Life is a hoot

So I struggle to get around, and I have to use my channel-locks to get the cap off a ketchup bottle. Fabulous.

In the past month:

  1. A 16-inch dbh tree blew over onto my dog fence. Result: I have to cut the tree up and drag it away, and I have to redo about 75 feet of 6’ fence, posts and all.

  2. The plumbing in the basement associated with my pump is all getting old and springing leaks. Result: I have to replumb the whole mess: pressure tank, controls, pipe, wiring, check valve, etc. A year ago this would have been nothing to me.

  3. The sill on my woodshed has rotted and cracked. Result: I have to jack it up, put in a needle beam, hack off the sill, and replace it, wrestling 6x6’s like I’m some teenager (I’m 72), and crawling around in the dirt with my sawzall.

My wife says, “Well you’ll just have to hire somebody.” I know that’s a perfectly reasonable idea, but all my life I have done all my own work on everything. I’ve always LIKED it when something needs work: something to do, and cheaper, by far. A chance to show off, I suppose.

I tell myself that I’ll get this stuff done, but I’m beginning to think I might not, which makes me sad. I’ve always been the guy everybody used to call for help with stuff. Now I’m the guy who has to ask his wife to carry in the birdseed (happened an hour ago). I hate this disease. I hope I can adjust.


Wow… you would do these things on your own? I can’t imagine that…

It must be so hard to not be able to do these things anymore! But think of it this way: does doing it yourself now make you happier?

A coworker of mine always did his whole garden himself… but every year he hated it more and more… until he even considered selling the house and buying one without a garden… He is so much happier now that he hires someone for the big projects!

Don’t look at it as a failure or giving up… look at it as taking care of yourself and your house/land and making sure you are happy :blush: (which is so much easier said then done!)

Oh, my… I really understand how you feel… my dad (now 87) has altziemers/dementia and has had to be banned from touching screwdrivers… he used to fix EVERYTHING but got to the stage where he decided to FIX things that weren’t even broken, and always ended up with “spare parts” that the item “didn’t really need anyways” :laughing: So I have needed to learn to do things myself now from dropping trees, cutting firewood, fixing minor plumbing issues, replacing electrical switches etc etc etc… I (a woman), am often called to a friends (a man) house to help build a fence, fix his hot water cylinder valve etc etc… now my hips are making it difficult for getting up off the floor/climbing ladders etc and my hands sometimes make some of the finer motor skills difficult… geezz I even find opening jars of jam tricky sometimes… frustrating to say the least!!
I’m sure we can adjust, I guess it will just take time… that sense of loss of independence is a hard one for sure!!
Hang in there Kutya!! Be thankful that at least you know “how” to do the jobs, perhaps there is a young person in your area who would love to help you with some of those jobs, in return for learning the skills from your years of experience?
Just a thought :slight_smile:


I’ve never been one to enjoy relaxation in the usual sense: I’m not sure I even know what it means! I’m happiest doing something. I’m making a real effort at learning to enjoy doing things SLOWLY, sort of staying content in the moment rather than roaring on to to the next thing. I’m making some headway, I think, in this. I’m also trying to do things which are not physically demanding, teaching adult ed classes, that sort of thing. I miss teaching school anyway - 35 years, English and philosophy - so that’s an outlet as well. I’m stubborn, so I’ll probably figure something out, though like most people, I’d kinda like to be a perpetually healthy thirty-year-old. Not an offer on the table, though!

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Well, I love projects too (even though I’m actually not much good at them, and mine are like “paint a pot plant” :joy:).

Over time, what I’ve learnt is to identify the things that I didn’t like that I was doing that were sucking energy out of me, particularly on a regular basis, and making me sore and need recovery time, then I outsourced those, instead of the projects I like. So for me, that’s the mowing and the housecleaning. So one option, is to think of the physical stuff you like doing least and / or that hurts most for the least reward, and outsource that instead. Then see if you can still get some of the projects done you like.

And yes, sometimes I do re-clean the shower, but it is worth it just to not have to do the vaccuming (I mean, who invented that torture???).


Hi Kutya,

anytime you and your Mrs would like a little ‘holiday’ in England (a couple of months should do it) please let me know & we’ll be delighted to offer bed & board. We are by the sea, if that helps. Additionally we can offer numerous fun experiences namely decorating, plumbing, roofing, heavy-duty gardening, replacing sewage pipes, numerous carpentry jobs etc. etc. Oh, and the car is on it’s last legs so how are you on motor mechanics?

