know what you mean about those awful calls – especially dragging you out of bed to be bothered first thing in the morning! We have really awfully-acted adverts on TV for funeral care plans, always on during the daytime, and they drive me round the twist. Stuart saw one in which a woman was saying how expensive funerals are now, so when her husband died she decided to… At that point he cut her off and said “she decided to buy a spade, bury him in the garden and go on the cruise with the rest of the money.” That’s what he’s told me to do if he goes first. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I didn’t know whether to cry or laugh at that one, although I always did have a so-called black humour and I just loved that Lego piece of equipment, probably under the section “toys for golden oldies”.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I’ve watched a variety of mourning events in the past week. I’ll see another today (for a pet). At one the fellow was cremated – well nobody expects to drop dead at 57, even if they are morbidly fascinated with death and all things thus related. That family was NOT prepared for even the $2000 to cremate the guy, a church had to step in and provide the money. The other was a full on funeral with casket (nice one too), flowers, speakers and hymns and mourners O my. The cremated guy had more attend his memorial service than the buried guy did his funeral. It’s not the money nor the trappings (IMHO) but the respect and honoring of the dead person that counts. Myself? I wore a tasteful grey pantsuit to hubby’s memorial service, I wore a blue dress to the more recently cremated fellow’s service, and I wore black to the funeral. At both hubby’s and the recently cremated guy services there were all sorts of manner of dress including some people in jeans. At the funeral there were all mourning clothes, lots of black and navy, although one woman came into that chapel in a shirt/dress thing so short her butt was hanging out. I don’t know who she was, but I found THAT highly disrespectful. And yeah, maybe it’s all she had to wear in black, but geezus. I’d have worn jeans if that were the alternative because showing your ass at someone’s funeral is just bad form. In my opinion.

    Me? I have a plot near my parents (the last plot in my grandfather’s big plot) and I have burial insurance. Whether or not it’ll be enough (it’s for $30,000…it damned well better be enough) is to be seen. I want a biodegradable ‘coffin’ (made of biodegradable pulp stuff) and I want two hymns sung. What else happens is up to whomever is left at the end of the day to see to me. If there’s nobody (and I pray daily that isn’t the case, I should die before both of my siblings if God is just), then things will just have to happen. Maybe it won’t matter.


  9. Marilyn, most of us will die of heart problems of some sort – and we are the lucky ones because there are far worse ways to go. As for death insurance it is such a racket. if you don’t go for cremation it will cost much more because they will have to embalm you. That also requires a casket and all sorts of other expenditures. I’ve seen people spend $25,000.00 plus that they could ill afford on a funeral. If Peter goes first, and that is most likely because he is much older than me, I will have him cremated. The ashes will go into an old wine box that we shared during the French bicentennial in 1989. It was a Magnum and an excellent bottle of wine. I’ll put him in our closet until I go. Then our children will have me cremated and put in the box with Peter. Quite awhile ago we purchased four grave plots where my grandparents rest and that will be big enough for at least 12 of us if cremated. A few prayers at the site and we will be off to the wild blue yonder. That can be done for roughly $2,000. The biggest expensive will be the cremation. Good to get these decisions made now in accordance to our wishes.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I say let those who survive me arrange for my funeral. Otherwise just burn me and scatter my ashes to the wind.

    Liked by 1 person

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