Posted tagged ‘senior health’

The COVID Club

June 6, 2022

Clipboard01Wednesday I woke up with an annoyingly persistent cough, the kind of cough I’d probably had hundreds of times in my 78 years and thought, Shoot, I must be getting a cold.   But that was before the arrival of COVID 19.  As a senior with several medical issues, I tested myself one of the COVID self-test kits President Biden sent (for free, imagine that).  In case you haven’t seen one of these, it looks like a pregnancy test.  I was neither infected with COVID or pregnant.  After 24 hours of worsening symptoms, I tried again and tested solid positive.  Welcome to The COVID Club.  I received a club T-shirt in the mail from Biden and a card from Trump that said, See? I told you it wouldn’t kill you!  DONATE NOW TO STOP THE STEAL! (more…)

New Tricks

May 18, 2022

old dogWe have all heard the old saying You can’t teach an old dog new tricks and speaking as an old dog, I can testify that it is often true.   We old dogs do like things our way.  Mostly.  But every once in a while, life intervenes in a way that breaks through our old doggedness and makes us change.  As I mention a while back in my post, PT, I have been subjecting myself to Physical Therapy in an attempt to reduce nerve pain radiating from my back into my legs.  In the first three weeks it has been unclear whether the assortment of massages, stretches and exercises prescribed by my physical therapist have helped, made the pain worse, or simply moved it around in this old body.  If it were you going through this course of PT, I’d be telling you it takes time to work, but this is my body … and I want to feel better now.   My therapist is understanding and tries to keep my spirits up with jokes like What is the difference between a physical therapist and a terrorist?   You can’t negotiate with a physical therapist.   Funny and true but not helpful. (more…)

PT

April 28, 2022

PTIf you have lived into your seventies and managed to avoid back issues, you are indeed lucky.  From the number of seniors I know … myself included … who deal with pain from various back ailments, it seems clear that although we may have evolved to live our lives upright our long life expectancy is too much for our backs.  I have been lucky nonetheless because my pains have been manageable, that is, I can navigate my life as it is in my seventies without too much trouble.   Lately, though, the pains in my legs have gotten worse, limiting how far I can walk and making my Thursday morning shift of cat care at Best Friends Animal Society a reach for this old body.   So, I went to see my Doc, Dr. Preston Wilson (or is it Wilson Preston?) and asked what my next step might be.  He said, Well, I could send you for an MRI but no matter what it shows, your insurance will insist that you try PT.  So you might as well try it first.  So, last week I put on my loose fitting clothes suitable for exercise and made my way to the local Physical Therapy Center. (more…)

Oh My, Omicron

December 28, 2021

covidIs anyone else tired of reading about Covid-19 and its variants?   How about reading different and conflicting accounts of how dangerous the new and improved (from the virus’ point of view) omicron variant will turn out to be?  After all, in South Africa, the onslaught seems to have petered out but reliable sources tell me that won’t necessarily be the case here.  So, here I am again, trying to decide whether I should attend activities in our over 55 community or be one of the small percentage of (mostly) seniors wearing masks in the market.  With two vaccinations and a booster for both my wife and I, life seemed to be returning to a semblance of normalcy and, sure, I’m glad to hear that this provides some protection against omicron … but how much some is enough?  Sometimes, I wish I was brain-dead enough to follow the Q-Anons down the conspiracy theory rat hole and dismiss the entire thing as a hoax.  But seventy-seven years have left my brain still functioning, at least enough to dismiss idiotic theories. (more…)

COVID Roulette

August 5, 2021

covidEverybody, I assume, has heard of Russian Roulette , the game you play with a revolver pistol for thrills (in this case the thrill of risking your life).   You need a revolver, a bullet and at least two players (I suppose you can play with one but in that case you might as well load six bullets and get it over with).   You put the bullet in one chamber, spin the cylinder, then the first player puts the barrel to his head and pulls the trigger.  The odds are 1 in 6 that the gun will fire and end his life.  At this point there are two variants of the game … the gun can be passed to the the next player without re-spinning the cylinder, in which case his chances of blowing his head off is 1 in 5.   You can see where this goes … on each turn that the gun doesn’t fire, the odds of the next player dying increases.   OR, the players can spin the cylinder before each turn, in which their odds of dying are the same each time.

I bring this up because it seems to me that many people in this beautiful country of ours are playing COVID Roulette, a game in which you choose not to not be vaccinated, risking illness or death for no good reason at all.   Yes, I know the odds of dying are much smaller than with a bullet and I know that it is your fundamental right as an American to risk your life if you want.   But here’s the thing … unlike Russian Roulette, COVID Roulette risks the lives of others.   What?  You say they can get vaccinated if they want to reduce the risk.   That might be a pretty good argument if it weren’t for the COVID variants you’ve probably been reading about.   Let me talk to you about variants for a moment**. (more…)

One Hundred Percent

April 17, 2021

coronaThere is a scene in Zero Dark Thirty, the film about the raid that killed Osama Bin Laden, in which a group of CIA agents is pondering whether Osama is  hiding in a certain house in Islamabad.   The CIA Director asks around the table for opinions about how certain each of the senior agents (all men) are that it is indeed Osama.   Each of them offers a cautious estimate of the likelihood on the order of 60%.  Maya, the agent who gathered all the intelligence, becomes increasingly agitated with each estimate.   Finally, the director turns to her and says, And what do you think?  Without hesitation, she says, One hundred percent.  Then, gauging their reaction, she says, OK.  Ninety-five percent.  I know certainty freaks you guys out.  But it’s him.   In my line of business, we are often trying to find a very weak signal (say, an object of interest to a radar) surrounded by other objects we don’t care about.   The likelihood that we detect the target is known as the probability of detection and our customers would love that to be 100%.   Many times we are lucky to give them 50%. (more…)

Health Care Quiz

March 8, 2021

I am concerned about the health care decision making of our populace these days, so I am offering as a FREE Public Service this health care questionnaire.   By answering the questions then checking your answers against the answers at the bottom of the page, you can assess your own decision process.

