When Time Goes Faster Than The Clock on the Wall]\
It’s beginning to feel like time is on a supersonic path moving faster than I ever remember it moving before. The clock on the wall seems to be running at a normal speed so I have to wonder if it’s my clock that is running faster.
Today I took some time out of my not so busy life and met with some old photographer friends who are some of the top pros as well as highly successful.
It was good to see old friends, some of which I have not been in contact with for several years because of health issues, mine and theirs.
We looked back on our photo journalistic and artistic lives, what we accomplished, what were our successes and failures. We laughed about the crazy things that happened to us and, at the same time, sadly remembered those that had gone before us.
Have we changed? Of course! We are much older, move slower, carry lighter equipment, and negotiate the ravages of old age.
In the meantime photography gear has become highly advanced, with a lot more technology ahead, and have helped extend the lives of ancient photographers through auto focus, aperture priority, lighter weight APS and FULL FRAME mirrorless cameras. Even camera bags have become lighter weight as well as tripods. Was it planned for the baby boomers? Of course not! But it sure helps.
So we sat around with several Triple Grande Lattes in a favorite coffee house as opposed to many years ago what would have been beers and single malt liquor in a favorite bar. We compared notes not only on what we are doing photographically today, but what we find has become physical and health limitations to many older photographers like ourselves. No one gets spared either because of genetics or the misuse of our bodies.
Bad backs are a given if like us you have carried around heavy camera gear over the years, made mis-steps twisting our body in a way it wasn’t meant to be twisted, and pulled heavy roller case out of the back of a car. What is interesting about the roller case is it is touted as being a safe and easy way to haul around your gear. What isn’t touted as loudly is getting the easy to use roller bag in and out of your vehicle.
Over the years, my prior heroics as a photographer led to neck surgery, lumbar surgery (with lots of titanium hardware) and arthritis to body parts that were invincible and immortal 50 years ago.
So what does this all lead up to? It leads up to you and me. I hope your health and ability to get around and do the things you love to do has come along with your years. Sometimes the drawbacks of becoming a senior member of our society is challenging to say the least. However, if you do have difficulties being who your were and doing the things you have liked to do then it is important to understand that you have to partner with your medical folks to help find a solution or solutions to your difficulties if at all possible before it is too late to fix.
Through what I have to consider to be a failed lower back surgery several years ago and neuropathy the nerves in my body have become warriors against my health army and have left me in chronic pain. I used to believe that any kind of pain could be worked through to let me do what I love to do, but over the past few months I have found that not to be the case. When I was in my twenties though my fifties I knew my parents and grandparents suffered from different ailments but not once did I ever consider that those ailments would be in many cases exactly what I would suffer through in my later years. I think they call that the immortal syndrome.
And here I am today, thinking about you as photographers and me as someone who would give anything to be able to concentrate on my photography and my teaching.
Suffering with chronic nerve pain combined with other things like arthritis makes doing what I love difficult. I am a doctor person. I do not wait. I get to my doctor when things are not right as well as my regular physical every year. My primary doctor has struggled with getting me back on track and has sent me for a variety tests and specialized doctors.
I have had surgery on my leg veins, a full body bone scan, MRIs, Xrays, drugs, spinal injections, and I am now preparing for a trial with the use of a Medtronics Neurostimulator. It is a device that is supposed to be able to send signals through the spine to fool the pain receptors into not firing or should I say misfiring and thereby eliminating some of the pain that makes walking, sitting, sleeping, being awake pretty tough.
If you suffer from spinal and nerve issues you may want to check this out.
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The final word here is do not wait thinking that what you are suffering from will get better or just go away or something you have to live with. There are solutions to chronic pain but everyone and every case is different. But fight not to suffer. I shall be back teaching and shooting in hopefully a couple to three months.
Stay healthy and work at it. If you have been fortunate not to suffer with aches and pains as well as other ailments, that is great but I have the same advice for those that don’t and those that do. Don’t let small issues turn into big issues.