Frankly I think you’re doing pretty damn well! Your post made me unsure whether to laugh or cry. I’m 62 and in recent years doctors preface sentences with ‘as we get older …’, and then proceed to attribute things that I am sure are mainly due to PsA to ageing. This didn’t happen nearly as much until my 60th birthday.

I think I’ve had PsA a long time but I’ve always been very physically strong and I love physical work. Well, sometimes I hate it but I love the results and the sense of achievement. Some days I dig trenches and climb ladders (we’re doing up our cantankerous old house, as you’ve probably gathered), other days I have to slope off and sit down after 10 minutes of toil or ask my husband to help me lift a saucepan off the stove. That’s PsA for you … but it’s not the worst of PsA, so ultimately I know I am very lucky.

That’s it exactly! Seems to me that working at an even pace, being mindful of things like posture and technique, actually improves my PsA symptoms, often enough. But doing things awkwardly or in a mad rush, pushing way past tiredness etc. make it worse. Sometimes you just want to go at things like a bat out of hell, if possible. But my body learns faster than my stupid brain and I am using my strength and so on more effectively these days, if that’s adjustment. And sounds like you’re doing that too.

“But my body learns faster than my stupid brain and I am using my strength and so on more effectively these days, if that’s adjustment. And sounds like you’re doing that too.” - Sybil

I’m trying to! It’s not easy, though, to refashion your temperament at the pace PsA demands. To some extent, I’m trying to take positive interest in the problems PsA presents. I have always loved solving problems. I’ve drawn up a plan for dragging those timbers around, for example, with the most beautifully elaborate array of jacks, cables, levers, and hoists: such fun! Some things, though, I’m just going to lose. I’ve always hiked a lot of mountains in the summer, for example, and there are some peaks and places I know I’ll just never see again. I suppose (though I have not willingly accepted) that this is inevitable as one ages, PsA aside. Understanding this intellectually is of limited help, though, as I am sure you understand.

I love England, though I think I love the England more of my bookish imagination than the actual present iteration. I feel that way about a lot of things, though. Who knows? I might just show up with my kit to see to those seaside sewer pipes!

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I’m trying to find pleasure in smaller work. One of my hobbies is restoring
old sewing machines, for example, and I’ve been spending more and more
time at that. I’m even building a special sit-down workbench just for that
sort of work. I’ve even thought about paying a tree company - one I worked
for for a couple of years - to carry off the pine tree lying there in my
front yard, but I haven’t accepted the idea yet. The company is now run by
the sons of the guy who ran it when I worked there. The father is dead now:
he was a genuine bull when I knew him. Hiring his sons might, I suppose,
feel like an admission that I’m sort of an ex-bull myself, if you catch my

Well, I’m trying to keep a sense of humor about it all, and everyone tells
me how well I’m dealing with it all, but there’s an effort they don’t see
which is wearing me out little. I think I have to strike a better balance
between accepting and fighting my decline and mortality.

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Yep, I get the admission bit. Whilst painting a pot plant might be an interesting project for me now, … well, most of you understand the before and after.

It’s not an easy thing, no matter how it happens. For me, it was at age 38, when I couldn’t pick up my 2 year old daughter when I got home from work - I used to (slowly) sit on the floor so she could climb in my lap.

I think I’d been doing it for a week by the time I really actually clicked… and spent the night crying.

Things are better now, but at least as much from my active management (working part time, pacing, sleep, hot packs… the list goes on :joy::joy::joy:), as from the medications (though I could not do the management without them).


Well, I travelled to some amazing places for work. I worked 14 hours a day. I started our Lister (a very ancient type of deisel generator with a hand compression crank), solo. I drove my 4WD through floodwaters (after tediously checking them on foot first, of course), I climbed hills and mountains, I sailed the whitsundays, I travelled as a backpacker through SE Asia and S America, I could fix a fuel pump in the middle of the desert, and deal with 4 flat tires in one day, and still get back to camp (yes, this really happened), I could pretty much do a Macgyver on all sorts of things!

And after…

For years, I was unsure and not confident. It was pretty clear I was never starting a Lister solo again. But…as the medication started to work…

I worked in Burkina Faso, in West Africa - some days for 12 hours, some for 6. I went sailing in the whitsundays again. And I was able to pick up my daughter again.

I changed some things about my life, that were far harder than a lister, some plumbing, or a flat tyre (or 4), but I couldn’t do it without help. The admission is hard to make, but when you ask for help, and people give it freely, that is one of the nicest feelings in the world :blush:


I know it’s a big, unwelcomed, change to not be able to do things you used to do but my suggestion is to stop doing them and save your energy for things you enjoy rather than chores (even when you enjoy the fixing-things-up chores).

