The question of life expectancy

This month, Lily turns 27. I’m not sure why it’s hitting me so hard this year that she’s growing up, aside from the fact that her being 27 means I’ll be 30 this month, but this year I really am struck by how old we both are getting.

I’ve been asked in the past by friends how long Lily was expected to live. I don’t know the answer, and damned if I’m going to ask my parents. That said, it’s clear that Lily has outlived the pessimistic estimates of various doctors. Her glaucoma pressure was managed (until her retinal detachment, when it ceased to be an issue). Her hydrocephalus was managed. Her epilepsy is, well, mostly controlled. She’s been amazingly resilient to infections (I’m the one who gets sick). Hell, Lily survived an incredibly awful, terrifying fight with Salmonella that had her in the ICU for a bit over a week.

Not only has Lily survived to this point, but she’s managed to thrive, too. She’s in her own apartment, has a busy social calendar, goes out into the community. Her vocabulary continues to increase, her comedic timing is improving, and she’s simply still continuing to grow and develop.

So I don’t dwell on the question of whether this is all something of a miracle. I know that she’s already outlived a lot of early estimates, from the days when she still needed surgeries to add, subtract, or relocate. Strangely, despite my normal pessimism, I never assume that she will not outlive my parents, that we will both do that, the way that typical siblings might do. Lily is tough – she’s got my mom’s persistence and my dad’s stubbornness. While I do rather want her to stop with the screaming-for-manipulation, I look forward to many years of watching her take on the world.

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