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Weekend reading: Don’t get ill

Money articles

My regular Saturday comment followed by this week’s blog and financial site links.

I missed doing the Weekend Review last Saturday due to being away for work, and then by Sunday I was coming down with flu. By Monday I was dying good and proper, as only a man with a cold can.

Health is the most precious thing in this life. A cliche I know — if you want to stitch it into one of those wall hangings old people used to hang above their beds, perhaps with a picture of a dozing dormouse, be my guest. It’s true.

I would give all my wealth for the guarantee of never being ill again (perhaps reluctantly compromising on some termination clause, such as a piano dropping on my head or a date with the proverbial bus).

If you don’t feel the same, you probably haven’t been ill recently. The speed with which your world closes in is always shocking. And the clarity and sparkle of the world as you return to health seems like special effects.

Inevitably, I thought of my father.

Long-suffering readers may remember he had a heart attack this time last year, went into a coma, then recovered slowly to plateau at about the physical strength of a 90-year old man (he’s late 60s), with a mental age that could vary from all the wisdom of those years down to the logic of a 4-year old.

The last couple of months have been about decline. He suffers strange things, such as his hands curling up like claws — he can only use two fingers on each, and that thanks to a daily massage from my mum. Various doctors are stumped.

We also think he had a mini stroke last week. He’s more confused than ever.

On a brighter note, we got the result of a scan that says he hasn’t got tumors in his lungs. New lumps are in his bones, which is apparently better. On the other hand, he’s too weak for the open heart surgery that prompted the scans. And his doctor doesn’t think the risk and hardship is worth it, given his likely lifespan.

The thought that my dad won’t walk back out into the metaphorical sunshine like I have in the past 24 hours is terrible. But that’s the deal with old age, I guess. There’s no point taking it personally.

I try to avoid writing about my father too much but I genuinely could write that money is not the point every week. On this, a financial blog.

That’s not why you come here though, and in truth it’s not what I spend the week thinking about either. Life goes on.

But if money — which gives us more options, freedoms, health care, food, novels — is not the point, then cheap designer tat, having a better holiday than your friends, and driving a brand new car certainly isn’t, either.

And so on we go, Monevators!

From this week’s personal finance blogs

  • I just fired myself (Who’s next?) – WP writing at Frugal Dad
  • How working overseas boosts your career – Brip Blap

Other interesting financial and money articles

  • Investing in frontier markets – FT
  • John Lee’s love affair with property shares – FT
  • Buffett triples profits thanks to derivative gains – Bloomberg
  • British pair share record £91 million lottery jackpot – Telegraph
  • Ethical travel firm drops CO2 offsetting – Independent

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{ 10 comments… add one }
  • 1 Molly November 7, 2009, 3:53 pm

    I’m a new reader enjoying your posts. Just wanted to reach across the Atlantic and extend my sympathies to you and your family, and especially your dad. Intrigued because this is all too familiar, I read your original “Money can’t buy me love” post -it’s very eloquent… Again, best wishes to you all during a really tough time. Cherish one another and these moments.

  • 2 The Investor November 7, 2009, 5:32 pm

    Thanks Molly, most kind of you.

  • 3 Financial Samurai November 7, 2009, 8:27 pm

    I wish your father the best of health. It’s scary how quickly time flies. Hang in there!

  • 4 Steve November 7, 2009, 9:38 pm

    Wow, excellent point you’ve made in this article and in the “money can’t buy me love” article. I think it’s a point that needs to be made by almost all personal finance blogs on a regular basis. Not even the “I enjoy activities that don’t cost money” types of articles, but a reminder that some things have nothing to do with money one way or the other.

    Good luck to your father, and to your mother – seeing my grandmother deal with my grandfather as he declined prior to his death made me realize that providing lots of care is physically exhausting. That would be bad enough without the emotional toll exacted. People do it for those they love, of course, but short of caring for a dying child I can’t imagine anything more difficult than trying to care for a slowly failing spouse. It’s tough on everyone, and you and your family have my sympathy.

  • 5 MDJ November 7, 2009, 11:11 pm

    Thanks for the mention!

  • 6 grover November 8, 2009, 5:30 pm

    Money is useless if not shared, to better experience the world with loved ones. Conversely, caring for a loved one can be more rewarding than anything in the world.

    Best of luck from a different ex-colony.

  • 7 FB @ FabulouslyBroke.com November 9, 2009, 9:53 pm

    You really loved that post of mine, eh? 🙂

    I think it’s a thorny issue between couples with SO many incredible points of view from men and women.

    I sound pretty black & white on the issue, but that’s because I’ve never had any experience to dictate otherwise.

    I have earned more AND earned less than my partner, and in both cases, I want to pay 50% of all the bills within reason.

    Thanks for the link 🙂

  • 8 The Investor November 10, 2009, 10:20 am

    Thanks for your thoughts everyone. Steve – I agree, even though I’ve seen it unfold with my parents (and been amazed at their strength, particularly my mother’s, of course) I still can’t quite imagine how hard it is. I keep trying to imagine the moment they met, and then a flash forward to today. But I guess the strength comes from everything the flash-forward skips by. Or maybe it’s because there’s no choice? I don’t know.

  • 9 The Digerati Life November 12, 2009, 3:18 am

    So sorry to hear about your dad. It’s one thing that I find hard to think about… the aging process — not just what’s in store for my parents but also what’s in store for me and my own kids over the next several decades. I’m particularly anxious because I’m a first generation immigrant whose parents live elsewhere.

    I’d like to send you and your family good thoughts.

  • 10 The Investor November 15, 2009, 11:23 am

    @The Digerati Life – Thank you for your kind thoughts and words. It must be very hard to know your parents are getting old elsewhere. One of my parents was in a similar position, and it produced difficult ‘either/or’ choices with no ideal solution. I hope you find a solution that works well enough for you.

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