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Three score and ten or more

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Geezer/Coot Routine Maintenance

I have not quite finished the story of the last couple of weeks in Finland. I apologize. (I am not sure who/what is trying to finish who/what, but it "is writer's blocking" me) I am going back for a while to the regular Three Score and Ten or more commentary on the survival processes of Geezers and Coots.

Go to any hospital and look around you will find geezers and coots in abundance (Remember, from past discussions, every coot begins as a geezer. Attitude defines the difference between the two, or the progression from one to the other. In some cases, one can be both) The hospital, clinic or doctor's office is, to the Coot, what Meineke or Express Tune and Lube is to the driver of an automobile. The difference being that if one takes the car to the Tune and Lube every three thousand miles one has every right to expect reasonable use and activity between lubes. Being a Coot, however, means that one can expect to return to the personal tune and lube shop (hospital or clinic) more frequently and on an erratic schedule. There are still the regularly scheduled items (flu shots, physicals, cardiograms, eye and hearing checks, teeth cleaning, and even the regularly scheduled colonoscopy) but the Coot is to the hospital somewhat like the restored Model A Ford is to the garage. He/she ends up there on an irregular schedule because the valves, radiator, or other parts have reached the end of the period of definite viability and tend to give way by surprise. The scheduled maintenance can help, but every once in awhile one of the working parts just "poops out". This is the kind of thing that happened to Janet with the aortal aneurism.

She had been through routine maintenance (She had a physical, complete with EKG, stress test, blood work, and all the other stuff) just two weeks before departure, but suddenly a hose blew that no one was expecting, and the repair was way beyond routine maintenance.

On the other hand, I have come to the conclusion that, after seventy (and even after sixty), some things that sound pretty radical become routine. Among these are the cardio catherization including scraping out plaque and the applicaton of stents to keep the arteries open. Even arterial bypasses have become so common that you frequently find coots sitting around comparing bypass stories. It is reasonable. You are unlikely to find a thirty four Ford running that has not had, in addition to routine lubes, valve jobs, and tune ups, a head gasket replacement, new piston rings rod bearings (think cardio work) and even wheel bearings (think knee replacement), as well as careful paintjobs and restoration of fenders or body (botox, hair dye, and cosmetic dentistry). The human body wears out just like the automobile. (Well, not JUST like, but you get the idea.)

It is even true that discovery of one problem and lead to repair of a different one. I was in the habit of walk/jogging (walk a block jog a block) a couple of miles every day, when I encountered a thing called epididimitis (I will not explain, but it is painful, and mine resisted to the degree that I took week or two week courses of almost every known antibiotic). This particular disease makes walking painful and the walk/jog routine went by the boards. At the end of six months, with the consultation of several urologists, the disease was conquered and I determined to start walk/jogging again.

I went out the first day, and jogged two blocks before my right arm began to really ache in the tricep area. I decided I had pulled something, walked home, took an aspirin and went about my business. The next day, I put on my sweats in the morning and went off to jog again. At almost the exact place on the track, my right arm began to ache again. (This made me a little nervous just because, a few years ago, a good friend, who was a health nut, was running his usual five to ten miles in the morning and his arm just broke, in the bicep area. It turned out to be the result of bone cancer and his funeral was about two weeks later.) so I decided to go talk to my GP and see if anything might be wrong. Within four days, I had received a quadruple bypass and the orderly was trying to pry me out of my hospital bed to walk to the bathroom. You see what I mean about the failure of one part leading to the repair of another. But that is the kind of thing that happens in the routine maintenance of coots and geezers (and cootesses and geezerettes if you think of these terms in a sexist manner, which, of course, I do not.)


At 12:33 AM, Blogger Mahndisa S. Rigmaiden said...

03 19 07

Hey Richard:
I guess blogger corrected the lack of posting options. Cool! What an interesting post! It seems like we laugh to keep from crying at the inevitability of our physical death because there are so many lessons along the way. There is certainly a culture of coots that I have been able to observe in and out of hospitals throughout my life. But there are coots that are coots due to sickness and not age. I am turning into one of them. Sometimes I find that I listen to the war stories or give some myself all in good fun at the waiting room.

You write with such a humorous edge, yet the subject matter is so heavy. Thanks for lightening up this soul today. Best wishes for a wonderful week!

At 6:38 AM, Blogger Gayle said...

Good morning, Richard.

Mahndisa is exactly right: your writing is always a pleasure to read regardless of the subject. You have a fine talent.

Five years ago, suddenly and without warning, my right rotator cuff went out and it took months of physical therapy to set it right. They said it would take at least 2 years, but because I didn't simply rely on their therapy, but did excercises at home too, it only took six months. This year my left rotator cuff went out, again without any warning and for no particular reason. In other words, I'm not putting any extra stress on my shoulders. It's part of the problem of being a Cootesse, I guess. :)

I'm going to look up "epididimitis" as you aroused my curiosity.

At 6:41 AM, Blogger Gayle said...

Okay, I looked up epididimitis. I do believe it's one disease I will not have to worry about. It sounds horrible!


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