Living but not forever

Two years ago my meeting with a doctor went something like this ...

Doc: Your blood pressure is higher than it should be. 150 over 90. I'm going to prescribe these pills. (Busy writing scrip)
Me: For how long do I need to take them?
Doc: The rest of your life
Me: Yes? And how much will that cost?
Doc: Nothing. National Health Service
Me: Please! Nothing costs nothing, doctor. I'm sure the NHS has better things to do with my money and that of the other millions of taxpayers. Anyway I won't be taking them. I have anecdotal evidence of their side effects.
Doc: (Appalled by such an argument from a mere patient but obviously not entirely unfamiliar with such anecdotal evidence) You could have a stroke, you know.
Me: I'm going on 78, doctor. I've no ambition to live forever..
Doc: If you have a stroke think of your carers, your family!
Me: I'll do my best not to be a bloody nuisance to anyone - even myself.

I'm now almost 80 and still breathing, last time I checked. 5 months back my wife passed away having suffered a lymphomatic cancer, diagnosed for an awful year, undiagnosed in spite of her terrible pain throughout the year before that. Since her death I've kept house moderately well, I think, learned to cook, done my best to carry on within the social life of our Highlands village, written and designed cards and calendars etc, toured the 'remote' Highlands shops trying with some success to sell them (1500 miles this last fortnight), toured my extended family down south and over in Iberia (6 beds in 20 days lat month), written and published a booklet. Not exactly any quiet life! Poor old heart.

Of course I'm tempting fate. Tomorrow really is another day. But today I have some use. Today I'm as happy as it is, for me, possible to be without Delia. Today I need no bloody statins, thank you (I do mean the thank you. Others may take comfort in them at whatever cost to them or to the nation's finances, and good luck.)

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