Posted tagged ‘health’

Stars for President

January 9, 2018

There is a scene in the film Back to the Future that I think of often lately.  In it, Marty McFly, after traveling to the past in a time machine invented by Doc Brown, is trying to convince a much younger Doc that he is indeed from the future by knowing the president of the United States in the future.

The scene is actually funnier here in 2018 than it was in 1985 given the propensity of show business types to decide that, based on their vast experience in the make believe world of show business, they should bring their questionable talents to government.   If that sentence doesn’t give you a hint how I feel about the trend, then go back and read it again.



Eye’s a Romantic

September 10, 2014

A week ago, I posted about the issues I was having with my vision, a large number of very small gray spots drifting around in my field of view like Gray Snow.  Fortunately, my optometrist was available to do a retinal exam and reassure me that they were either floaters or products of an ocular migraine.  When I saw my regular doctor for a checkup on Thursday, he recommended I see an opthamologist and sent in a referral (since my Medicare supplement is an HMO).  On Tuesday afternoon, saw my new ophthalmologist who is about my daughter’s age and just as cute (don’t tell my daughter I said that).   During the very thorough exam, she suddenly asked, Are you a romantic?   It seemed like an odd question from an eye doctor.  I guess I am, I said.  Why?   The blood vessels form perfect heart in the center of your right retina just like a Valentine, she answered, sounding just a little excited.  I’ve heard of this but I’ve never seen it before.

So when the examination was over, she put the retinal photos on the computer screen and there it was:

retina heart

And even better, my retina has no problems.  Which makes me one happy old romantic.

Talking to Machines

July 23, 2014

robbyI would say that the odds of a call on our house phone being for me are about 30 to 1 … and that about half the calls are from telemarketers.   At least half the telemarketer calls are telemarketing for charities.   Then there are the customer service calls.  You know.  This is Joe Abegotz, President of Acura of Orange County.  I’m calling to thank you for you past business and ask you to rate our service at  The boss expects us to get all tens so please answer honestly.   That’s why I love caller ID … I can screen my calls before answering.   On few occasions that I do answer, I try to be polite if the caller is human.  If the call is for a charity we support, I may even promise to make a contribution.  If someone is selling, say, solar panels, I wait until they take a breath and say, I’m really not interested.   They are trained to plunge ahead in the face of such adversity, and depending on my mood, I’ll give them one or two more No thank yous, then I hang up.  Politeness has its limits.   Then there are those calls where I find myself Talking to Machines.  Unlike the early computer generated voices which sounded as if you were talking to Robby the Robot, modern computer voices can sound like real people and they sometimes fool me.  I offer a How are you today? or an I’m not really interested only to be ignored.  Eventually, the voice asks a question and says, Please answer yes or no.  Speak clearly.  Yep.  I’m Talking to Machines. (more…)

Deja Vu Two

May 3, 2014

soccer1About thirty years ago, I was coaching my son, Aaron’s, soccer team.  He was about ten.  We decided it would be a good idea to have a parent – child game just for the fun of it.  I was waiting for someone to pass me the ball when I felt a sharp pain in the back of my calf.  After years of filching golf balls and caddying at the public golf course near my parent’s house, I immediately thought someone had hit me with a golf ball but when I turned to see, there was no one there.  I sat out the rest of the game and had to have several of the other Dads help me to my car afterwards.  That night, I couldn’t walk … I went out to the theater with Muri on crutches. (more…)

Rashes Not Roofs

January 23, 2014
Not These ...

Not These …

Imagine a submicroscopic life form that travels by air, attacking children and young adults with a nasty rash of itchy, raw pockmarks.   Although the rash and symptoms may disappear in matter of days, this organism hides in the facial and spinal nerves of the victim, lying dormant for years.   Then, when the victims’ immune systems weaken due to disease, medications or age, it awakens to cause a painful rash and, sometimes, lasting nerve pain.   The plot of some Sci-fi film like Andromeda Strain or a tale of genetic research gone bad like Outbreak?  Nope.  It’s the varicella zoster virus, the culprit behind Chickenpox. (more…)

Friday Favorites 12/6/2013

December 6, 2013

stethoWhen I was forty, I had a primary physician, Dr. Campagna, who was close to the perfect doctor for me.  He was my doctor.   My only doctor.  Oh, occasionally, I’d have to see a specialist for something … say, a tennis elbow operation or a torn meniscus … but they were one-malady-stands, not my doctors.  Between forty and sixty-nine, I have accumulated a few more medical companions.  There is my cardiologist who looked after me after several panic attacks posing as heart attacks and did a thorough workup when I passed out on my bicycle then crashed into a parked car.  I have my gastroenterologist who probes my insides every five years with a garden hose to make sure nothing unwanted has taken root there.  I acquired my urologist because … well, because an old(er) man needs a urologist.  I’ve heard older people complain about having to see doctors more often … and about the quality of medical care in the United States. I’m not one of those people.  My first sponsor … who is ten years older than I and traveled this path before me … always said, We’re lucky to live in a time when doctors can save us from ailments that would have been fatal only fifty years ago.  And my personal experience with doctors has been almost universally good.   That may be partly my attitude … I don’t expect them to be perfect and I’m rarely intimidated by them, even when they are arrogant.  They do work for me, after all, even if they don’t know it. (more…)

How Far and How Fast

September 3, 2013

TSTThirty years ago, my wife, Muri, made the mistake of referring to me as a jogger.  At the time, I was running about 25 miles a week, swimming 4 or 5, and and biking 50.  I’m not a jogger, I told her, I’m an athlete.  Arrogance comes easy for forty-something men.   Not so much for sixty-something men, especially when the something is nine and my exercise consists mostly of walking, although I still occasionally drag out my old Panasonic bike for a few miles around the park.   One habit that hasn’t changed from my running days, though, is that I still like variety on my walks so I don’t know the distance along my routes.  So, this week, I tried a couple Android apps to keep track of my distance.  There are two ways to go: the smartphone version of the old-fashioned pedometers that count steps and multiply by an average step length to get distance; and the modern version, which determines distance from GPS. (more…)