Life Expectancy

When I was young, the assumed life expectancy was supposed to be 70 years old. (For men) As it said in the Bible, (somewhere) ‘Three Score Years, and Ten’.

I soon began to make decisons and lifestyle choices that were destined to reduce that number significantly, in my case. I started smoking cigarettes at the age of 16, and by the time I was 18, I was considered to be a heavy smoker. That carried on until I was 60 years old, 42 years of around two packs a day, every day.

And I also liked a drink. Beers at the pub, wine at home, and the more-than-occasional gin and tonic, or a nice cognac.

At the age of 27, I started working shifts, in an exceptionally stressful job. I did that for another 33 years, until just shy of my 60th birthday. In between, I moved house more times than I care recall now, and got married and divorced. Twice.

Then I got married again.

I didn’t watch what I ate too closely, and often worked 60-72 hours a week. I tried most recreational drugs known to mankind at one time or another, and adopted the ‘James Dean’ philosphy of ‘Live Fast, Die Young’. I expected to burn out. Not only expected it, there was a time when I actively sought that untimely end.

During my time as an EMT, I became closely acquainted with death, in more ways than I ever thought possible. I came to the conclusion that if I lived past the age of 55, it would be little short of a miracle. So when I celebrated that 55th birthday, I had to take stock. Perhaps I would live longer despite everything?

It dawned on me that it was possible to live to that Biblical age of three score plus ten, even for me.

Then I got to 60. I stopped smoking cigarettes, and retired to the countryside. I began exercising regularly with my dog Ollie, and relaxed at long last. But after many years of taking Statins for high cholesterol, I got bad news from my new doctor. Muscle wastage, and mild liver damage. All caused by reacting badly to Statins. I had almost no strength left in my upper body, and the muscles in my arms and chest were shot for life. I came off those tablets, and had to live with my record-breaking high cholesterol levels.

I thought that I had finally reached my high water mark, and the cholesterol would kill me within a year. But no.

So here I am at the amazingly (for me) old age of 68. I find myself in the middle of a lethal pandemic that is daily taking the lives of tens of thousands around the world.

But other than being ‘very sleepy’, I have no symptoms.

Maybe I am immortal after all.

84 thoughts on “Life Expectancy

  1. The pandemic makes one take stock of their life. This was a heartfelt read, Pete. The wonders of drugs and medicine have their downside. Thank goodness you’re in the country with less stress. Best to you, Pete. Really.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Glad to hear you don’t smoke much, but I never preach about that, given my own history.
      I had to cut back on the booze because I feared getting too chubby. (Well, chubbier than I am already. πŸ™‚ )
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I admire your ability to share yourself candidly to everyone. Your history could be mine (minus 33 years as an EMT–but I do work with teenagers every day! ) I am 57 and am convinced I won’t make it to retirement. Sometimes I think I ought to go as living is physically painful for me. My husband and kids would get a nice chunk of money. But I want to travel and be free. Only five more years to go.
    With you, 68 is very young indeed. Your ability to walk many miles each day is the best thing you do. I personally hope you make it to 80 as I would be very sad if you weren’t in my life. Virtual that it is. You are real to me.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I am very glad to read that I am real to you, dear Cindy, as the same applies with regard to you from my perspective. You have had medical problems that give you cause to think as you do, but I have complete confidence in your ability to overcome them, and to enjoy that travel in your well-earned retirement.
      One day you might even find yourself in Beetley, meeting a little old man who values you so much as a great friend. πŸ™‚
      Best wishes, Pete. x

      Like

    1. Well I am pleased to see that you didn’t go through with that suicide, Lucinda. But I do remember when I was about 13 that being 21 seemed something very strange and ‘grown up’.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Hey Pete! Heavy smoking and more than occasional drinking is not a great advice to people stuck in their and bordering towards crazy. I think that Ollie is keeping you fit, so stick along. I hope your Cholesterol levels are controlled soon though, however I have notices that long-term meds do more bad than good. So, I hope you get well soon without the meds.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. You’ve lived a life Pete, it’s reflected in your articles, blogs and stories. Thank you for the work you did in your NHS career, as a child, and later, i benefited greatly from others in your field. You are too, a first class communicator, which is probably not unrelated. On this planet, it’s given to relatively few, as in the health and medical sphere to make such a big impact in directly helping and improving the lives and health of their fellow men and women.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Just keep going the best you can, Pete….my mantra is β€˜ring the bells that still can ring’ (forget your perfect offering) with thanks to the late Leonard Cohen for those words….

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Pete, I appreciate your sharing this so much!
    You are a god, I tell you: a GOD!
    You have had such a wild life and that you are able to live to tell us all about your adventures through your blog is astounding!

    Stay healthy and take care! To longevity. πŸ˜‰

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Life comes down to a fair share of luck. I knew a guy who did everything right in terms of eating right and not putting anything unhealthy into his body. He never touched alcohol or smoked. The week after he retired, he was killed by a drunk driver.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Funny how we react to our brains idea of how we “should” live our lives. Having lived through family that participated in all the negative vices possible I chose to do none, EVER. Now at 65, pain levels forced me to submit to medical THC. I do hope to follow in the footsteps of my ancestors and live into my 80s. Best of health to you Pete.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Thanks for sharing this with us, Pete. I know there are many factors that impact our longevity, as well and the head-scratching coincidences that we can’t control…may you continues to share this update with us for decades to come!

    Liked by 3 people

  10. Pete, I also have muscle damage from stains and getting off them didn’t make the damage go away, sorry to say, even years later.

    Doctors and my health insurer, even my pharmacy, are constantly at me to go back on them but I refuse. A nurse finally gave me a suggestion I was willing to try, fish oil, but it needs to be prescription strength, not OTC. It’s not a wonder drug but it HAS improved my cholesterol numbers. Maybe it could work for you.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes, the muscle tissue is destroyed and does not regenerate, so no point trying to ‘pump iron’ as it won’t help. I won’t go back on them, and my wife refuses to start taking them too. I tried pharmacy grade fish oils, but to be honest they gave me diarrhoea, so I stopped taking those too.
      Statins do work well for over 95% of people who take them, and have no side effects. We were some of the ‘unlucky ones’, Lelia.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ask your doctor about Ezetimibe. I had reactions to statins (muscles hurt like the dickens and I stopped before too much damage was done). I started the Ezetimibe about four years ago and have had no adverse effects and experienced some cholesterol-lowering. Warmest regards, Theo

        Liked by 1 person

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