Episode 87. In which I get a bit maudlin.

This week I’ve watched a few programmes in which couples have been split up by one of them dying.  In one case this was a very old couple, who did that TV drama thing of showing just how they’re still as much in love as they were in the twenties by kissing each other on the mouth  Of course you only do that after the age of fifty if you’re with your soulmate, or at least that’s what TV would have you believe.

The old lady had an operation, and had signed a DNR so that no steps could be taken to keep her alive if she wasn’t capable of staying alive on her own.  The old man seemed cool with this at the time.  Then, of course, she goes in for the operation, starts fading, and the old man demands that she be hooked up to every machine under the sun, because he’s not ready to lose her.  It was all quite a cliche.

Until the very end, when the old lady was gone, and with the music swelling they showed the old man being escorted to the door by the surgeon, who shook his hand and saw him on his way.  The old man tottered off on his own.  Presumably to eat whatever his ever-loving wife had left in the fridge for him to eat that night, and begin his new life as a widower in a big empty house all on his own.

This, of course, is a very sad thought, but for some reason it really got to me this time.  I got it into my head what would happen if I died, and how My Man would handle it.  Or if he died, how I would handle it.

I don’t mean to be gooey, I don’t want to make assumptions about his capacity to survive without me or anything, but I just thought, that looks like the worst thing in the world.  I wouldn’t know where to put myself, what to do with myself, I wouldn’t know where to look or when to breathe, I think some time would pass before I was able to function to any degree, I certainly couldn’t get in a car and drive, or get on a bus and navigate my way home, I probably wouldn’t get as far as calling a cab.

Sometimes my imagination gets the better of me, I’m not a fantasist or anything, I don’t just make shit up.  But sometimes I get a bit overly empathetic with things I see.  I’m sure this is what acting is all about and this is the reaction the programme-makers hope for.  But I saw this old man (who I recognised but I don’t know from where) and I thought, people go through that every day, hundreds of people every day, maybe thousands, all over the world, and they’re not all old, they haven’t all lived a life together, not everyone dies in a hospital and not everyone gets to hold hands with the ones they love as they slip away.  I thought, one day, if I’m lucky (by which I mean lucky enough to have someone with me to the end) then I will be on one side or the other of that situation.  I will either die and leave someone behind, or I will lose someone and be left alone.

And let’s be honest, thanks to my fucked up pancreas my chances of making it to average life expectancy isn’t that great.  That said, my paternal great granny lived to be 103 and my maternal grandad lived to 93, so my genetic life expectancy might be higher than average and I might be alright.  And I’ve no plans to fuck up my treatment to the point of multiple amputations.

Anyway, I don’t care if it happens to hundreds of people every day.  That doesn’t make it any less awful, and I have to slow my brain down a bit to even think about it now, should the situation arise I might just shut down altogether.  Maybe it’s something that you start to get your head around as you get older, maybe it becomes more bearable as you learn more about life in general.

I’m not thirty yet, it’s natural for me to think of death as something inevitable but far away.  Maybe when I’m sixty it’ll be inevitable and more conceivable somehow.  I suppose thinking of death as a young ‘un it seems unfair, but then it would, I haven’t lived my life yet.  Maybe when I’ve done what I need to do, lived a life I feel happy with, reached as many of my goals as I have it in me to reach, death will seem, not less unfair, but less…

Maybe less premature.

I know life is short, I know death is inevitable, I have no illusions about immortality.  But perhaps having to be aware of it at this age is what’s unfair.  Surely it’s the sort of thing that the young shouldn’t have to worry about.  In an ideal world everyone would live until they had achieved and experienced everything that was in their power, they wanted to.  When I’ve achieved and experienced and all that stuff, the “but I never got a chance to…” factor will be vastly reduced.

I have had it shoved down my throat how I’m x times more likely to get heart disease than non-diabetics, I’m y times more likely to go blind.  However, these are all complications that come about because of elevated blood sugar levels over extended periods of time, so I’m going with the argument that as long as I stay on top of things, keep my sugars where they should be, I’ll be fine.

What worries me is that my diabetes type is unknown (seriously, I am officially semi-diagnosed) and therefore nobody can vouch for what is going to happen to me five years down the line, never mind thirty years later.

And that is what I mean by maudlin.


Diabetic moment of the day

I’m alright today.  I want cheesecake, but of course a) I’m not allowed it and b) there’s none in the house.  That is for the best.


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