THE JOURNEY

Every once in a while, someone posts a significant article or letter on Facebook that seems to disappear after you’ve read it.  This am I read a letter about aging, the losses one experiences and the time we have left.  The letter was right on the spot and reinforced that, rather than getting bogged down in the losses, we should concentrate on enjoying the time left.  When I find it, I’ll share it with you.

I am trying to let go of the losses and follow the author’s advice.  I’m focusing on making the most out of whatever time I have left.  First and foremost, optimizing the time I have left means shedding 40 pounds.  For those of you who haven’t seen me lately, I’ve become a blimp.  Functioning with worsening Parkinson’s is hard enough.  Dragging an extra 40 pounds of lard around is insane as it adds a significant burden to everything I do.

It’s time to go back to the beginning.  Twenty years ago I created my “Wellthy Plan” and successfully got to my healthy/wellthy, losing 30 pounds and improving every part of my life.  Since moving to NC, I’ve done everything I’ve always told my patients not to do.  It’s no wonder that I’ve failed at every diet and lifestyle change I’ve made.  Time to get “Wellthy” nutritionally, physically, emotionally and spiritually.

I’ve started the process to get cleared for DBS (Deep Brain Stimulation) and hope to have surgery in April.  DBS is fascinating but carries some risk.  Everything carries risk.  I had decided against DBS as I was so lost in dealing with my losses (my wife has become my nurse and caregiver) that I lost sight of the fact that I have a loving wife and family, all reasons to concentrate on improving the future rather than awaiting the end. 

My Covid test is finally negative again.  I survived Covid as did my family and friends.  With the new vaccines, I hope it will become safe to travel again.  I really don’t want to use a seatbelt extender.  Losing 40 pounds will ensure that I’ll fit on the plane in a normal seatbelt.  Again, it’s time to get “Wellthy!”

It’s time to find the author of this morning’s inspirational piece.  I owe him/her a big thanks. I also owe a big thanks to all of my former patients who have prayed for me and supported me through my journey since leaving practice.  I recently wrote about Humpty Dumpty and his great fall.  As you know, all the king’s horses and all the king’s men couldn’t put Humpty back together again.  Like Humpty, I can’t wait for the king’s men, I have to put myself back together again.  I’ll keep at it until I succeed!

Here’s your joke for the day:

A large Humpback whale is lazily enjoying a beautiful day when he sees a female Humpback whale just a little ways off, and he thinks to himself that he’s going to try to impress her…

He swims over to her, and breeches the surface, showing off the large hump on his back.

She looked unimpressed as she breached and showed a larger more well formed hump herself.

Now, a little embarrassed, he tries again to impress her by taking a breath and blowing a huge cloud of mist and water with a really nice rainbow in it.

Once again she looked unimpressed and she blew a larger cloud of mist, with a more beautiful rainbow.

Now clearly agitated, the Male sees a Naval vessel in the distance and races off toward it. Just before he collides with the ship, he dives, jumps out of the water and, as he sails over the bow of the ship, he plucks a sailor off the deck and in one gulp swallows him whole!

He swam back to her very proud of himself, only to find the female object of his attentions with a disgusted look on her face…

As she swam off she said…”I’ll Hump, I’ll Blow, BUT I WON’T SWALLOW SEAMEN!

And here is your music for the day. RIP Mary.

TECHNOLOGY

Once upon a time I was a technophile.  I had all the newest gadgets.  I built and programed computers.  I was blessed to have patients who brought me the newest cell phones.  I even had a prototype of a smart phone before most people knew of its existence.  Technology blossomed and I rode the wave.  It was an exciting time.

Two things happened that changed everything.  First, I grew old and content with the technology I had; therefore, I no longer needed to learn new tricks. Second, the company that was feeding me the latest and greatest toys downsized and I lost my access to its future of innovations.

Life became boring.  It became cheaper to buy a new computer than to build one.  My IPhone became so smart that future innovations offered little benefit.  OLED TV’s resolution became so good that I didn’t want to leave the couch (except to raid the fridge).

