the lost man chronicles
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Aging and Ailing

It is a minute pain, but a highly irritating one nonetheless.

This morning I woke up and gradually noticed an invisible irritation in my left eye. It is almost as if something is poking it on the inside, a minor scratch perhaps but a major pain the in ass nonetheless, especially since there are no visible signs that explain the source of the sensation.

I checked a few times, pulling my eyelids up and down, alas, nothing noticeable was to be found.

Subsequently, I washed out my eye, and then took allergy medicine as well as a painkiller (loratodine and ibuprofin) when the rinsing treatment failed to provide relief. I had to drive with this eye this morning to drop off the books, as I do every Wednesday, and tried my best to concentrate on the road.

I could not help but ponder the significance of this insignificant irritation, because I knew that in the rain when everyone was rushing to work, listening to their favorite shock-jock morning show and so only half-concentrating on driving because driving was so routine anyway, it was critical that I take heed of my bustling environment and not allow the invisible stick in my eye to divert my attention.

Mentally I brushed off this mysterious ailment, diagnosing it as nothing but a natural occurrence—just like the small dry pimple I had on the other eyelid all of a sudden last week. I rationalized that since our body ails and adjusts everyday, as we get older and we take on more responsibilities, the resources we relied upon regularly to convalesce in our youth are increasingly spread thin, so that the little problems either seem or actually become more acute, problematic, and—frequent.

As an feisty individual obsessed with enduring suffering with poise and grace, I rationalized that this really is no big deal. Albeit, admittedly I’ll likely be irritated the live-long-day. But in an aging society like ours where the majority of the population is getting older than younger—this could eventually present a big problem.

For not only will we see an increase in accidents, but the need for hospital, hospice, nursing and physician care for individuals with medical concerns will increase dramatically as well. And eventually, we will begin to run out of resources to tend and mend them.

With a frightening financial forecast for social security and medicare, the divide between the healthy haves and the desperate and dying have-nots will only grow wider and wider.

The minute experience I had this morning only reinforces the vision I have had for some time now. For part of the motivation for considering b-school and looking toward a doctoral program in psychology is the vision I have for developing programs and products that serve the needs of the ailing elderly and the geriatric profession, in particular helping to fill the gap that will break open concerning psychological and emotional healthcare. With a lack of funding, facilities and personnel, solutions will need to be developed that will allow people to maintain their mental health and care for themselves in the long run. And ultimately I would like to serve that need.

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