Tuesday, April 09, 2019

After A Certain Age

I don't like going to see the doctor. Not that I resent or mistrust the medical profession. I appreciate all the science that has gone into taking me from the cradle to the place I find myself currently, perhaps a little closer to the grave, but we'll speak of that later. I don't like going to the doctor because they inevitably put their big medical science finger right in the spot where I am most vulnerable. And that's about the time that they begin to explain that "after a certain age" our parts begin to wear out and while there are plenty of things that can be done to mitigate the process of aging, I'm still running on parts made in the mid twentieth century.
Let's take my recent battle with gravity as an example. Initial examination of my vitals suggested that I was "a pretty healthy guy," according to the ER doc. So why was I falling over and clinging to the carpet? "After a certain age" those tiny crystals of calcium carbonate located in your inner ear can shake loose and travel into the canals that sense your head's rotation. Once my little crystal was shaken back into its place, I asked if there wasn't something that could be done to keep it from happening again. The long pause after the "well" was the message being sent to my mid twentieth century brain that this was another in a string of acceptance issues that I was going to be wrestling with until my bionic replacement was ready. 
Just about every time I go out for a run there is a moment where I imagine my younger self chugging along past me as my pace begins to slow, almost imperceptibly. Except to me. I know that I used to get around this circuit or that mile more quickly than I am currently. That was before I had knee surgery. That was before I was thirty. Forty. Fifty. Now I congratulate myself for lacing up my shoes and getting out three or four times a week to prove to the world and myself that I am still mobile. I ride my bike to and from school, though it takes a few more gears than it used to. 
The Rolling Stones had to postpone a world tour because their lead singer Mick Jagger needed heart surgery. Mick had a valve replaced so that he could get up in front of thousands of fans and continue to shake his moneymaker and sing Satisfaction one more time. By all accounts, Mister Jagger is a "pretty healthy guy." Who happens to be seventy-five years old. Keith Richards continues to survive on transfusions of blood from six year olds, but that's another matter.
Though now that I think of it, making a deal with Satan may alleviate some of the stress I feel about going to the doctor. 

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