16. How will I manage my health as I get older?

The unavoidable issue of health must be addressed in an attempt to avert any crises or adverse situations which could impact negatively or even catastrophically on ‘the great plan’. Having both been very fit and active for most of our lives we are struggling to come to terms with the deterioration which is perhaps accentuated by the abuse we subjected ourselves to when we were invincible and continue to have expectations of this mortal form which it is just not up to fulfilling anymore. The prospect of skiing for a DSCN1324few hours 2 or 3 times a week, weather permitting, is a relief as the last week’s holiday we took was exhausting and punishing on the knees, however one feels determined and obliged to be on the slopes every day for as long as possible when time is so limited.

I’m mightily relieved that my knees seem to have settled down for now, only really catching me when descending the stairs in heels, which fortunately is quite rare. Walking in ski boots was most uncomfortable, more so than skiing, so a ski-in ski-out chalet will be essential! My achy shoulders seem to be subsiding as well so that is a relief for all the cleaning and polishing I may have to do, possibly providing me with the exercise they require. Cleaning every day will be a novelty as I had lapsed into very infrequent domestic chores when I was on my own as I created so little muck. Despite my son being quite house trained, more so for having done domestic work in the hostels, his return does seem to have more than doubled the requirement for cleaning, much to my dismay.

I’ve recently had my regular eye test and found that they have deteriorated a little more so I’m due new glasses but will leave this as late as possible to ensure that they are as appropriate as they can be and perhaps obtain a spare pair for a change as they may not be too easily available. A dental appointment nearer departure time will also be necessary but not too close in case some remedial work is required. The tooth I was supposed to lose during my only pregnancy 20 years ago continues to hang by a wing and a prayer so hopefully it will endure but can’t do so indefinitely.

The diet required for coeliac disease is not so much a health issue as a shopping necessity, only becoming health related if I don’t adhere to it. Even then the requirement is to just endure the pain until it has subsided. However as it is an auto-immune disease, my body not being able to differentiate between foreign invaders and native tissue thereby having a propensity to attack itself, does mean that I’m susceptible to other problems. These are many and varied but are not certainties however my thyroid gland has been deemed the enemy and so I have little left. This results in a daily requirement for artificial thyroxine to keep me fit and well. Here I just put in a regular order for a repeat prescription which is delivered to my door a few days later however that is not going to be an option abroad, even within the EU so I need to have a source of this medication wherever we are. I haven’t actually enquired yet at my local surgery but understand that they are not obliged to give me more than 3 months prescription and are also deemed with responsibility to monitor me on a regular basis which could prove awkward.

I have explored internet pharmaceutical availability and was overwhelmed by the results, but which are legitimate and which not? Presumably there are many dubious suppliers serving the needs of those obtaining prescription drugs via this route. A friendly pharmacist informed me that there is a process of obtaining a private prescription so this is the next route to investigate. We will need to ensure that our travel insurance is quite comprehensive and aimed at long-term travellers, not just to cover a situation until one returns from holiday a week or two later. At least I do have a reasonable amount of musculo-skeletal and respiratory knowledge as well as a qualification in clinical aromatherapy and reflexology, even in my distant past I studied acupuncture so I think there will be a possibility of the old adage adapted to ‘physio heal thyself’; and he has a ‘pain-gun’!

olives MoroccoWe do need to look quite closely at where we may be travelling to after the winter season because if it is outside Europe we need to consider what inoculations may be required. Fortunately, again, the internet provides a considerable amount of information. However it just illustrates the complexity of this subject if we don’t even know to which continent we are headed. The advice is provided at a moment in time and new outbreaks of vicious diseases can develop in a relatively short time frame as Ebola has illustrated. Some vaccinations require a course of 3 injections so many weeks apart. Some are only valid for 2-3 years, others for 25, some need boosters, some don’t. Some countries require evidence of the inoculations, others don’t. Some make you feel quite unwell for a period when you have them, some not so much. There are also diseases against which we cannot be protected. We will need to become scrupulously careful about our food hygiene as well as our own, not eating fruit which cannot be peeled, not eating rice which may have been reheated – my downfall in Morocco the day prior to us spending a night out in the middle of the Sahara! Ensure any meat is almost charred to a cinder. I didn’t expect to become vegetarian, out of necessity, if travelling further away.

Mar 2014

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