I've found out quite a lot about my relations and ancestors over the last couple of years, one thing being that I don't descend from a particularly long-lived line. Not at all.
Sister (b. Apr 1933- d. Jan 1993) (59)
Brother (b. Aug 1935- d. Oct 1972) (32)
Mother (b. Nov 1911- d. Feb 1987) (75)
Father (b. Jul 1901- d. Jan 1969) (67)
Maternal Grandfather (b. Sep 1878- d. Dec 1916) (38)
Maternal Grandmother (b. Jul 1889- d. Oct 1941) (52)
Paternal Grandfather (b. Apr 1869- d. Sep 1941) (72)
Paternal Grandmother (b. Sep 1875- d. Jan 1940) (64)
Average age at death for this group: 57 (point) something.
Lots of aunts and uncles died relatively young (one in infancy, others at 14, 40, 54, 62, 64, 69.)
One aunt lived to age 90, so there is that.
When I was young, I was convinced I wouldn't live past 30; strangely, when I reached 30 and was still going strong, I thought Death was stalking me at every turn. Quite a few friends passed on in the '80s and '90s, so many that few of the people I was close to when I was younger are left alive today.
I'm quite a survivor compared to them.
Interestingly in the first group above, my mother is the longest lived, though not all that long-lived in
the overall sense. She suffered from emphysema after a lifetime of smoking, and she died from its complications.
My father died from an untreated melanoma. According to those who knew him at the end, he had lost interest in living and refused to have the cancer treated when it might have made a difference.
He was younger at his death than I am now.
My sister died of an embolism after knee surgery following injury at the prison where she worked. She was knocked to the floor and smashed both knees against a table-leg during a prisoner take down, injuries requiring the surgery from which she wouldn't recover. She suffered from lupus for the last 20 years or so of her life, and she was sometimes in extreme pain because of it. She was 59 when she died.
I'm not sure what my brother's cause of death was. But I've learned enough about his condition to understand that he was in pretty bad shape physically for most of his short life. He couldn't stand or walk on his own until he was nine or ten years old, and he likely suffered from seizures and paralysis for most if not all of his life. I suspect that's what ultimately led to his death. He was 32.
My mother's father was killed in a rail-yard incident when he was 38.
Her mother died of stomach cancer -- which wasn't treated or wasn't treated properly -- when she was 52.
My father's parents both died of heart failure. His father at age 72 (pretty good, eh?). His mother at age 64.
This is not a record of long life among my immediate relatives, and I'm now actually older than all of them except my mother and paternal grandfather.
So. Have I lived too long already?
I'm not completely incapacitated (yay!) but I see so many things I wanted or intended to accomplish that I probably will never be able to do. It's dispiriting to say the least. Ms. Ché is concerned for fear that I might become paralyzed myself. That seems unlikely as long as this RA condition is controlled, but you never know.
I haven't heard anything from the specialist I'm being assigned to by my family practice physician. The medications I'm taking (diclophenac 50mg and prednisone 20mg) are partially effective against pain and inflammation. I take diclophenac twice a day, and it seems to be between 0% and 15% effective (down from 70-80% effective initially.) When the pain becomes too much -- like it wakes me from a sound sleep or comes on suddenly in several joints -- I take one prednisone tablet which can be effecrive for 24 to 36 hours if I'm lucky. The prescribed dosage is three a day, but I'm told not to take it for more than five days running, I'm limiting my intake as much as I can consistent with being relatively pain free most of the time. In fact, it's just 24 hours since I took a prednisone, and the pain is coming back in my hands, wrists, elbows, shoulders -- and soon, knees.
So I'll take another one to control the pain and contact my doctor next week to see whether I'm taking too much.
As for having lived too long already... I may bring that up too....
[Note: I worked on this post for almost a week. It's become more and more difficult for me to sit and type for any length of time.]