Thoughts of an Aging Woman after Anesthesia

Five Muses showed up (visible only to me) in the hospital room; or was it just one presenting as five because five is my favorite number of subheadings?

Anyway, they had five fully-rounded bosoms which told me that they were women. Dressed in blue medical scrubs, they seemed comfortably seated against the wall to my left. Without speaking, they assured me that they had come to keep me company.

Hospital Room.  Photo by Diane A. Reid
Hospital Room. Photo by Diane A. Reid | Source

As soon as the anesthesia wore off, they would provide me with content, I thought. Instead, they informed me that I already had access to the content I need. They had come to illuminate the thoughts which were likely to go unnoticed without their help.

The voice of the surgeon’s assistant ended my dream; but the Muses lingered. Below are the five subheadings they inspired.

Reality
Vulnerability
Mortality
Fallibility
Accountability

Reality

Aging is the main reality when the doctor prescribes procedures solely because of age. Sure, there are happier thoughts than aging to dwell on: good food, singing and dancing, new social connections. Yet, the emphasis on these and many other positive aspects of life is motivated by their effects on aging.

We retire from the hustle and bustle of making a living, and gradually settle into the life we made. We are privileged to visit this new period of life. Call it longevity, the golden years, the autumn of life; aging by any other name is the reality that we arrive at the territory we set out to reach.

If we stay long enough, we may be forced to trade silky smooth skin for spots and wrinkles, and full heads of hair for thinning and balding. For a while, we may subscribe to the treatments which claim to help us reverse our steps. Eventually, aging wisdom dictates that we equip ourselves with the mindset to enjoy the journey forward.


Intravenous Medication (The vein, if irritated could cause discomfort for months.)  Photo by Kirk Putnam
Intravenous Medication (The vein, if irritated could cause discomfort for months.) Photo by Kirk Putnam | Source

Vulnerability

Vulnerability in the hospital is lying on the bed in a split-through gown, and signing consent to a paragraph which states:

  • Passage of the instrument may result in an injury with possible leakage into the body cavity.
  • Bleeding, if it occurs is usually a complication . . . which may require transfusions.
  • Medication used for sedation may irritate the vein in which it is injected, causing discomfort for several months.
  • Instrument failure and death remain possibilities.

Well, it says remote possibilities, but at first reading, remote doesn't have any meaning.

It seems sensible to refuse the procedure and the risk of immediate death. Then, the voice of reason suggests that people do the procedure every day and live to tell about it. Another voice questions, “Who can tell when the instrument will malfunction for the first time?

Eventually, aging wisdom reminds us that vulnerability is a way of life. Whether we drive, fly, eat at a restaurant, or enter a building, death is a risk. Vulnerability warns us not to take life too seriously. Be careful, not fearful!


Mortality

Thoughts of vulnerability, just before being put to sleep with anesthesia, will lead to thoughts of mortality—unless we struggle to avoid thinking about it. But why should we? Death is inevitable.

Many moons ago, someone told a story about a house servant who went to the market, and rushed back to his master, complaining that Death was at the marketplace staring at him. Immediately, the master sent the servant by train to a faraway city, and then went to the market to confront Death.

When the master asked Death why he stared at the servant, Death said he was surprised to see him at that market, because he (Death) and the servant were scheduled to meet that night in a faraway city—the same place where his master sent him.

Aging wisdom suggests not to spend our energies running from Death, but to put the effort into enriching our relationships, expressing appreciation for the treasures of life, spreading more joy than Death can ever take away.


Fallibility

How many mistakes can we make in a lifetime? Not enough to outnumber the ones we did not make. We tend to count the same mistakes over and over, year after year, all the way into our aging period. Some of them are remembered only by us. No one else cares.

Mistakes prove that we are fallible, a characteristic which proves that we are human. In the event that the thought of mortality conjures up memories of past mistakes, we should do whatever it takes to set ourselves free. We have won too many struggles with other people to lose the battle with ourselves.

The wise thing to do is: confess our mistakes to God for the last time, and accept His forgiveness (the same as forgiving ourselves). If the nature of our wrongdoing requires that we talk with the person we wronged, let’s just do it—in a spirit of humility, becoming of wise, aging people.

We realize that we are no longer sure of some things we accepted as facts, so we talk less and we listen more. Aging wisdom helps us decrease our chances of making more mistakes. We will never age long enough to be perfect.


Alive for a reason.  Photo by Wendell Weithers
Alive for a reason. Photo by Wendell Weithers | Source

As you grow older, which of the following gets more of your attention?

See results without voting

Accountability

After personal reflection on reality, vulnerability, mortality and fallibility, we become more aware of our accountability. We know that we are alive for a reason; that there is always something more to learn and to do.

  • We are accountable to ourselves, concerning our personal care—enabling us to carry as much of our own weight as we possibly can.
  • We are accountable to relatives, friends and agencies who invest in our well-being. We owe them gratitude and appreciation, and the assurance that we will not take from them more than we need.
  • We are accountable to our offspring. Although they have outgrown the qualifications which made them our dependents, they have not outgrown their need for our love, our guidance and our example. We become their teachers on aging gracefully.
  • We are accountable to God, above all, for the gift of life, especially beyond our working years; for favor which helps us survive life’s difficulties; for discernment which helps us embrace new perspectives; for love which strengthens our resolve to live and enjoy life. In return for these blessings, we owe Him our worship.

