First, a little nugget, courtesy of me ... and The Band.
Now ... for the meat.
Saturday night, we went up to a friend's house for dinner and -- as a foursome rapidly approaching 60 -- talk turned to what we're doing for our health.
And it's particularly germane to me today because the reason I'm late this this blog (I usually post it in the mornings) is that I had to go to the doctor's bright and early ... and then, when I got back, I decided to cut my lawn and fertilize it.
(I also discovered we have more than few electrical outlets in the house that no longer function ... our phones are on the blink ... and my computer is spewing spam emails to everyone on my mailing list. On Joy.)
But as for the shape I'm in ...
Pretty damn good, considering. My blood sugar was 101 ... without any diabetes medication at all. And that's stupendous news. At this time last year, I was pushing 40 units a day of insulin into me. My blood sugar is 126/67, and the doc cut my Diovan perscription in half. Ditto Coreg, and ditto Lipitor (well, Simvastatin actually).
All of this good news stems from having the gastric bypass surgery last October, after which I've lost 116 pounds in a little over seven months. Again, I have to stress that the surgery does a lot of the initial work, but I'm at the stage now where I want to eat. So now comes the hard part, as far as I'm concerned. Instead of having the luxury of being able to take or leave food, I'm at the stage where I have to discipline myself to eat at strategic intervals, and to make sure what I'm putting into me is healthy ... yet moderate enough so that the small sac that is now my stomach doesn't get too full ... and make me too sick.
But the purpose here, today, is to marvel at how the topic of conversation among people changes as we all get older. When I was a teenager, and a bunch of guys got together, all we talked about was cars (I mean, other than girls). I enjoyed the car talk much more than the girl talk, mainly because some of my buddies had very active imaginations. If they'd done half of what they claimed they'd done, back when they were 17, they'd either be in jail or Father's Day would be a huge, huge bonanza for them!
Loved talking about cars, because I love cars ... especially old cars. Maybe that's because I'm old. It's possible.
Of course, I'm old enough to remember when Brian Wilson and Mike Love were singing about cars. I don't know of anybody who sings about cars today. The Cars didn't even sing about cars.
When we all got to be in our 30s and 40s, we still talked about girls (though we were classy enough to call them women). But we also started talking about our computers. Instead of talking about the size of our engines, and the pickup, and how much rubber we could leave peeling out of the parking lot, we talked about our hard drives, how much RAM we had, and the size of our chips.
Now, we're approaching 60s, we'll be retiring before another decade is out, and talk turns to health.
At dinner Saturday, we talked about how we all drank decaf coffee at night ... how we all put those little packets of Crystal Lite in our water (because we all drink so much of it we get bored with just water ... how we try to eat a lot of fiber and not so much junk ... and how those days of not giving a crap about what we ate, or how much of it we ate, were -- sadly -- gone forever.
We also spent a goodly amount of time discussing our aches and pains. Who has bad knees (I do! I do!). Who can't canoe anymore because he can't kneel in the canoe ... so now he has to paddle an inflatable kayak (that's not me; it's my friend). Whose back is sore. Who has high blood pressure. Who has diabetes ... or pre-diabetes (apparently that's a real condition, whereas I always thought diabetes was like being pregnant ... to wit, there's no such thing as being a little pregnant).
I suppose it's inevitable, as we get older, we turn into our parents, even though we don't want to. I've seen evidence of it. I find myself repeating my father's admonitions that "things don't get done by themselves" to my son. Some kid was cutting through my yard the other day, and I actually told him to "get off my property."
I think my mother was in her 50s -- which is obviously where I am now -- when she first started complaining about arthritis, and how everything she did hurt. Been there myself. I haven't reached the point -- yet -- when I start keeping track of bodily functions the way my father did toward the end of his life. However, I must admit that I don't mind telling people that my bladder is about as accurate as a barnyard rooster these days. It acts as the the ultimate alarm clock. I guess that's keeping track of your bodily functions.
So who knows?
All kidding aside, though, the one difference I see between people my age now and my parents when they were at a similar age is the tremendous wealth of knowledge we have about how to stay young and healthy. That can only be considered a good thing. My grandfather was crippled ... and I mean crippled .. by arthritis. Wouldn't he have loved to have had knee replacements.
My mother has been hit hard with arthritis too, yet back when it could have made a difference for her to move around, strengthen other muscles to lessen the impact on her knees and hips, nobody stressed that she should. She's had two knee replacements, and two hip replacements. Yet at the moment, she cannot walk.
There's no way to know for sure whether, had she made exercise the priority that the health experts today tell you it should be, anything might have changed. But it would have been nice had the given herself the chance to find out. I do know this, though ... the gastric bypass I had would have been great for her. It would have given her the ultimate do-over, the same as I've experienced.
All we can do, going forward, is to take advantage of the knowledge we've been blessed with, and combine it with new advances in medicine. Today, there is no excuse for Americans to be as obese and out of shape as we seem to be.
This isn't a screed attacking the food industry as much as it an observation that there's plenty of information at our fingertips ... and plenty of awareness about what's healthy and unhealthy. Perhaps we should examine our lives and resolve to practice our own pro-active health remedies.
And maybe, just by doing that, we can make a big contribution toward controlling what we all know are out-of-control health costs.