As a poor personal example, I have lymph edema in my arm. This is causes internal swelling and pain from nerves that become compressed from the swelling. The nerves often fire for no good reason because of the compression, I zig when I should have zagged and picking up that dishcloth makes my arm swell like crazy. Annoying? Absolutely! But over the years I have learned to only do things that either can’t be avoided or things I know (or at least have very good odds) will not flare my arm. I don’t lift the bags of dog food any longer. I carry groceries only with the other arm. Things like that.

Yes, it’s annoying. Yes, it’s unbelievable that I can’t (well, shouldn’t) lift a bad of dog food. That I have to carry a 2 liter of pop with my right arm, never with my left. But you know what? As I’ve excepted this things have gotten better. I have more control over what happens, when. I guess you can call it learning to live within my limits. And now that I have, I reccommend it highly!

crap… forgot to sign my name… azurelle

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I understand, but I LIKE working at my limits, always have. I like doing things that one person working alone isn’t supposed to be able to do. I’ve put up buildings entirely by myself. Would it have been easier to have gotten help: of course, but I’m not interested in that. I don’t find much contentment in being content. I don’t like to relax, take it easy, do stuff all zen in mindful serenity. If I have to move a ridiculously large rock from point A to point B, I’m a happy guy, so much so that I sometimes decide for no defensibly rational reason to move such rocks. If PsA says I have to become some sort of chillax zenboy, I’m gonna have to decline that pleasure. I am going to find my limits, WHEREVER they now are, and go there. Given who I am, I have no choice, and I am perfectly content with that challenge. I read a story once about Monet, I think it was, who in old age lost much of the use of his hands. He told his caretaker, “Tie the brush to my hand.” That’s what I’m gonna do. There’s gotta be a way to strap a chainsaw to a wheelchair.


I looked up the Lister engine: such a beautiful machine! I love technology of that era, My wife and I had a sheep/angora goat farm without electricity (generator aside) for about eight years: such a charming array of challenges! Now we live in a pretty conventional house with electricity, one sheep, a goose, about thirty chickens, five dogs and a few cats. I still miss the old place though, horrible as it was by any reasonable standard - the well dry two months a year, the septic often frozen - but the challenges of living “substandard” afford such an opportunty to FEEL life in all its actuality. If I could, I’d go back in a minute (wife willing, lol).


for a guy like you who sounds an awful lot like a guy like me. I don’t have a chainsaw anymore. The wife and boys hid it. after nearly cutting of my thumb a few weeks ago the same happened to my table saw. BUT I love a challenge might be why I have a partnership in a neighborhood Backhoe (the snow got out of hand). No rock will defy me now. But I haven’t found a task that can’t be accomplished… But boy have I had to get creative. That in itself is fun…


Wonderful! I used to grab those stones with chains, a stone boat, and a Farmall M, but the tractor is long gone now. I’ve been thinking about getting one of those little Kubota/Kioti 4wd charmers. We’ve shoveled our drive by hand for the past 25 years - since my old GMC plowtruck slipped its timing chain and pranged the valves - but our shoulders are not what they once were! I’m creaky, and my wife is tiny, so well have to come up with something.

Yep, those Listers were amazing. Darn hard to start in the cold, but seriously unbreakable machines that will just chug along forever (I know a few people who still have them as back-up generators on stations). And BTW I’m only 42 now, “that Era” wasn’t so long ago in the Australian outback :joy::joy:

Thats we have and every attachment they make Can’t recommend enough. Sharing with 3 of my neighbors also has a lot of advantages.

Sounds great. Here’s hoping the Outback can elude “progress” for a while longer!. Why, I imagine there are people there who still know how to drive a nail and use a sewing awl!

I’m guessing so, I still haven’t learnt how to use a nail gun, I had the dumpy hammer from my camping kit and a pack of nails out only yesterday trying to mend my fence! I didn’t realise quite how old-school I am :joy::joy:

I just got into nail guns. The little 18-gauge brad drivers are really handy for tacking stuff together. It’s hard, though, to nail something together with precision using a framing nailer: they go bang and stuff jumps a bit. Still, If you’re looking to slam something together in jig time, they’re great. I’m pretty sure, though, that I’m gonna nail my finger to something at some point. The other day I drilled a hole through my finger. Such a fuss (I’m on two immunosupressants). They scrubbed and prodded and stitched up a storm! It’s healing fine now, after a week. I get a lot of eye rolls from the medical community. I suspect they wish I were a knitter or something.