Here’s to Your Health


Look, yes you are alive!

Once again, it is “Check Your Meds Day.” The yearly visit, paid for and heartily endorsed by Medicare, to the primary care physician to make sure I am still alive. Each year I visit, I extoll the virtues of my lifestyle just before I pull out the list of all the bodily malfunctions I’m putting up with. Each year the list gets longer. Here’s the myth I doggedly cling to when visiting my doctor for this annual accounting: All my complaints will be carefully scrutinized for any signs of degredation which could be: a) fixed or b) fatal. I always forget that third option: c) ignored. First I have to draw a clock and answer a bunch of questions about my questionable behavior. Then I can see the doctor, who will have to decide if I’m telling the truth or fudging a bit.

There’s a red spot under my tongue. I diligently show it to the doctor. She seems unimpressed. I have a headache. She asks about my vision, my allergies, my stress. I’m stressed, I tell her, because I have a red spot under my tongue…and a headache. “You’re the healthiest person I’ve seen today,” she quips. It’s ten am. I tack on a few more maladies I’ve been suffering from just to give her some justification for taking my Medicare money. No alarms set off. But I get the world’s quickest pelvic exam in deference to my final complaint. And lo, my lady parts do seem to be dipping further into the southern hemisphere. We’ll (meaning me) keep an eye on it, but it seems to be part of the natural drag of gravity, the overall general decrepitude of the aging process. Pelvic floor toning could help keep things in place. These are my marching orders, so it seems.

You should be taking this much

I’m up-to-date on my flu and COVID vaccinations, but my doc likes to give her patients every possible protection under the sun. I had a pneumonia shot last year, so she suggests another one which I hadn’t had yet. How about that Shingles shot? I graciously accept the pheumonia shot but skipped the Shingles due to the grisly side effects listed on the Shingrex commercials in a low, rapid voice. Next year. One per Medicare-paid, annual visit. My arm hurt like hell for four days afterward to the point where I could barely move it. Glad I escaped with just the one. The medication review comes next. What all do I take for those complaints I previously listed? Flonase for my allergies since I don’t want people thinking I’m spreading COVID via my social contact with them. What else? Nothing. Nothing? Nothing. I felt some scrutiny here as I had passed on the shingles shot. Surely there must be other things being taken for all of the malfunctionings I had so carefully listed along with the sagging female baggage. I stood my ground. Nothing. There was a polite shuffling of notes as if to say, I should be taking something for all that list writing.

I moved on to the bloodletting. Some poor tyke was in the chair as I sat waiting for my turn. There seemed to be a lot of placating, cajoling, praising of bravery and sticker awarding. I could tell the kid was nobody’s fool. There was someone with a needle reaching for his arm. I felt his pain in both the jab and the betrayal. Phooey on Bluey–seemed like an unfair trade. But he walked away with his sticker and his pride. I wondered if they had any Dora the Explorer stickers as I took his place on the throne. Since my mom wasn’t there to hold my hand, I had to go it alone. I have a median cubital vein most phlebotomists dream of, so it should all go easy. I tend to look away as I can’t abide watching the needle piercing my skin, which is not quite as brave as the kid before me. Later in the day I had what looked like the aftermath of a self-inflicted dose of heroin. I gave him my pristine, protruding vein and he awarded me with a desperate, alleyway-administered needle wound. Yay for long sleeves.

Please, contort yourself in this manner

A week later, I find myself obeying the order for a yearly mammogram. The mammogram hasn’t changed much, annoyance speaking, since my first foray into receiving radiation in the name of prevention. I soften the experience by going to the breast cancer center, where they have an office dedicated to this procedure. It has its own parking lot. And, I have rarely seen more than a couple women, waiting for their turn to be squished and mashed into compliance, in the spacious waiting area. It’s quiet there. I choose this atmosphere over the waiting room at the hospital diagnostic center, where one has to linger in the parking lot for a car to pull out in order to get a space and where hundreds of diagnostic procedures take place rendering the waiting room to standing room only status.

As I have described in previous blog stories, this procedure is somewhat grueling. My shoulders no longer appreciate the contortionist-type maneuvers they must perform in order to get into the exact right position for screening. The latest order I was given during this current showdown was to stick my butt out like I wanted to bend forward. I do not usually want to bend forward into any contraption made of metal and plastic. I did my best. Results would be mailed.

Which icon do I need?

Given all the advances in medical science, we will soon be diagnosing our own maladies. Or at least, some AI robotic doctor replacements will be telling us what ails us. Already you can review the number of steps you take, your heart rate, how much oxygen you are gulping in and how much carbon dioxide you are spewing out or the effectiveness or futility of today’s workout. All this on a little watch-type device. There are apps that allow you to see how your heart is functioning (or malfunctioning) right on your phone. Blood glucose? Device for that. Temperature taking has been around for awhile, but perhaps it’s more fun to stick that thing in your ear. Weight gain/loss monitoring beyond the bathroom scale is now a thing. Want to feed your self-obsessive cumpulsions? There’s an app for that.

I do my best to maintain homeostasis. I look both ways when crossing the street and I cross most streets while I am out on my daily walks. I eat mostly vegan foods, but I do still enjoy a pizza, fritatta or dollop of honey in my tea once in a while. I keep a regular sleep schedule and I enjoy hanging out with my friends and/or strangers on a regular basis. If writing a blog is considered meaningful work, I got that. Teaching fall-prevention and tai chi classes are the icing on that cake–which I sometimes eat when it’s somebody’s birthday and I don’t have to bake it myself. I go through my dutiful rounds of checking the various body parts with medical professionals so as to ward off the evil spirits.

Here's to Your Health

Good health is something to be savored, even if the definition of such slides a bit with age. Life is now “managed” for as long a perpetuation as is possible. Getting out of the house is still easily accomplished, and many activities still include beer and moving about town. That’s why we had a brewery installed down the street from our neighborhood, within walking (crawling) distance. It’s all about perspective. Won’t you join us for some healthy visiting and sipping? (As long as it doesn’t mess with your meds!)




  1. We’d love to stop by your pub!! Yearly exams….. yeah, mostly questions…. Never has my pelvic region been examined…. Next week. And my pelvic floor is getting toned?!?

    Love this piece.


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