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Approaching 60

Discussion in 'Personal' started by Jesmond12, Apr 14, 2019.

  1. Duke of York

    Duke of York Star commenter

    I have an interesting story from the 80s to tell about a tobacco company during my NHS days. They had devised a new type of cigarette, which they claimed had the potential to be less harmful and funded a clinical trial of it at the hospital I worked in.

    The trial comprised of having volunteers doing a lung function test, then smoking either a conventional fag or one of the new ones at random, then having the lung function test repeated.

    Since the medical physics dept were involved with most other departments in one way or other, it didn’t take long for the smokers in the physics department to learn about this trial and volunteer for it. The thing was, the Respiratory Medicine department had been given a large stock of fags for the trial and anyone able to sweettalk the technician tasked with doing the tests, could usually persuade her to let them have the rest of the packet to take away with them.

    I need to explain that the lung function test was carried out by blowing into a spirometer, a device that can measure the volume of air you can forcibly exhale in one second (FEV1) and the total volume of air you are able to expire (FVC), which is different to lung capacity.

    At the time, spirometers were large and very expensive mechanical devices, which would only be found in major hospitals. A graph of the blow, known as the flow/volume curve would get plotted out and look something like this.


    From the graph it’s possible to calculate meaningful values for FEV1 and FVC, to compare against normal values and give an indication of which of a range of respiratory diseases a patient who is short of breath might be suffering from.

    Anyway, we had a very bright electronics whizz kid who was a heavy smoker and took part in the fag trial. To him, the way spirometry was being done with the expensive and cumbersome mechanical device seemed ludicrous, when it could be achieved more simply and at lower cost with a hand-held electronic device. He went home that night and designed it.

    It revolutionised spirometry and the treatment of lung diseases. Instead of a spirometer costing £20K, his first version sold for £500. These days you can get them at much lower cost. I went for a general health check up at my GP surgery a fortnight ago and had a lung function test carried out.

    As well as using his inexpensive electronic spirometer to test for lung disease, a GP is likely to use it to test the lung function of smokers and be able to show them how smoking has been damaging their lungs, then with a bit of luck, convince them to stop smoking.

    How ironic is that? It's probable my colleague would never have invented the electronic spirometer, if he hadn't been adicted to smoking and that tobacco company hadn't wanted to find some sort of evidence that their new fags had health benefits.
    phlogiston, eljefeb90, TCSC47 and 2 others like this.
  2. smoothnewt

    smoothnewt Star commenter

    On the subject of keeping fit in your 60s, my daughter texted earlier to say that she and her boyfriend had bumped into Theresa May and Philip coming down Cader Idris this afternoon.
    They exchanged a greeting in passing. Mrs May looked "rather strained" apparently. No surprises there!
    agathamorse likes this.
  3. Shedman

    Shedman Star commenter

    Life is full of regrets Jezza. Thinking back to all the what ifs and might have beens. There are many paths through a life but on our journey we can only take one of them. At each branching of our path we have to choose which way to go knowing that whatever branch we choose there may be no going back. Your path has led you to where you are now, regretful and wishing things had been otherwise but had you have taken another branch earlier in your life you may have been happier or perhaps more sad.

    As our politicians love to say at the moment 'We are where we are' and you are where you are and as many others have said on this thread, there is no changing the past regardless of how much you wish it were otherwise. I have always tried to live my life by the simple principle of 'Do the right thing.' You speak of your first wife and so I assume you have remarried or have a current partner. Are you doing the right thing by them? Is your depression regarding things over which they have no control or happened before they met you blighting their life? Is living with you making them miserable? Do they deserve this?

    You say you cannot shake off the cloud of depression that hangs over you. You have obviously tried things to shake it off and you say you are trying to keep positive but that's not working very well so you need to try something else and that includes getting professional help. Speak to your GP and even if that means taking medication well so be it. Look to get some counselling and, as you point to the sad death of your first wife as being a key part of your current feelings, maybe you need bereavement counselling to help you come to terms with that part of your life.

    You may have many years of life ahead of you and maybe in twenty years time you may be regretting that the last two decades were spent in the gloom of depression and the effects that had not only on your life but on the lives of those who love and care for you. Do the right thing - get help now!
  4. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    I must admit I suddenly 'feel old' tonight as my husband and I submitted our applications for State Pension. I'm no 'older' or 'different' than I was when I woke this morning, yet suddenly becoming a pensioner' seems really strange.
  5. oldsomeman

    oldsomeman Star commenter

    I'm old im 73..but it dont feel any different to yesterday when i was 72 ! Are you suppossedto feel older when you turn a certain age?
  6. InkyP

    InkyP Star commenter

    It didn't occur to me you had to apply for the State pension I thought it would be automatic! How do you know when to apply?
  7. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    Years ago it was automatic, whereas now you actually have to apply.

    Theoretically you're supposed to receive a letter about 2 months before retirement age, but neither Mr L nor I did. If you don't apply it's considered you've automatically deferred. Whereas before you had to apply to defer. So I guess about 2 months ahead is about right.

