I stood behind an older gentleman at the pharmacy yesterday for a half hour while he was trying to straighten out which of the multitude of medicines he should take when and with what. I counted 16 different bottles  on the counter. I have an elderly neighbor so doped up most the time on prescription meds, she rarely remembers her own name. When she is lucid, she complains about how awful her pills make her feel.

I hope like hell I live a long and fruitful life, but I’ll be damned if I do it drugged out of my gourd.  I’ll take my chances with healthy living and exercise and see what nature decides for me.

I’ve got a living will preventing extraordinary measures to be taken on my person should I become horribly burned, a potential quadraplegic, or incapacited enough to be in a vegetative state. I’ve made sure my husband, my parents, and friends all know this so that there will be no argument about it later. And to me, those were the easy fixes.

I do this because I know myself and how I want to live. I don’t mean to demean anyone’s quality of life, but to be able to not move my body-ever, to be badly burned and disfigured and condemned to a lifetime of surgery and pain? Not this girl. And a vegetative state, while it sounds like bliss to a chronic insomniac like myself, I would rather someone pull the plug. And of course, recycle my organs. Go Green!

However, that doesn’t really answer what I think is the bigger issue. People are living longer these days, thanks to science, but to quote Jeff Goldblum from Jurasic Park: “…your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn’t stop to think if they should”. What would be the point of living to a 100 if I had to do it on 50 pills a day that didn’t make me feel that great and was a financial burden to boot? Hmmm, I could buy those meds but then I’d have to give up eating for the week, toughie…..

And of course, how much is too much? Where do I draw the line? If I’m just on blood pressure medication to maintain health, then I suppose that’s okay. But couple it with heart meds, then osteoporosis meds, then cholesterol meds, etc. and I have to wonder when I do I stop being a person and start being a chemistry experiment gone awry?

More to complicate the issue, at what age do I give this serious consideration? At 60? (it’s the new 50), 70? 80?

My parents take a ridiculous amount of drugs for no other reason than that they are over weight. As much as their doctors have told them, they will not change their dietary habits, they will not exercise, but they’ll go out on financial limb for their pills and that is just bat-crap insane. They are approaching 70 and it’s not a good 70, I can’t even imagine what the future holds for them.

Not all that long ago, people were living into their 80’s and beyond without all that garbage circulating in their bodies. What happened? I have no death wish, mind you, and I’ll do the basic things to keep myself alive and well, but if my body seriously starts to give out on me you can bet I’ll be having one serious conversation with myself in the mirror.

  

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