All of us are dying. Oddly, the process of dying seems to begin at birth. That means all members of humanity are dying but all are dying at different rates. A few of us die instantly, others die slowly as we age, but the rate of death generally varies based on age, ailment, and circumstance.
In some ways I am dying quickly. In other ways I am dying slowly.
But like every other member of humanity, I am dying. The difference is that I get to see the steps day by day.
ALS works that way. Slowly and quickly. At the same time.
The average life expectancy for someone born in the U.S. this year is about 79 years. For someone my age, the average life expectancy was 68 years so I’ve already outlived expectations.
While my ALS symptoms have been around for a few years and seemed slow to develop at first, the pace has quickened in the past year. I’ve gone from being able to walk and talk and look almost normal to barely being able to move and I wear a ventilator mask to breathe; now over 23 hours a day.
While I move slower than at any time since birth and early childhood, I manage to shave and brush teeth in five minutes, take a bath in five minutes, and eat five 4-minute meals a day.
Do the math.
23.5 hours a day with a ventilator mask on my face just to keep me breathing which keeps me alive. For now. Dying slowly and quickly at the same time is not fun. Interestingly, my brain still works and my vision is 20/20.
My wife may envy the latter but disagree with the former.