Thing is, I don't like mobile or landline phones at all, but they are necessary for me these days.
I truly do understand. I was just somewhat lucky in that I never did ever really have to have one for work and made it to retirement without one.
However, I'm pretty much done with discussing the cell phone thing and am ready to move on to the real reason for starting this thread. The cell phone thing was just a hopefully somewhat humorous starter topic to get the ball rolling before going into more serious weighty concerns.
So in Reply #32 above I loosely described the heart attack I had 18 years ago. All in all it didn't really affect me much. It was no different to any other injury or illness that I had gone through previously. Basically I got sick, eventually got better and then just went back to the normal everyday concerns that everyone has, mainly worrying about keeping my job and being able to retire on something a little more substantial than just trying to get by on Social Security. The day to day concerns really didn't allow me much time to worry about "big picture" concerns.
So that's pretty much how things went until sometime in 2015 when I found myself one evening having sufficiently difficulty breathing that I called an ambulance that took me around the corner to Emerson Hospital which, to make a long story short, figured out fairly quickly that I had congestive heart failure. At first it really didn't bother me all that much, it just meant that I had to add lasiks to my ever increasing daily prescriptions that seem to be an inevitable part of getting older.
I was marginally familiar with CHF since it was what ultimately killed my wife's father. Of course he was 88 years old (I was 63) when he was diagnosed with it and was 92 when he died but he had a lot of other issues in conjunction with the CHF. And while his death was a sad thing that strongly affected both my wife and myself directly, the death of a 92 year old is something that is not particularly out of the ordinary or unexpected.
I tried to get a prognosis out of my cardiologist but he wouldn't really give me a definitive answer. I've since found out that as far a fatal prognosis go some doctors are upfront about it and some aren't. It makes sense in that it really doesn't help much to dwell on such negativity. So it left me doing something I'm really not a big fan of which is self diagnosis (or prognosis in this case) by a lay person over the internet, but it seemed like the easiest way to get an answer.
So I did search the net and found out (among other things) that the 50% survival rate of CHF is 5 years. By that time I had been living with CHF for about a year and a half so that meant that (assuming a not unreasonable standard deviation of 2 years and using the 68–95–99.7 rule of probability) I had a 68% of being dead within another year to another 5 and a half years and a 95% chance of being dead anytime between tomorrow and 7 and a half years.
That really affected me mentally and emotionally since while death is something everyone has to face eventually it's something that I (and I assume most people) hadn't really worried much about. Believe me, it's a big difference between knowing you're going to die someday and knowing you're a coin flip away from death in 3 years or so. For awhile I became quite anxious and had difficulty sleeping but eventually I did become OK with it (which is in itself another long story that I do intend to get into later just not now).
Anyway during this period of anxiety I thought about what there was that would leave a mark that I was ever here other than in the minds of the few family and friends I have left alive. I went and checked out a big old beech tree in a small park in Brookline, MA into which I had carved my first wife's and my initials way back in 1972. I guess I shouldn't have been surprised that the bark had scarred and grown over but it did leave me saddened.
So the ultimate point of this thread is to make some kind of mark. Doesn't have to be big, doesn't really have to even survive beyond my death (because I wouldn't really know anyway) it's just me carving my initials on a tree.
Since that time I've been diagnosed with Gleason 8 Prostate Cancer which has been treated with radiation therapy (although I still have to wait another year before the hormone therapy wears off before I can find out if it was successful) and a year ago being diagnosed with myelodysplastic syndrome which I was told that gave me a 50% chance of being dead within 2 years (only 1 year left to go on that prognosis) and a 0% chance of being alive in 5 years (now 4) unless I got stem cell replacement therapy which I'm told is a very brutal process taking up to a year to recover from and even though there's a 70% chance of finding a match there's only a 50% chance it will be successful leaving me with an overall chance of a cure at 35%.
Basically I have three different statistics all getting closer and closer to becoming due. As if that's not enough right before covid-19 hit I got pneumonia (not overly surprising when my white blood count was effectively zero) which turned into sepsis, was intubated (my wife was told that most people in this condition died within a day or two but obviously I didn't) and in a coma for 2 weeks, spent another week in the ICU and a month in a rehab hospital. Luckily I got out and home a couple weeks before the pandemic really hit.
Anyway like I said I'm not looking for sympathy and I'm content with my life and my death whenever it comes. I've done my job, my affairs are in order, I've made sure my wife can continue to live the same lifestyle we had when I was working no matter how long she (or for that matter me as well) lives. I'm not trying to rush it and in the meantime will do everything I can to put it off but when it comes I'm ready to meet my maker if he (or she) exists.