Last week I completed my sixty-ninth year on this planet. Over the weekend we had children, children-in-law, and grandchildren here, plus their dogs, to have what has become a traditional early July family gathering.
Our home is spacious enough to house anyone who wants to stay a night or two so the week began with us bringing home two grandchildren from northwest of the Twin Cities for several days until their parents arrived on Friday, taking them back home on Sunday.
The rest of the family arrived Friday and Saturday and it was a happy birthday. There was much laughing, visiting, and meals as delicious as anyone can imagine.
For me the celebration was important because I have had some health issues that have been identified and since I want to be around for another decade or more, I have had to make some changes.
Last March I was told I was extremely anemic. Anemic enough I was on the verge of being hospitalized.
That explained my need for morning and afternoon naps plus limited stamina. I thought I was just lazy.
Internal bleeding was suspected and after a scoping of my digestive system (yes, you know what that means), a stomach ulcer was found.
So medicine was prescribed and I take it daily.
As this was being done, the doctor told my wife and me that we were both pre-diabetic. In fact, I was crowding the line where I would crossover into diabetes.
That required a change in diet. Good-bye to my favorite pastime of Coke and cookies along with other things that I need to leave alone.
No more snacking between meals.
I quit pretty much cold turkey and now weekends are where I give in to those old still tasty items I have to leave alone.
That was the bad news. I do have some good news.
First of all, a few weeks ago I was scoped this time from just one end of my digestive system, the easy one (whew), to see how my ulcer was doing.
They didn’t know how my ulcer was doing because it had disappeared. How about that?
While I was being prepared for the procedure, my blood pressure was checked and it was 117 over 78. My pulse rate was 51.
I admit I was resting comfortably but hey, those are respectable numbers.
I was checked once again before beginning the procedure and my pulse rate was 48. I was setting off the alarm on the blood pressure machine because my heart was beating too slowly.
My pulse in high school was below 60 so I was back to my younger days.
A few weeks after giving up sweets because of the pre-diabetic warning, I noticed one morning my watch band was loose.
Huh? How did that happen?
Since I quit the sweets and was pretty much eating anything that would grow in a pasture, I was losing weight.
At this rate, I may lose one of the Xs in my shirt size. And I am using the next hole on my belt.
So, here I am at age 69, now just slightly anemic and still pre-diabetic (a condition that is manageable as long as I behave myself), I can say that the odds are good I will be around for my 70th and a good chance for more after that.
I was serenaded by all those wonderful family members last weekend who sang Happy Birthday to me while I blinked away tears.
I want to be around next year to hear it again.
And as many years after that as I can fit in.
It makes behaving myself worth it.
Rye is a Farm News staff writer and farmer from Hanlontown. Reach him by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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