Fandango’s Provocative Question #181

I’ve always hated how people throw the “How are ya’?” line at you, even when they have absolutely no interest in your answer. I get that it’s just an American version of “Hello,” but its still annoying.

So today’s question is really asking the question:

How are you doing? Seriously, are you okay? Feeling good? Just okay? Not so great? Why do you think you’re feeling the way you are?

All things considered, we’re both doing alright — all things considered. Are we feeling our age? Yup. I’m 75 and Garry’s 80. There’s no avoiding the obvious weight of the years, but for our ages, we’re doing reasonably well and are content. We’re slowing down and I don’t expect we’re going to get more lively with time. We are doing better than I imagined either of us would do considering my long siege of ill health and at this point, we have fewer than expected major issues. Especially me. We’ve both got lots of small problems. Allergies, intolerance to foods that we used to love but can’t eat anymore, and an unwillingness to do long drives.

I’ve had cancer (twice), major heart surgery, and stomach removal due to ulcers (twice) — and of course, a spinal fusion surgery when I was just 19 — oh, and a pin in my right leg when I was 14. And yet here I am. Limping along. I’m not sure how that happened, either.

The odds didn’t favor my getting as old as I am. Garry comes from a long-lived family, so his years were more expected. He has no major health issue (that we know about) other than being 80, some arthritis, a bum shoulder (Tommy Johns surgery didn’t “hold”) and wishing he were younger. Mind you, he can still do and does 200 situps a day. I’ve never been able to do a dozen, so I think he’s better than he thinks.

Garry’s big issue was and remains his hearing. Even with a cochlear implant, he doesn’t hear well, but he struggles along. In the spring, he should be able to get new aids which will hopefully improve his hearing.

I’m tired a lot of the time. I don’t sleep well. Part of it is the endless pain in my back and that my hands and feet fall asleep even when the rest of me doesn’t. New medication has improved the pain level by a huge amount but doesn’t seem to be able to keep my hands and feet from doing their own thing.

Otherwise, for no known reason, the Duke has gone into full zoom mode. He decided last night was race night. All around the house and out into the yard, jump on the bed, bark, jump off the bed and race out the doggy door, bark, race back inside and upstairs to our bed. Where he pokes his cold, wet nose in my face and barks (just once) — I assume to say “Hi, wanna get up and play?” It was three in the morning, so the answer was a flat “NO!”

Is it the new vitamins? The broccoli? The food? I cook it myself, so is it making him zoom? Too much protein or just one healthy 6-year old pup? So, the Duke is 100% fine, thank you and has all the energy (maybe twice as much) as Garry and I.

I’m also tired because I read late into the night, which is often the only time I can read. If the book is good, I get involved and forget to stop reading and suddenly, it’s morning. This is a bad habit from childhood, but I’m not a kid and I should make more of an effort to sleep. I’m also tired because my heart has “issues” and my spine is full of arthritis. Garry’s tired because he worked for a long, long time and he’s 80. He looks GREAT, mind you. Appearances, he points out, can be deceiving.

And then, there’s the Duke.

If I don’t think about politics, the state of the planet, climate change and whether or not I’ll be able to keep buying the medications I need (there are a lot of them), I can avoid becoming frantic. The news is unrewarding but I feel obliged to at least keep in touch with the reality in which I live. I can’t do much about it, but whatever I can do, I still make the effort.

Why? Because it really IS the right thing to do.

Categories: #FPQ, #Health, #Photography, Humor, Provocative Questions

Tags: , , , , ,

17 replies

  1. Marilyn, you both look great and I’m so happy you’ve lived to have this blog. I’m truly sorry for the aches, pains, and struggles.
    I hear, “How are you?” at LEAST 10 times a week. I respond, “Other than cancer I’m great (and that’s not true as I STILL suffer from degenerative disc disease, anemia, spinal stenosis, and sometimes, a negative attitude, lol). Typically I’ll hear, “You look great!” (oy vey is all I can say). My mom is 76 and Dad is 80. Dad did sit-ups every night for at least his first 74 years. He’s since had cancer twice (resulting in the Whipple procedure), two brain aneurysms, congestive heart failure (he relies fully on pacemaker), and now, losing his sight to macular degeneration that is impossible to repair. Mom is losing her memory and has a bad hip. When we get together we all share about our blessings lest we go into conversations about things in which we can’t control. I have a disabled sister with a disabled daughter that my parents have raised. I was supposed to be the one to be taking care of them. I digress in this response because the simple, “How are you?” is never really simple. My mom and I just had this discussion a few days ago. The news? I watch it, cringe, and quickly turn it off. I feel it’s my duty to stay informed. It’s unreal to me; saddening and maddening both at times (my parents and I have had many Trump vent sessions and my Dad tends to ruminate on the ruin at times; he’s just so angry at him and I get it!). I truly do watch feel good movies, stay devoted to the truths I know, and try to get outside! I want to keep my joy as I know this world here is definitely temporary. Instead of asking, “How are you?” I’ll say, “I hope and pray you’re well.” If you’re not know you have prayers and thoughts coming your way from this Missouri gal! I’ve enjoyed meeting you both!


