Planning on another 25 years


When I was young, I didn’t think I would make it to 40.

I had asthma so severe I slept with an oxygen tank next to my bed.

When I was in college, I took allergy shots every week for years.

One day when I got my allergy shot I had a bad reaction to it, went into shock and my heart stopped.

I was in the doctor’s office and he was able to get it started again.

Since that time, I have an intense fear of needles. I made it to 40, and past.

I still didn’t think I would last many more years.

All of the males on my dad’s side of the family died before their early 70s.

I had no reason to believe I would last that long.

I am now turning 77.

My brother will be 80 soon. (My sister is almost 88 and her husband is also.)

I look back on all my problems for the last seven decades.

I presently have a broken neck. The doctors think it happened when I was young and participated in rodeo and drove harness horses.

I probably got thrown off a horse and broke my neck, and didn’t know it at the time.

After a stress test, the doctor asked when I had had a heart attack. I didn’t know I had one.

More recently, a nurse asked when I had had a stroke. Again, I didn’t know.

In my 30s, I had a severe pain in my stomach and went to the hospital.

They didn’t know what caused it, but I stayed in the hospital for six days.

The doctor’s decided to do an exploratory surgery. That found my gall bladder had ruptured six days before and I was full of gangrene. They said another day or two and I would have died.

When undergoing tests for a “weird” sound in an artery in my neck, doctors found I had a pseudo aneurysm. This was a hole in the artery going to my brain.

Surgery was required to place a stent in my neck to plug the hole.

Next was kidney cancer. A large tumor was removed (along with a portion on my kidney) to fix this problem. Two large blockages in my heart arteries were found a few years ago. Three stents were placed to open the blocks.

Then I had a new valve placed in my heart.

For whatever reason, I am still around.

Susie and I got married in 1971. For our first anniversary, I took her to a remote fishing camp in northwest Ontario. She was a city girl and had never been out in the boonies. I took her fishing. She enjoyed it for the next seven days and now, she is “hooked.”

For our 25th anniversary, I took her to Lake Michigan and we fished for (and caught) salmon.

Our 50th anniversary found us fishing on Lake of the Woods, Minnesota, for walleye, smallmouth and sturgeon.

I told her for our 75th, I was taking her deep sea fishing somewhere.

So, I guess I have to make it another 22 years.

I think I have lasted this long because I retired from a very stressful job more than 20 years ago.

But, I didn’t just sit in my chair and do nothing.

Gardening, woodworking, cooking, traveling, metal detecting and lots of other hobbies keep me active.

Writing, working crossword puzzles and jigsaw puzzles keep my mind active also.

Because I am a diabetic, my diet is healthy. I take two insulin shots a day and 23 pills each day to help control my blood pressure, cholesterol, allergies and whatever else is wrong with me.

I know other seniors who are younger and in much better condition than I am who aren’t active and are going downhill a lot faster than me because of their lifestyle.

Just because you are old and might have a lot of medical problems, doesn’t mean you don’t have a lot of productive years ahead.

Rich Creason is an award-winning outdoors and travel writer whose work has appeared in local, regional, national and international publications for 40 years. Born in Anderson, he is a graduate of Markleville High School. He lives in South Madison County with his wife, Susie. He may be contacted at [email protected].