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An Old Dog Scratching at the Door

Posted By Al Martinez On May 12, 2014 @ 5:21 pm In Notebook | Comments Disabled

f7b9nhjm-l' [1]I feel like an old dog [2] who has been wandering aimlessly through the streets of Los Angeles, and finally, worn and hungry, has decided to come home again, scratching at the door to get in.

Well, I may be that weary old hound in some ways, but it has not been a joyful, or even relaxing, drift down the avenues and up the alleys. For almost three months I have been hospitalized with pneumonia [3], internal bleeding, a severe diabetic attack, a weakening heart [4] and a few other minor annoyances that left me teetering on the brink of eternity.

What made it worse was that it all came more or less simultaneously, making death seem a plausible alternative to growing old and useless. I am also afflicted with COPD [5], which alone could kill me. So severe was my condition that twice I imagined I could hear a body bag rustling in the distance. God was trying to decide.

>> Sign up for the AARP Health Newsletter [6]

But life is no willow in the wind, my friend, but a roaring, howling miracle that demands to exist. Refusing to die, I was facing death with the same determination to live that I had energized as a young Marine in the Korean War. We yelled our defiance and charged on. Fix bayonets, boys, the gates of hell are opening!

My backups at L.A.’s West Hills Hospital were a pulmonologist, a cardiologist, a gastroenterologist and other -ists who just wanted to be a part of the fun. They loaded me with antibiotics and gallons of chemicals, checked my vitals 24 hours a day and kept asking me my name and age to determine, I guess, if my brain was still functioning. I became so tired of it, I said my name was Lady Gaga and I was 23 years old, but eventually they realized it was a joke. Doctors are not quick when it comes to humor. One or two may have even thought I actually was Lady Gaga.

But the old dog is home again, 30 pounds lighter and exercising like a madman to get back to where he was. It goes to show that at any age – and I’m almost 85 – you can continue to ride the howling winds of life if you really want to. Stand your ground. Be firm.

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If death comes knocking at the door, don’t answer. Just curl up in a corner with the old eternal dog. He may even share his bone with you.

Photo: Nicole

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URL to article: http://blog.aarp.org/2014/05/12/an-old-dog-scratching-at-the-door/

URLs in this post:

[1] Image: http://blog.aarp.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/f7b9nhjm-l.jpg

[2] old dog: http://blog.aarp.org/2014/04/22/will-we-get-nicer-as-we-age/?intcmp=AE-BLIL-BL

[3] pneumonia: http://healthtools.aarp.org/health/pneumonia?intcmp=AE-BLIL-DOTORG

[4] weakening heart: http://blog.aarp.org/2014/04/30/cereal-grains-key-to-longer-life-after-heart-attack/?intcmp=AE-BLIL-BL

[5] COPD: http://blog.aarp.org/2013/11/27/copd-whats-that-you-ask-at-50-are-you-at-risk/?intcmp=AE-BLIL-BL

[6] >> Sign up for the AARP Health Newsletter: http://www.aarp.org/online-community/people/subscribeFromEmail.action?id=19061&intcmp=ILC-EMAIL-SUB-HLTH

[7] >> Get travel discounts with your AARP Member Advantages.: http://discounts.aarp.org/travel/index/uSource/HCTN?intcmp=AE-BL-TRV-DISC

[8] ‘Dirty Dozen’ Lists Produce with Most Pesticides: http://blog.aarp.org/2014/05/06/before-you-bite-check-your-produces-pesticide-level/?intcmp=AE-ENDART1-BL-REL

[9] 4 Surgeries to Avoid: http://www.aarp.org/health/conditions-treatments/info-05-2011/4-surgeries-to-avoid.html?intcmp=AE-ENDART2-BL-BOS

[10] Fight fraud and ID theft with the AARP Fraud Watch Network.: http://www.aarp.org/money/scams-fraud/fraud-watch-network/?intcmp=AE-BL-ENDART-ADV-FWN

[11] Join AARP: https://appsec.aarp.org/MSS/join/application?keycode=U9ZTPH9&intcmp=AE-ENDART3-BL-MEM

[12] AARP home page: http://www.aarp.org/?intcmp=AE-ENDART3-BL-HP

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