Another Side of Retirement: Surgery

4 Comments

As many of you know, retirement isn’t all fun and games.  I’ve blogged several times about the fact that while retirement is great, it’s still real life with real problems and real obstacles.  One of those obstacles is often health.  We all have “degenerative life disease” (you’ll see where that comes from in a minute).  We are all breaking down, some faster than others, on an inevitable path to the grave.  Fun, right?  But we live in an amazing time when medical care can extend not only our life, but our active, productive life.

That’s where this post, and likely most of my posts for the next few months, comes in.  As I alluded to in my last post and I’ve been discussing over on my other blog, Fly Fish Nevada, I have back issues and will be having surgery next month.  I know surgery is one of the more “popular” activities in retirement.  My mom had her knee replaced last year.  A blogger I follow had both of his done earlier this year.  Lots of retired folks, and therefore usually older too, have health issues that require surgery.

My intent is to write about mine, both prior and after, as a resource for others.  My condition is very common.  In fact, degenerative disk disease (DDD) affects just about every human on earth.  The term is a bit of a misnomer.  Degenerative refers to the fact that disks in the spinal cord degenerate over time naturally.  Disease makes it sound like it is both acquired some how and curable.  DDD is just the natural aging of your disks, which have no blood supply.  They thin, compress, herniate, whatever.  It’s called getting old.

That’s where I came up with degenerative life disease.  We all break down over time and will eventually die.  It’s natural and not a disease, though a disease might be what finally gets you.  Most people have DDD but not all are symptomatic.  Some people’s disks just break down in a way that doesn’t pinch nerves or cause vertebrae to become damaged.  I am not one of those people.

I have two problems.  One, I have a herniated disk between L-5 and S-1 (look it up) that is putting pressure on my sciatic nerve and sending pain down my leg, causing it to burn and tingle and sometimes makes my leg feel weak.  Two, I have a slipped disk between L-4 and L-5 causing L-4 to nearly slide of the top of my L-5 vertebra.  That’s doesn’t cause me pain…yet.  But it does cause my spinal cord to compress and my spine might collapse.  OK, not really, but it is highly unstable and could become much worse.

Next time, I’ll describe the procedures to fix all this and what I’m doing to prepare.  They are pretty cool, but the recovery, full recovery, can take six months.  However, if that means I can get out fishing, hiking and generally attempting to do further damage to my body (just kidding…sort of) it will all be worth it.  Stay tuned.

Back and Ready to Blog!

Leave a comment

What a summer!  Not what I expected, but still fun.  My wife had her gall bladder out.  My back continues to hurt and I’m seeing  surgeon tomorrow.  On the good side, I published a couple of books, one is there to the right, we took the kids on a nice trip to Monterey, CA and we had a nice garden.  It was a lazy summer, mainly because my back hurts (really it’s my leg due to a herniated disk) and my wife’s liver is still healing and hurt.  We didn’t even set up the pool.

I had hoped to be inspired to take the blog in a new direction, but I wasn’t.  I’m not sure what to do.  I’ve sort of run out of retirement advice and I’m still in this finish raising the kids do we can really retire mode.  That doesn’t’ mean I’m not enjoying my retirement.  I suppose it will be like this.  Sometimes health issues and circumstances will slow you down.  Other times you’ll be going full bore.  While taking care of my father in laws estate, my wife and I were fond of saying, “It is what it is.”

After tomorrow, I should have an update on my other blog about my back (click the banner to the right or click here).  I hope to have surgery sooner rather than later and get back out there and doing things.  I don’t mind sitting here writing, but I’d love to get back on the water fishing, out playing with my cameras and generally being active again.  I’m going to have to do some serious thinking on where to take the blog.  If you have any ideas, let me know.

A Little Vacation

Leave a comment

You may have noticed I haven’t posted in a while.  Well, you’re right.  I guess I’m on a little vacation from the blog.  It’s summer and I’ve been running around doing other stuff.  I should be back soon.   While you’re here, check out some of the older posts.  Thanks for stopping by!

By the way, for updates on my back pain issues check out Fly Fish Nevada.  See you soon!

Downsizing the Fleet – Part III

7 Comments

My ex-travel trailer. That’s another almost $200 in my pocket every month!

I’ve been attempting to declutter my life for the last year or so.  One of the major areas I focused on was vehicles.  Not just cars, but everything with wheels and/or an engine.  Why?  Partly because I wasn’t using the stuff, even after I retired I wasn’t using the stuff, and partly because most of it is more trouble than it’s worth (you can read parts one and two here and here).  I’m reminded of a line from the song “Between Angels and Insects” by Papa Roach, “The things you own, own you.”  Yes, I listen to that kind of music.

The entire song is about how we pursue money at the expense of other probably more important things.  It’s an angry song, just the kind I like, but worth a listen.  The line above, “The things you own, own you,” is true in many ways.  My vehicles were like that. More

Bump in the Road

6 Comments

This has nothing to do with the post, but it’s pretty isn’t it? McLeod Lake above Mammoth Lakes, CA with the Sierra Crest in the background.

My wife had her gall bladder out a couple of weeks ago.  The week before that was spent at urgent care as her symptoms progressed.  As you might expect, my focus has been elsewhere.  She’s recovering and doing well.  Still tired and in some pain, but on the road to a full recovery.  It reminds me how precious not only life is, but the good times in life.  We’ve had a lot of bad times as of late and when things do manage to go smoothly, I try to appreciate it.

I had 10 inches of colon out 5 years ago.  Things went well for a while, but then almost three years ago our washing machine flooded our house.  Not the end of the world, but not exactly good times.  The contractor dragged his feet and we ended up three months later spending Christmas in an unfinished house.  Considering my house was built in 5 months, that seemed a little excessive for flooring and paint. More

Technology and Retirement

4 Comments

Last time I talked about staying challenged and mentioned one way that a lot of folks do that.  Writing.  I bet writing is maybe the number one thing that people turn too when looking for a creative outlet.  We all know how to do it, though not all of us well, and it is the most accessible and probably the most expressive way to be creative.  But in the past, writing was something we did for ourselves.  Getting published was a pipe dream at best.  Even if you did get published, it might have been more trouble that it was worth.

Not anymore, however.  I’m published.  See my book over there to the right?  That’s me.  It’s an ebook that I published myself. More

Staying Challenged and Really Enjoying Retirement

8 Comments

Before my trip to Jamaica I wrote about appreciating retirement.  Taking something for granted tends to cause it to become mundane, boring and even loathed.  I doubt retirees are clamoring to get back to work, but life in general may become less than thrilling if you begin to take your retirement for granted.  It’s important to remember the gift you’ve given yourself, why it’s so much better than the alternative and what opportunities you have before you.

One way of keeping retirement exciting and learning to appreciate it over and over again is to remain challenged.  I’ve called it, as have others, reinventing yourself in retirement.  Retirement in these times when people are retiring younger and living longer is no longer just an event.  Retirement is a process, a lifestyle.  It is no longer enough to leave your job, settle into a routine and wait to die.  With twenty, thirty, even forty years in retirement, there is time to do so much more than sit on the porch and complain about the government. More

Older Entries Newer Entries

%d bloggers like this: