According to available demographics there are 85 folks over 80 years living in Taos Town. Doesn’t seem like many or perhaps its a lot I wouldn’t know. Does this include the folks at The Living Center, Taos Retirement Village etc? I do know Taos is a retirement community in general which suggests the need for services Taos is not prepared to offer such as medical care. I’ve been searching for a primary care physician and none are accepting new patients. The first appointment possibility is 5 months in the future.

I really can’t wait that long. I’ve been diagnosed with COPD without any tests; no MRI, ultra-sound or CT scan – just the blood-oxygen finger test that said 85. It had been 85 for years and I was able to hike and function normally. Then all of a sudden I had an accident that moved me to the oxygenator and I’m tied to the tubes for life. I need to find out the condition of my lungs. The main symptom is dizziness and fainting along with 24/7 need for air.

I created this condition by smoking for over 40 years. Although stopped smoking in 2000, it caught up with me and now I must confront this hideous condition within the death trade as found in palliative care and Medicare. It’s an experience you really don’t want unless unconscious with no hope of recovery.

Ah yes, at last – great news to share with the terminally ill: This is the Options Coalition that is in process of being updated with all the info one needs to qualify for the meds necessary to end life that has become intolerably painful and unmanageable. It will keep critically ill patients from putting a gun to the head or driving off into an abyss.

Today I have an appointment that hopefully will lead to an ultra sound and determine what is going on. But no. Been to appointment and no help. Seems the ultra sound and MRI are not going to reveal anything about lungs. There are no primary physicians available in Taos so I await a phone consult with my nurse practitioner on Monday.

Guess I’ll be hanging out on the bed with my little angels – Bunny and Rosie. They love to cuddle and snooze with me. I’m so horribly ill I’ll try the nebulizer and hope for the best although Jenkenson says hope is the agitator of the terminally ill.

Who Knows?

This used to be until I ignored the site for several years and somehow a foreign entity seems to have liked the name and is now charging $$ for various versions. So changed the name to living past 80.

Been looking around for facts about over 80 folks and of course it’s more difficult to find than over 78 studies when that was my pursuit. From time to time one runs across those who feel the elderly are thriving: living longer, better health care and lovely retirement facilities where everybody gets together for badminton, pool time and martinis. Sounds like fun but my deep concern is with the poor elderly, in bad health with no resources.

I am not a scholarly authority on this subject – I’m just living my 82 years, day to day, with what sometimes appears to be insurmountable, orbiting, unpredictable realities. So often there are no words to capture the out of control experiences that are outrageous and yet reveal so little because I don’t have a real diagnosis of my illness.

Fortunately there is a great master in our midst: Steven Jenkinson, certainly one of the most knowledgeable authorities on death and dying and all aspects of the death trade and palliative care. I implore you to watch the documentary Griefwalker on YouTube for free. He has written numerous books on various aspects of the subject. His latest Die Wise is very powerful.

It’s interesting and a little unsettling that many folks don’t want to discuss any aspect of death and dying. While most authorities on the subject say one must invite death to walk with you side by side every step of the way. And of course there are various preparations – psychological, medical, legal etc – one can consider through the years. And as the Dali Lama says – we are born to die.

Unfortunately, I never gave a thought to growing old until my 70s when the grim reaper blocked my path with his raucous tune: Good day to you; we’ve never met. But here I am with your regrets.We”re partners now until the end, laughing and dancing, favorite friends.

Castaneda writes of the definitive journey one must take at the end of life. He called this journey the trip into the active side of infinity. Every elder is guaranteed to find outstanding inspiration within the context of Castaneda’s books. He can change your life.