In December 1999, I received an email from Sheri Murphy–Wright, then assistant managing editor of the Medicine Hat News, requesting a column for the special, millennium edition of the News. So I asked myself: What is going to keep us healthy in the next millennium? Is it going to be science and technology or something else? I looked at myself and my family to see what I could rely on for good health and happiness.
My paternal grandmother died at the age of eighty-one. She suffered from asthma and its consequences for many years. She never smoked in her life.
was still in bed, talking to my mother about having a good breakfast. The next moment, he was gone. Just like that. He also suffered from osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Overall, however, he had a long, satisfying life.
My mother died of ovarian/uterine cancer at eighty-nine. She had eight children. She’d had asthma for sixty years or more. She had mild congestive heart failure. She had two major life-threatening surgeries to remove a benign brain tumour. She suffered severe, life-threatening injuries in a taxi driven by an inebriated driver in Uganda. She spent six months in the hospital and in rehab. She made an excellent recovery, thanks to determination, perseverance, and outstanding support from her husband and children. She did suffer at the end but she had a reasonably good life. She was probably ready to die when she was given the diagnosis of terminal cancer.