    If like me you had a working husband and a non-extravagant lifestyle to manage on one wage you can gain extra pension for every 9 weeks of deferment, which is then index-linked for life. As I'm older than Mr L and he had a later retirement age anyway I deferred mine.
    Because TPS opted out and we paid a lower NI contribution teachers, nurses and other professions who did the same won't qualify for the new full pension and in my case being on supply I didn't realise I had to write to opt back into TPS so lost out on many years.:(

    In my case deferring has helped to boost my state pension to nearly the 'new basic rate'.:)
  8. chelsea2

    chelsea2 Star commenter

    For my 60th I received a lot of 'experience' gifts, so over the course of the year I've taken part in a whole range of different things:
    - a 'Spy Day' (segway riding, pistol shooting, sniper rifle shooting, crossbow shooting & unarmed combat);
    - the 'Ultimate Xtreme' day in an old Welsh slate mine - climbing, abseiling, zip wires, free fall jumping, all in the dark (well, apart from helmet lamps). Heartily recommended!!! http://www.go-below.co.uk/Ultimate-Xtreme.asp;
    - and today I had a 3 hour skiing lesson on 'real snow'.

    At all of them I was on my own (most people went in a pair or group) and by far the oldest taking part, but had loads of fun, and kept up pretty well with the 20 somethings. But I'll never learn to ski!!

    60 is definitely the new 40! Embrace it! :D
  9. HelenREMfan

    HelenREMfan Star commenter

    Oh @Jesmond12 am so sorry to read this and well done to the many positive responses here.
    I am highly envious of those in older age and good health. Please do not underestimate that. A former PE teacher I am very cronked. riddled with osteoarthritis which makes me unable to get out and walk as I once used to but..... I still look forward to each day, continue to work (albeit part time) and one week tomorrow.... I hit 68. My girls' father died at 67 from lung cancer. I am still too angry with him re him in effect disinheriting his children to feel much for that.
    60 is no age. It is indeed just a number. I hope you can surmount these current gloomy feelings and move to enjoy these later years - years when we have all that knowledge and experience gained from the former ones, years that have their own purpose, fun and.... new experiences. When I do finally decide to call an end to working ( have upgraded my forthcoming cruise to a suite experience and now have a dog with possibly a serious spinal issue so that won't be any time soon) I would like to try and paint. I have loved the Sky programmes on portrait and landscape artist of the year and have watched them fascinated. I have also tried to take up sampler sewing again. So look at people's suggestions on here - U3A is a good one.... I know if not working I could be tempted to make use of a nationwide free bus pass! A friend of mine is constantly toddling off all over the place with hers.
    I hope I don't sound glib, nor making light of the feelings you are experiencing but as someone said.... take a breath and look around at everything around us - and be grateful to being here still to appreciate and experience it :)
  10. chelsea2

    chelsea2 Star commenter

    Get a campervan!
    Off to drive the NC500 in a few weeks.
  11. InkyP

    InkyP Star commenter

    I retired at 60 and claimed my Teacher's Pension then. I'd better check the date I qualify for the State Pension - sometime in 2021, I think, when I'm 66.
    TCSC47, Lara mfl 05 and agathamorse like this.
  12. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    You should be able to check online when your 'retirement date should be. It's not now usually connected with one's birthday as in the past, but usually a couple of months later at least. My husband's for example is 4 months later.
    InkyP, TCSC47 and agathamorse like this.
  13. Jesmond12

    Jesmond12 Star commenter

    Mrs J got a letter a couple of weeks ago from DWP. It contained details of how to log on to their website to register your account details for payments to be made. (Yes we did check that it was genuine).

    Payments will start in July although Mrs J was 65 in February.
  14. Ivartheboneless

    Ivartheboneless Star commenter

    Have you seen the price of those things? Normal people couldn't afford one. Even hiring one is extortionate.
  15. TCSC47

    TCSC47 Star commenter

    That is one of the reasons we have a caravan. Caravans are a fraction of the cost of a camper van. And we can leave it at a caravan site and drive around the holiday area in our car as opposed to threading through the small village streets in a bulky van and finding no where to park anyway.

    If you go down the Caravan / motor-home route (pun intended), the two major clubs "The Camping and Caravan Club" and "Caravan and Motorhome Club" are excellent value for money.
    Lara mfl 05 likes this.
  16. chelsea2

    chelsea2 Star commenter

    I said 'campervan', not motorhome!

    You don't need a new one - they're vans, so the engine lasts forever. And you don't need anything huge if you're travelling alone (or even as a couple)

    I bought a 2002 Citroen Romahome when I retired 4 years ago for £7k - it was my retirement gift to myself. It's very small (sleeps 2, but that would be a crowd), but has all I need, and is easy to drive (much easier than towing a caravan) and park. It can go on narrow, windy, steep roads, too. There were no caravans on Skye for that reason, but many campervans.

    And my electric bike travels with me so I often don't need to move the van once it's parked, especially for city visits - use the bike or public transport.

    I love it.
  17. racroesus

    racroesus Star commenter

    The hippy trail.
  18. Ivartheboneless

    Ivartheboneless Star commenter

    I'm afraid I would not be interested in a hippy van, cramped and ugly and slow, and having to **** in a bucket. Even £7K is too much, and actually pulling a caravan on British roads! The bypass by me started getting clogged with the bloody things at 11 this morning, it will be stop/start all the way to Snowdonia, poor sad misguided souls! At my age I want real bed, real food and comfort.
    HelenREMfan and Lara mfl 05 like this.
  19. racroesus

    racroesus Star commenter

    Enjoy it.
    Lara mfl 05 and chelsea2 like this.
  20. TCSC47

    TCSC47 Star commenter

    Fair doos. Makes more sense to me than a large motorhome.

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