  1. Your doctor finds an odd lump on your neck which be suspects might ne cancerous and wants you to see a specialist.  Which of these should he call?   (a) a lawyer;  (b) the governor of your home state; (c) an electrician; or (d) an oncologist.
  2.  You are in a bad traffic accident and have lost a lot of blood.   What is most critical to a successful transfusion?   (a) your blood type;   (b) who you voted for in the last presidential election;  (c)  what your friends say on Facebook; or (d) what your Uncle John, the shoe salesman says.
  3. A new virus is sweeping the nation.  As the death toll rises, who do should you listen to for advice about how to avoid being infected?  (a) Your congressman;  (b) Fox news;  (c) CNN;  or (d)  the Center for Disease Control
  4. Your toilet is backing up into your guest bathroom, flooding the floor with odorous waste.  Who should you call?   (a) a surgeon;   (b) a gastroenterologist;  (c) a lawyer;   or (d) a plumber.
  5. You have a severe case of the flu and want to avoid hospitalization.  Whose advice should you follow?  (a) Sean Hannity;  (b) Dr. Jill Biden;  (c)  Senator Rand Paul;  or (d) None of the Above.
  6. Who should you trust your life to when it comes to COVID-19?   (a) Greg Abbot, the governor of Texas;  (b) the United States Senate;   (c) Dr. Fauci;   (d) what “they” say on the internet.
  7. Your brother-in-law. Bill, who works as a tech at the local hospital says COVID is a hoax.   Who should you used to fact check his assertion?   (a) Dr. Phil;    (b)  Dr. Oldereyes (I am a Doctor of Engineering); (c) Dr. Golden, your orthopedist;  or (d) none of the above.
  8.  The CDC recommends that we wear masks while the COVID vaccinations continue.  They recommend this because;   (a) they are all Democrats;  (b) doing so helps prevent the spread of the disease;   (c) they are trying to take away your rights;  (d) the virus is a hoax promoted to make money for the medical profession.

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Getting the Shot

February 3, 2021

I started out the Year of the Virus as a doubter, dismissing the clarion cries of the various health organizations and the media as another over-reaction.   You know … like the panic over anthrax after 9-11 or over a looming radioactive cloud after the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant disaster in Japan.   I even asked my doctor what he thought.   Just another flu, he said.  I wasn’t an anti-masker but I was a no-masker, and I laughed at people debating how best to clean off groceries before bringing them into the house.   But I also kept a wary eye on the news and as the case count … and death count … grew, I swallowed my pride and admitted I’d been wrong (for the second time in 76 years).   So, my wife Muri and I began to take what we felt were reasonable precautions … masks in public, social distancing and, to some degree, social isolation.    And I followed the often contradictory news about the development of vaccines hopefully, wondering how my new home state of Utah would step up to the challenge of distribution. (more…)

Stretch, Dammit

September 17, 2020

You wouldn’t guess it to look at me now but in my forties I was pretty serious runner, logging about 30 to 50 miles a week.   I read the best-selling Jim Fixx’s The Complete Book of Running. I subscribed to Runner’s World.   I even bought a book on stretching.   After all, everybody said, You should stretch before you run to avoid injury.   I tried stretching, I really did, but I hated it,  Yes, when I was waiting at the start of a 10K or a marathon, I stretched like everyone else just to fit in and avoid the possibility of someone saying, You should be stretching.  I’ve never reacted well to criticism. I did have injuries … plantar facietis, illiotibial band syndrome, a torn meniscus and shin splints.  Sometimes I stretched to help recover from an injury, but once it was better, I’d stop.   An aggravated Achilles tendon finally put an end to my long distance running. (more…)

(Not a) Golfer’s Rash

August 24, 2020

From 4th grade on, I grew up in East Haven, Connecticut, about a mile from the New Haven Municipal Golf Course which played a significant part in my childhood.   When I was younger, its hills were the preferred place for sledding  and as I got older and acquired my own ice skates, its water hazards became the local skating rink.  It became a source of income, too.   The third hole, a par three, ran right along Granniss Street and in spite of a high fence, a fair percentage of golfers managed to slice the ball over the fence where we were waiting.  Sometimes we’d quickly find the ball and try to sell it back to the golfer who hit it, but more often we’d pretend not to know where it was so we could sell it at a higher price to the next foursome.  By Junior High I was standing with the other boys along the walk leading to the clubhouse, asking, Caddie, sir? to golfers on their way to the first tee.   I began to play too, at first sneaking onto the course with a few clubs after hours, later actually paying the greens fees with my money earned caddying.  I played sporadically (and erratically) through college and even played in a league at work for a while.  But when my wife Muri and I moved to California, I gave it up.   I haven’t played in about fifty years. (more…)