This morning everything changed.  Sitting on the throne, reviewing my medical journals, I came across the coolest new medical technology I’ve seen in decades.  I WANT ONE NOW! Even though I don’t need one and I’m retired and no longer practice medicine, I want one.

What I discovered is going to change the practice of medicine!  It will replace my stethoscope and much of what I did in the office.  It will increase a physician’s diagnostic capabilities tenfold.  The device I’m referring to is a pocket ultrasound machine that interfaces with the I Phone and delivers pictures of a patient’s organs, joints and vascular system instantaneously.  NO MORE GOING TO THE HOSPITAL FOR TESTS AND THEN WAITING WEEKS TO GET RESULTS.

DID I TELL YOU I WANT ONE! I DO! Sure, I’d have to take some courses to become proficient at reading ultrasounds.  It would be worth it.  I could quickly scan your heart, carotids or even your gallbladder.  It seems the future uses are almost limitless. 

It’s also affordable.  While thinking about what I could have done with a pocket sized ultrasound has pumped me up, the fact that I’ll never use one on a patient is a bit of a downer.  The saving grace is that eventually one of my docs will be using it on me and I’ll get to play with it.

So, no matter how bad the Covid news is, here’s something that promises to radically improve your doc’s diagnostic skills and, therefore, your health.

Here’s your joke for the day:

My doc told me to start killing people.  Well, not exactly in those words. He said I had to reduce the stress in my life.  Same thing!

Here’s your music for the day.

CONFUSION

It has been a longtime since I’ve sat down to write anything.  I’ve had a writer’s block compounded by boredom and mild depression.  I’m sure Covid is wreaking havoc on your life, as well.

In all my years in medicine, I’ve never witnessed anything like this.  As soon as things start calming down and the news improves, there is a new twist and we start down the rabbit hole all over again.  If it seems like no one truly knows what’s going on, it’s because no one knows what is going on/right.

Whether Renee and I should be vaccinated is a good example of how screwed up everything is.  Most authorities proclaim that if you have had the experimental antibody titer, you should wait 90 days before being vaccinated.  However, some authorities say one should wait 30 days and others will tell you there is no reason to wait.  Confused?  I am.

Part of the problem is that the new vaccine is unlike any of its predecessors.  There is no/minimal data on the effects of the experimental antibody cocktail or the vaccine, or its long term effects on Renee and me.

Part of the problem is that the Covid virus is mutating at what, to me, appears to be an unusually rapid rate.  It appears to be misbehaving on multiple levels.  The new strains sound horrible and, according to the authorities, it does not appear that a prior infection with Covid gives immunity against subsequent infection by mutant stains.

So, what’s a fellow to do?  First, get vaccinated as soon as possible.  Second, get used to your mask and buy N95 when possible. We are going to be wearing masks for a long time to come. Third, isolate yourself as much as possible.  Fourth, help your elderly relatives by teaching them to use their computers to order food and supplies without going out into the public.  Fifth, forgive your elders if they appear a little nuts.  Personally, I’m going crazy!

Every morning when I get up, I regret leaving my home in Long Grove.  Then I open Facebook and see the Chicago weather report and pictures of snow, and I’m glad to be in NC.  Tuesdays and Thursdays, we baby sit.  The kids put a smile on my face and again, I’m glad to be here.

The 3rd of March the gardener will be here installing my elevated garden and fig trees.  It’s going to be a handicapped accessible garden as my Parkinson’s continues to worsen. Gardening will be good for my soul.  It will also cut down on the need to go to the grocers. 

I’ve gotten many calls and emails from my readers, encouraging me to resume writing.  I thank each and everyone of you for your concern and encouragement.  Please send topics you’d like me to address.

Here is your joke for today and a little music to help you smile.

Two grandmothers were bragging about their precious darlings. One of them says to the other, “Mine are so good at social distancing, they won’t even call me.”