I Want to Send My Head Out for Repairs by Alice Herb
I am losing patience. When I retired, I made a pact with myself that I would not be running to see doctors every week like so many of my retired friends. Now, many years later, I am still running to doctors trying to get myself fixed. Nothing extraordinary, just plain repairs to my head – my teeth, my ears, my eyes, and my nose. Nothing wrong with my brain, so far as I know, but those other parts are wearing me out.
First my teeth. That’s a lifelong problem and I accept that I have worked to support not only my children but also my teeth. I have some insurance but not enough and so I’ve had to earn enough money to indulge this vanity of wanting to keep my teeth. Fortunately, I have a great team of dentists that have left me with a facsimile of the teeth I used to have. But for more than 30 years, I have seen a periodontist every three months for maintenance and as far back as I can remember, visiting my dentist twice a year and that’s when nothing terrible is happening. It seems that when I am stressed, my teeth go rotten! Then there are visits to the endodontist or oral surgeon for either root canal or implants.
My ears. Folks in Vietnam told me that my long, large ears indicate longevity but apparently do not guarantee hearing. And so after several meetings with audiologists, I am now the proud owner of terrific hearing aids that allow me to hear at business meetings, in classes that I teach and in the theater, not to mention the joy of hearing conversations in restaurants. But no one told me that they are easy to lose. And within the first year, I did, in fact, lose one. Not only did I have to have it replaced with new audiologist appointments but lots of correspondence on warranty protection and insurance for loss and damage!
My eyes: Cataract surgery. No big deal. Except for 2 visits with the ophthalmologist, a pre-operative physical that included an EKG and blood tests, the surgery, a physician appointment a day later, a week later and a month later. And if the surgery on the other eye is not done within a month of the physical, another doctor’s appointment replete with EKG and blood work not to mention the surgery and the subsequent 3 physician appointments. That’s all with no complications. I did have the second surgery and now just need to make regular check-up visits.
Are you breathless yet? I haven’t mentioned my nose yet. Sinus issues that I have refused to deal with. But just yesterday I thought I had a toothache but what it turned out to be was an allergy attack – not unusual when the trees are beginning to bloom. I realized this new twist when I sneezed and the pain eased and was completely gone when my nose cleared! No, I am not going to follow up on this one. Correction! Toothache came back and my front tooth broke. So back to the dentists – plural – and now a more complicated story. But that’s for another day.
In desperation, I’ve thought of a new solution. If I could put my brain on a hard drive, I could send the rest of my head out for repairs just like my car. When it comes back, I could re-install my brain and I would be good for another 15,000 miles. If we can have instant communication through social media, why not streamlined body repairs. What a saving it would be to health care and with no time lost!
Alice Herb is a retired attorney, journalist, and bioethics consultant. Having reached the age of 85+, she’s more than ready to share her experiences and opinions with agebuzz readers. Want to comment on something she’s said? She welcomes your feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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