I Make Lists

Whose life is this anyway?  I went from living my new gay life with a sense of freedom, joy, and fun to caring for my wife who was dying of cancer, caring for my father who is dying of old age, caring for my son who found himself accused of hazing, and working with my siblings to clean up my fathers estate, which is a mess.

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Activities of Daily Living

 

There has to be a better way to grow old. 

My father, at 90 years old, is at the end of his life and can no longer do, what the health care industry calls, “the activities of daily living”.  Dad can not walk unassisted; needs to be catheterized to pee; needs someone to wipe him after going to the bathroom; needs help dressing and getting up or down from a chair; needs to be held while he walks so that he does not fall.  The last activity of daily living which he still can do is to feed himself, but even that function is rapidly fading. He is sleeping fifteen to eighteen hours a day. The one good thing about this part of his life is that he is not in pain and seems happy.  

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Ghost

 Ghost

I am flying home after a short trip to Florida to help out my aging parents. How did the weekend go?  The answer depends on how you see the world.  Mom says, “Doesn’t dad look healthy?  He’s doing so well, except that he can’t walk.”  My brother, who came last weekend, says, “He just needs more PT to be stronger and he will soon be walking again.” My sister, who has made multiple visits to help my parents, says, “Dad is declining fast.”  
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Passing Water

In my early 40’s, I began to experience difficulty urinating. I learned from a urologist that I had BPH, Benign prostatic hyperplasia. BPH is a benign growth of the prostate, that, over time, as it continues to grow, makes it harder and harder for a man to pee. A man’s prostate, like his ears and nose, continues to grow as he ages. Ok, who designed this system? BPH effects most men at some point in their lives. 

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Memories of Past and Future

Today is the anniversary of my grandmothers death.  She died March 4th 2004 at the age of 100.  Tomorrow I will visit her grave, a ritual I do whenever I am in South Florida.  She is buried next to my grandfather, whom I never knew.  My grandfather died five years before I was born of a massive heart attack.  
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Ageless

After traveling to New York City on Amtrak I headed for the F subway train, carrying my suitcase and backpack up and down the stairs. I got off the F train at the Lexington avenue stop and followed the signs to the uptown 6 train. The signs took everyone to a narrow broken escalator that looked to connect us the the floor above. Once I started climbing the escalator stairs I realized the climb was much more than I had thought, at least three or four flights of stairs. The escalator was too narrow for me to stop, with a long stream of people behind me, so I kept going and trudged up the stairs with my backpack and suitcase. My left knee tweaked with a bit of pain and I began to breath heavily. Maybe, I thought, I should remember my age, 59 years, before I start climbing stairs like a twenty year old. I swatted away the thought and kept climbing. 

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Act III

 

At 59 years old I am faced with an interesting set of choices.  After working in the corporate world with a focus on information systems for the past 32 years in primarily profit driven companies, I have the opportunity to take a leadership role in a highly mission driven organization that provides consulting, services and programs around the world.  It is an exciting opportunity but one that has me question what really is next for me.  At a time when many people are looking to slow down I feel I have new vitality and excitement about the world.  Coming out as a gay man has freed me to continually discover and learn who and what I am.

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