    • That casual “How are you” annoys me enough to keep me away from places where I’m likely to hear it often. We are your parent’s age — 75 & 80 — and all things considered, we’re FINE. I’ve had cancer twice, lost my stomach twice (ulcers, big time), and my entire spine (which was fused when I was 19) is entirely calcified. My breasts are fake because the real ones tried to kill me AND I’ve got two replacement valves, a bypass, and a pacemaker (needs new battery in four years, oh yay). Sometimes, I just get CRANKY, you know?

      I’m pretty sure that people who say “how are you” want you to put a big smile on your face and say: “I’M JUST FINE!!” and then, they can walk away feeling like they’ve done something good.

      Keep the faith. There’s not much else you can do. Not much any of us can do. I’m glad I’m still alive because the odds were not on my side. I have been lucky and had really good medical care when I most needed it. It has kept me alive. Not everyone was so lucky.

      Liked by 1 person

      • You nailed it, Marilyn, on how it makes others feel like they’ve done something good. Like you, I tend to avoid those places. You have a lot of reasons to feel cranky! I share that with my parents. I’m going to keep the faith!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I think you’re both looking great for your ages and dealing well with the various inevitable health issues that have come along with aging. I’m about 10 years behind you and trying to do the same, but I don’t think I yet believe that I’m any older than 40 😂


    • My head thinks I’m young. Garry’s too. Mentally, aside from forgetting names of things and for me, almost everyone (sometimes including me), I’m pretty brain lively. It’s when that brain connects with the rest of me and I say, “Oh, yeah, right. Funny how that works.

      75 is NOT the new 50, no matter what anyone says. I was a lot peppier at 65 than now. The last ten years took a lot of the spring out of my step. That might also have to do with two years of lockdown and four year of Trump. I think COVID, politics, and climate change has sucked the life out of a many people. It’s hard to know if we’d be the same people if you took away those years. I’m betting we wouldn’t be younger, but we’d feel less beaten up.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I think you’re probably right. We didn’t exactly have Trump here, but his influence spread beyond your shores and we did have Boris which was nearly as bad! Not that his replacement feels like much an improvement mind you 😦


        • There’s a political madness that has spread around the world that is not unlike the world in the 1930s — or the U.S. just before the Civil (uncivil?) War. I can understand many things, but where this insanity comes from? I don’t get it.

          By the way, I cannot comment on your blog. I keep trying. Now I can comment if I use the “reply” to another comment, but I can’t just comment. I know other people have similar problems, but I usually can dodge around it, but your site has proved as close to impossible as it gets.

          Liked by 1 person

  3. Marilyn, you really don’t look your age and it’s just not right that some men never look or act older than their 50’s! I’m a few months away from 80 and I feel every minute of it. The worst thing is that in my head I still think I’m 25! The face that looks at me in the mirror just has to belong to some old hag who has invaded my body! But the truth is, it’s me and I’m just not able to do the things I did when I was 25!


    • Ditto for Garry and he RESENTS being 80. He doesn’t like it. He has always been a pretty lively guy and while his head feels like a kid, the rest of him doesn’t agree. Still, he does his daily exercise routine which is basically the same routine he learned in the Marines. So he still has shockingly good muscle tone.

      My mother never looked her age either so this is probably DNA at work. Looks ARE deceiving. I think I’d feel better if I slept more. I rarely sleep more than six or seven hours unless I’m really ill — which I haven’t been since the heart surgery in early 2015. This is NOT counting the total knockout from the COVID Moderna vaccination which was just one day and then I was fine.


  4. All three of you look great! It is a good idea not to soak up too much news. Depressing!


  5. Those of us who are in our 70s and older are all suffering from the aches and pains of decades of living life, and given, medically speaking, all you’ve been through, Marilyn, you’re doing remarkably well. And yes, based upon the photo, Garry looks years younger than 80. So good for both of you for hanging in, despite all of the daily crap that is being flung at us.


    • I think these past 6 years between the horrors of the Trump years and climate change and the insanity of politics, it has sucked a lot of the life out of many of us. It’s depressing and scary and most of us wonder if our grandchildren will even have a world that’s anything like the one in which we grew up.

      Garry does look good. He’s the youngest looking man of his age I know, so at least his vanity still gets stroked 😀 But the news is demoralizing and frankly, I have NO idea what this world will look like in another 25 years. I’m not sure anyone really has a clear vision of that future.

      Liked by 1 person

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