I didn’t think that I would end up old and alone – mainly because I didn’t believe I was going to get old. The ‘alone’ part I pretty much expected.
When I was in the 5th grade I became ill with Rheumatic Fever and missed most of the school year – first an extended hospital stay then bed rest at home. I’m happy to report.that was the last time I was ever in a hospital room other than as a visitor. Despite missing a large portion of the school year I was still promoted to the 6th grade.
At first I was supposed to restrict my physical activities – definitely no gym in the first semester. But I was ten years old and we lived right across the street from a playground. Even on Sundays when the playground was closed I would climb over the eight foot high chain link fence to play softball and touch football. I remember being scared every time I had to make that climb, expecting to fall and break a leg or arm, but one mustn’t act the sissy in front of one’s friends. Besides, if one didn’t scale the fence one couldn’t play! 😐
However, even at that young age I was well aware that Rheumatic Fever was a serious disease and that heart damage was almost always a result. A doctor once told me in my twenties that he detected a slight heart murmur only when I was lying down. But no murmur was detected after that. Nevertheless, I got it in my mind that I was going to be one of those men that keel over dead in their forties. I certainly did not expect to live to see the twenty-first century. And now it is almost 2014 and I am still kicking – who’d a thunk?