The Ghost Goals…
A 450 lb. deadlift.
A sub 7-minute mile.
A complete marathon.
A bodybuilding competition.
Swim 50 meters underwater on a single breath.
A reverse 1 ½ half dive with a full twist in the layout position from a 3-meter springboard.
These are some of the athletic feats which have fallen into the goals category at some point in my life. I am glad that I was able to do all of these at some point in my life, even if I can’t do any of them today. Though I am not training or preparing for a specific athletic competition or endeavor these days, I still workout consistently and with one goal above all others.
When my father died of complications from Parkinson’s disease over two years ago he was taking 19 medications on a regular basis – NINETEEN MEDICATIONS. To be fair, some of those medications were useful in staving off the symptoms of his Parkinson’s, and served to enhance his quality of life. Others though, were prescribed to offset the unwanted effects of his primary medications.
At the time he passed my father also had a neurologist, a cardiologist, a nephrologist, a urologist, a general practitioner, and I believe one or two other physicians whom he saw on a regular basis. I won’t suggest whether or not any of them had a personal interest in my father’s wellbeing or whether he was just a number or a daily appointment each of them. For the last two years of his life, my father saw some combination of these physicians weekly.
I do know this; each of those physicians prescribed at least one medication to help my father deal with his Parkinson’s and its related effects as they manifested within each of those physician’s specialty. Or, they prescribed medications to help offset the unwanted effects of medications which were prescribed by the other physicians. I call this the cascade of fragility; the more medications my father was on, the more fragile he became over time.
Being close to the situation I can say definitively that these physicians did not talk to one another, and that often one medication prescribed would conflict with one of the others. Though it might have been his GP’s job to manage this process, it seems he was not that effective with this responsibility.
Because my father was on so many medications at one time, it’s hard to say whether any of them were truly beneficial or counterproductive. In his mind though, they were simply his best chance to win each day.
The oldest client I have worked with was 92. Though he relocated to the desert several years ago, at the time we parted ways he was on no medications, none. My oldest client today is 90, and she takes only one medication regularly and it is benign.
There is plenty of data correlating regular exercise with a lesser need for medications as we age, despite what ailments, diseases, and symptoms we encounter. Regular exercise is a medication in itself. We know the benefits of regular exercise are vast, yet they go widely underappreciated, under used by a majority people, and under prescribed by physicians. Statistically speaking, most Americans get little or no deliberate exercise.
While I train weekly for strength, balance, flexibility, endurance, and even to look good, as I get older those are not my primary goals. My longest term goal is that when I do die, all that can be found in my medicine cabinet are razors, cotton swabs, and Crest For Kids – stuff tastes just like bubble gum. Be well… rc
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Please check back in a few weeks to see what happens when I push the STOP button on the blender in my head. Oh, and there’s this from The GO. Enjoy!