Paving Life's Road With Osteoarthritis

Pattye Snyder Health Guide
  • Many blogs back, I wrote one entitled "Lists for Living," where I talked about a friend's major impact on my life.  My friend discovered she had a terminal illness, and when her doctors suggested two different treatments that MIGHT help her live longer, she refused both and went home for a family conference.  When her kids (who were adults by then) realized that neither regimen might help, they agreed with her decision.  Instead, the family wrote a long list of things they'd always wanted to do "someday" and began doing them -- things like visiting New England for the Fall colors, going to London for a stage play, and many others.  They completed the list and she died a few months later.

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    I learned from my friend that "someday" never comes, so either act on those adventures or quit dreaming about them.


    A few short months ago, I made the ultimate decision - to go to Africa, to a place I love, and work as a volunteer for a few months.  Although I had been there earlier as a nature photographer, this would be a totally different kind of experience.  I had contemplated doing this before, but found that the number of arrangements I would have to make, the amount of money I'd need for flights and living expenses, and my continuing onslaught with the joys ( and the pains) of my osteoarthritis simply made this too intimidating!  I've never been buffaloed by any of my birthdays before, but somehow, my upcoming 65th, seemed to require something special and uniquely me.


    When I first became truly serious about this adventure, I assured myself that I would, by training really hard, be in marvelous shape and well-prepared to climb Her Majesty (Mt. Kilimanjaro).  TRYING to be a touch more realistic at this point, with less than 4 weeks before I fly out, I just want to put both of my feet on her on my birthday.  After all, I'll be 65 (how did I get that old), have 2 artificial hips, part of a steel ankle and my right foot is kind of held together by surgical screws and I also have osteoarthritis in my spine!!!

    (YES---I'm the one who sets off metal detectors in airports!!!)


    So, I really did have good intentions, but time somehow got away from me.  Wouldn't it be neat if we could hire people to work out for us, and we could get the benefits?  The reality is that I always expect too much from me.  I need to accept me, steel hips and all. I need to realize that I don't have to prove anything to my family and friends -- they love me (well, MOST of the time)!  All I need to do is pack my Passport, Visa and work permits, my meds and my cameras and I'm good to go.  This truly IS a lifetime dream of mine, and I'm thrilled that "SOMEDAY" is not a part of my life -- because we all know -- someday never comes!!!!!



Published On: May 14, 2008