Greetings and Salutations to All my Kith and Kin and All the Ships in Outer Space:
It's Wednesday 28 December 2011, and I just now woke up, suddenly realizing something.
The constant pain in my back is now even in my dreams when I'm sleeping!
Furthermore, in my dream, which was in full color, it was very much like real life - - - , i.e., I was a clumsy, absent minded old geezer who doesn't belong anywhere, and is in everybody else's way.
What a realization to wake up to!
However, at the moment, I can still stand up and walk, and I can still ride the tricycle around the grounds of the Armed Forces Retirement Home in Gulfport, Mississippi.
But, the pain never goes away, and it varies in intensity from time to time.
It does appear that I no longer can stand upright on a stage to strum my guitar and sing.
If I ever again perform in public, then I'll probably need to do it sitting in a chair, something I very much hate to do.
Anyway, it's getting so I'm lucky if I can sing at all, for now, I only sing a few songs before I start coughing.
I can't plan anything, because I don't know when I'll be awake and/or when I'll be asleep, or if I'm awake, will I be under the influence of the medicine I take?
Of course, one of the advantages of being elderly and RETIRED(!), is being able to throw your alarm clock in the garbage can, for you are no longer bound by any schedule, which now means you can sleep all day long, if you so choose.
Yet another surprising discovery about aging is that dreams become so vivid, it occasionally is difficult to discern what is reality, and what is merely a dream.
I wonder if that's a very early part of the mortal dying process, psychologically giving us more and more gradual glimpses into our future existence?
My loud and severe coughing spasms, which are probably due to my hiatal hernia, are getting more pronounced, and I still have episodes of mysterious, unexplained burning sensations on my skin, which originated a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, in the old Republic of Viet Nam, when I was a young soldier in the United States Army.
Maybe our military experiences in distant, exotic climes have an accelerating effect on our physical aging process?
After all, I'm one of the youngest guys living here at the Armed Forces Retirement Home, and without any apparent rational explanation, it seems that I've rapidly aged and deteriorated.
What's more, I'm not the only one, for there are others whose physical health has rapidly gone downhill, even though they're relatively young.
My prescription medicines are long since gone, and I now rely solely on handfuls of over the counter pills that I buy in our Navy Exchange, although that is becoming expensive.
The doctor in our Armed Forces Retirement Home clinic has warned me that those pills will destroy my liver and kidneys, but what alternative do I have?
I finally have an appointment at the Veterans Administration Gulf Coast Health Care System in Biloxi, Mississippi - - - , scheduled for two (02) months from now.
I sometimes daydream of stuff I'd like to buy, such as equipment to enhance and update my obsolete medical trauma kit, my rescue tools, and my old military field gear.
But, guess what?
If I was able to do that, I'd have equipment that would be useless to me, for I no longer have the youth and healthful vigor to go rescue folks, save lives, and combat bad guys.
I'm completely out of the game - - - , sidelined forever.
That's a very harsh reality to have to confront.
Hey, you young guys out there - - - ,
When I was your age, I never thought about what life would be like when I got old.
I'll bet you never think of it, either.
Just like me, you're too busy having adventures and enjoying a good time.
Oh, yes, those injuries we get when we're young, that we quickly recover from?
When you get older, those healed injuries return to haunt you with all sorts of physical complications.
Here's yet another aspect about aging that none of us ever think of when we're young - - - ,
Over time, our kith and kin will die, one after another, leaving us survivors increasingly more isolated and alone.
Plus, seeing all of your peers pass on continually reinforces the reality of your own temporary mortality.
Yes - - - , YOU and I are going to kick the bucket.
There ain't none of us gettin' outta here alive!
Well, mox nix.
Life goes on.
But, I reckon it'll just have to go on without you, me, or us, huh?
For the best effect, please be sure and enjoy watching, in "FULL SCREEN" mode, my homemade amateur video recording of ME (!), accompanying myself by strumming simple chords on my Yamaha G-130A classical guitar, while singing, "SUICIDE IS PAINLESS", the theme song from the 1970 Hollywood motion picture production and television series, "M*A*S*H".
Written by a fourteen (14) year old boy, the lyrics refer to a lonely, depressed dentist serving with the United States Army in the Republic of Korea, whose nickname is, "Suicide", and who specializes in pain free dentistry.
"SONG FROM M*A*S*H
(SUICIDE IS PAINLESS)"
Lyrics by: MIKE ALTMAN
Music by: JOHNNY MANDEL
VERSE # 01:
Through early morning fog, I see
Visions of the things to be.
The pains that are withheld from me,
I realize and I can see,
Suicide is painless.
It brings on many changes,
And I can take or leave it if I please.
VERSE # 02:
I try to find a way to make
All our little joys relate
Without that ever-present hate.
But, now, I know that it's too late.
VERSE # 03:
The game of life is hard to play.
I'm gonna lose it anyway.
The losing card, I'll someday lay.
So, this is all I have to say,
VERSE # 04:
The only way to win is cheat
And lay it down before I'm beat,
And to another, give my seat,
For that's the only painless feat.
VERSE # 05:
The sword of time will pierce our skins.
It doesn't hurt when it begins.
But, as it works its way on in,
The pain grows stronger, watch it grin.
VERSE # 06:
A brave man once requested me
To answer questions that are key.
"Is it to be, or not to be?",
And I replied, "Oh, why ask me?"
John Robert Mallernee
1800 Beach Drive, Unit 311