Ask Dr. Christina: My Integrity and Self-Worth Are Being Compromised by My Health Problems


Dr. Christina:

I’m a 92-year old male who used to be worth something.

I was a pilot in World War II and then an FBI agent. My wife just died a year ago and now I feel I have no dignity left. You see, I fell and broke my hip. Since then, my health has been failing.

I used to live by myself, but now after going through rehab, I moved to an assisted living center. Since then, I have fallen again and broken my back. Many people come to visit me at the hospital, including my children and grandchildren and great grandchildren. I am comforted by their visits, but I still feel worthless.

I don’t feel like I have any more purpose in life. I no longer feel like a man. I remember when they took away my life—that was my car—and said it was no longer safe for me to drive. I felt my independence leave me when they did that, and now I can’t even go to the bathroom without needing someone else to help me clean up myself when I’m done. I know there is no answer; just the frustration of getting old, and death does not seem to be near. I was using my computer and I found your site. I decided to say to you that I am lost as to why I’m even here now in the hopes you could help me understand all of this.



Leo, I feel your pain and despair. I wish there could be a simple answer. As each year passes, I too wonder how my independence continues to be jeopardized.

What so impresses me about you is that though your body may be failing, your ability to write me is beautiful and your mind is still intact. Therefore, there is so much wisdom you must possess and appear to be able to share with others.

There are times when we do not understand why a young person is taken from us. Then there are those of us who, like you, persist and continue to be here without an understanding of why we’re still here.

I truly believe there is still a purpose and mission for you being here, as opposed to feeling like you have none now as you stated in your letter. You have so many great grandchildren and children that come to visit you. The thought of you sharing your stories of being an FBI agent or the World War II tales you can tell firsthand are so important to us, for you lived in a time that a lot of us have no clue about and what it was like back then. Perhaps recording your stories will enable us, and generations to come, to understand what it was like for you and others like you then. I can envision the knowledge, wisdom, insights and strategies you possess that you can share with others.

I imagine that there are others in the assisted living or the rehab center that are worse off than you, for they are probably unable to speak or perhaps even write. Others may not even know how to use a computer like you do. You still have much to give and the capacity to give it, unlike they do.

I can understand your frustration with the fact that you’re still with us. I want to encourage you and support you with this gentle suggestion: if there is any way that you are able to seek out one passion that you still have left, share that passion and desire with your children. Perhaps those will be the final memories and the legacy you can leave with them.

Your personal legacy can help those of us who are left behind, whether it’s insight into what the war was like (which most of us who are younger have no concept of) or what times were like during your younger years during the Golden Ages of radio, television, comedy, entertainment and more.

There are not many of us who live to be in our 90s, so if you can share with us how you survived this long, that too is definitely something many can benefit from.

Share your stories. Do not let them be hidden from the world. Share your memories for the history of mankind. They will allow us to learn from you about what life was like back then, historically, prior to the onset of this high tech world that we and our children live in now. Don’t let us forget what life has been like for you to live.

Take the time to grieve for the loss of your wife, your car, and the days when you were able to move around with much more freedom and independence. Don’t make any hasty judgments as to your purpose now.

You are like a diamond …You have so many facets of wisdom that you can share, even with all of your personal incapacities and discomfort. Do not give up. Your mind can help your body, just as your body can help your mind. You are worth more than what you think.

I hope I have helped to peak some interest in your purpose now, and I wish you a speedy recovery.

You are in my thoughts,

Dr. Christina

  • Posted By: doctorc
  • Tags: assisted living children death despair frustration grandchildren great grandchildren health health problems hip independence insights integrity legacy life purpose memories old age oldd rehab self-worth share your memories share your stories stores stories wisdom
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