This interaction with anesthesia was my third. Twice before, no Muse showed up or perhaps I was not aware. For aging wisdom enables us to see blessings—even Muses, which we ignored when we were younger. That's one of many good reasons to enjoy aging!


© 2014 Dora Isaac Weithers

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Comments 46 comments

Lady Guinevere profile image

Lady Guinevere 2 years ago from West Virginia

I have been under the knife a few times in my life. None of those thoughts or muses had occurred to me at the time. Reading this has brought me back to thinking of those times though. I think it is good to stop and think of ourselves like this and it, for me anyway, is a point of reflection. My father passed away last week and we didn't have a funeral or service for him. That did not stop me from going through the series of thoughts on why I am here and how much longer I had to accomplish whatever it is that I will accomplish today and in the future.

Thanks for the hub and will be sharing this too.


RachaelOhalloran profile image

RachaelOhalloran 2 years ago from United States

As I age, I notice that "vulnerability" sticks out to me more than the other choices in your poll, only because as seniors, we are so at the mercy of others for many things - simple home repairs, banking issues, transportation, medical advisers, legal advisers. So I chose vulnerability from your poll for that reason.

That does not negate the importance of the others, for they are very important too.

But to each of us at the place we are personally in our lives, each one of those choices will be more important to readers because of not only our ages, but our experiences so far in life and our helpmeets - who we have in our lives (or not) that help us in daily life.

I'm only 67 years old, (68 in Sept) but I consider myself a young 67, not feeble by any means. But because I live with a husband who is older than myself, his thought processes are different than mine.

He would have chosen "mortality" from your poll because that is where he is at this point in his life. He is past the other choices -- reality, vulnerability, accountability (*he says!) and fallibility (*he's a man, I don't need to say any more!), so mortality speaks to him more than the others because of his ill health.

This was a thought provoking article in that respect. As for your Muses, I'm glad you met them. Mine have been with me since I was a young child. :)


billybuc profile image

billybuc 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

Such a beautifully written article filled with truths and philosophical reflections. This is your best piece of writing, Dora, and it was a pleasure to read. Well done!


MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Lady Guinevere, I wish you comfort on the recent loss of your father. Death is certainly a call to reflection, which we hardly do often enough. Thank you for your input on this subject.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Rachel, you are having twice the fun--experiencing aging through your own life, and also through your husband's. Thank you for adding your very helpful insights.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Bill, I appreciate your encouragement. You share in my improvement more than you know. Thanks for your tutoring.


word55 profile image

word55 2 years ago from Chicago

Hi MsDora, This is another one of your superb hubs reflecting an experience that so many people can relate to. You're like a vessel that runs through others with information that life is too precious to be taken for granted and that love should be shown and given from one to another regardless of any circumstances. Your value and appreciation of life has brought you to an overwhelming desire to touch others and you do it gracefully. Thank you. Thumbs up and voted up! You go my sister!


epbooks profile image

epbooks 2 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

Very true hub and definitely eye- opening. I like the paragraph on mortality. More and more, it has become obvious that no matter what one does, they can't prevent all deaths. We never know when our time is up!


FlourishAnyway profile image

FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

I truly enjoyed this thoughtful piece.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Word, there are no words to describe the joy I receive from your very kind comment. Thanks! You made my day.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

EP, I wanted to say something meaningful about death, without being too morbid. Pleased that you like the section, and thank you for letting me know.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Flourish, thank you very much. "Thoughtful" is a good word.


ologsinquito profile image

ologsinquito 2 years ago from USA

I like how you manage to bring God into so many of your articles, as He is the ultimate author of all creation.


Purpose Embraced profile image

Purpose Embraced 2 years ago from Jamaica

These are very sobering thoughts MsDora. I am also very aware of my own fallibility, but I'm also encouraged because I have a heavenly Father who love me. Thank for sharing.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Ologsinquito, I'm pleased that you appreciate my reference to God. Sometimes, there's no other way (for me) to get the point across. Thank you.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Sister Doc, God's love is the ultimate. Thank you for your input.


denise.w.anderson profile image

denise.w.anderson 2 years ago from Bismarck, North Dakota

Any time we are faced with our own mortality, we feel the five things mentioned here. It is a time of deep reflection into who and what we are, and how we have lived our lives. We find that each time, it takes a little more time to come back, because we see further into eternity. It makes us that much more grateful for the opportunity to continue on with life.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Denise, thank you for this input. "It takes a little more time to come back, because we see further into eternity." Interesting!


sheilamyers 2 years ago

There are some things I think about as I get older and the things you mention are some of them. I want to be a better person than I am today and you information points out many of the areas I should be focusing on. Great hub!


MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Sheila, thank you sharing. I think we all have similar thoughts but these topics just don't come up.


thelesleyshow profile image

thelesleyshow 2 years ago from US

This is a very real article. I think that as we age we grow closer to the fact that there is a meaning in this life, don't you think?


MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Leslie, I agree with you. To say it another way: the longer we live, the better we understand life.


Faith Reaper profile image

Faith Reaper 2 years ago from southern USA

Ah, yes, MsDora, another thought-provoking and beautifully written article. The benefit of aging is that we are more focused on what is truly important in this life ... the real deal stuff that makes living this life so wonderful. I have been there too a couple of times myself, and it does give one time to have that deep reflection on life and just how brief it really is and to enjoy each and every minute of it with which we are blessed.

Up and more, tweeting, pinning, googling and sharing

Peace and blessings always


brakel2 profile image

brakel2 2 years ago from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Hi Ms Dora. Anesthesia scares me, as I hate being under the knife and asleep. I might not wake up, but I always woke up. If I don't. I will end up with God. I love your hub, especially the muses, and your thoughts on the subject. You are such a good 'thinker" Thanks for sharing your ideas. Sharing hub. Blessings. Audrey


MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Faith, you have expressed my thoughts the way I wish I did. Thank you for reading and supporting.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Audrey, anesthesia can cause us to be fearful, but you have the right attitude: "If I don't. I will end up with God." Thank you for sharing.


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 2 years ago from Shelton

that can be applied both ways thoughts of an aging man ( or person ) I haven't been under a knife yet.. but I can feel the pain.. what a different but interesting hub.. voted awesome and interesting


RonElFran profile image

RonElFran 2 years ago from Mechanicsburg, PA

Good writing, MsDora. I especially like, "Mistakes prove that we are fallible, a characteristic which proves that we are human." It's good to know that my credentials as being human have been established beyond any question!


MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Frank, of course, it might have served me better to say "person" but I'm glad that you understand. Thank you for reading and voting.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Ron, we're on the same page. We have the same responsibility to support and encourage each other. Thank you.


DDE profile image

DDE 2 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

I found this hub so interesting and such a great insight to life.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Devika, pleased that you like my article. Thank you.


Rochelle Frank profile image

Rochelle Frank 2 years ago from California Gold Country

Beautifully done. MsDora. Age does give is a peculiar and particular perspective, doesn't it? I can see part of your continuing purpose in that beautiful little man you are holding in your hands.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Rochelle, yes indeed! There goes a great part of the purpose. Thanks for reading and commenting.


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 2 years ago from England

Hi MsDora, this was a wonderful read, and yes as we get older we do become more aware of our vulnerabilities, I have had some major surgery in my time, especially my kidney op which terrified me, but they were great looking after me, age is a blessing, I will be 55 next week, and it's a really strange feeling considering I still feel about 30! wonderful, voted up and shared, nell


MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Thanks, Nell. I know the feeling. My grandmother was 50 when I was born, and to me she was always old. Now I'm 65 and wonder why I felt that way. Happy that the surgeries are behind you and you're feeling well!


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

This is an excellent piece of writing, MsDora. It's interesting, inspirational and thought provoking. Thank you for sharing it.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Thank you Alicia for your kind, encouraging comment. I appreciate you.


AudreyHowitt profile image

AudreyHowitt 2 years ago from California

This is a wonderful introspective look at the question of who we are and what we do--and think that question gains relevance as we get older. I think a lot about that question as well--Happy Saturday!


MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Thanks, Audrey. It's so encouraging to have contacts on this site who share your thoughts. Hope you have a great new week.


techygran profile image

techygran 2 years ago from Vancouver Island, Canada

MsDora, Love this peace-promoting, wisdom-weighted, delightful exploration of the things we can learn when we let go and let God... I feel like I'm on a roller coaster with all 5 of these muses often these days. Thank you for giving me something to refer to when I'm struggling unnecessarily. God bless, Cynthia


MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Cynthia, you blessed me today by commenting on this article. I re-read it and also found some things to reflect on. I appreciate your kind input.


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 2 years ago from Dallas, Texas

Truly great philosophy you shared here, MsDora, "put the effort into enriching our relationships, giving and receiving love, expressing appreciation for the treasures of life, spreading more joy". An uplifting read this morning.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Peg, thanks for your kind comment. Hope your entire day goes very well.


grand old lady profile image

grand old lady 16 months ago from Philippines

You have written an entire list of what aging is all about. It makes me think that everything we do, every path in life, involves risks. Hopefully, we will choose to take calculated risks. But in old age, we are particularly vulnerable. Studies show we are vulnerable to scams, and the evil that people do to others who are helpless. We have to choose early on to marry a good man who will have our backs even when we're old and vice versa, and raise children with love because they'll be there for us when we need them. Thank you for your jewels of wisdom, that set us thinking about life larger than our normal, sundry thoughts.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 16 months ago from The Caribbean Author

Mona, you also give good advice here. Thanks for your contribution.

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    Dora Isaac Weithers (MsDora)946 Followers
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    MsDora, former teacher and counselor, is fascinated by the study of healthy aging and loves to share the health habits she learns.



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