Sunday, January 15, 2012

Generation Gas-X

Hi Kids! Uncle Randy here. As a younger man, I found nothing quite so boring as listening to old people complain about their ailments. But I'm here to help you and give you some insight into growing older so that you might prepare yourself. Also, I'm here to remind you to dance as much as you can. You'll miss that. My advice comes with an appeal. Can we finally stop using the infantile term, "Baby Boomers" to refer to my generation? I'd prefer Atomic Kids or Original Mouseketeers, but I'd like to find the person that branded me a "baby boomer," and throttle him. There's nothing baby-like about growing older but the diapers, and hopefully, that's still down the road a few decades. I believe the party that's guilty for the "boomer" moniker worked for Life Magazine? Remember magazines? They're those things that sit on the tables in doctors' office waiting rooms. I'm sure Kindle will make them obsolete before you have a seat. But you will take a seat, nonetheless. The doctor will see you now.

While visiting with a friend and listening to him complain about a hernia, I felt the need to one-up him with my gruesome tales of last year's gall bladder surgery. I've embellished the story over time, though the basics are true. They had to open me up the old fashioned way and remove the gelatinous mass that was my gall bladder, except I didn't have health insurance, so they scooped it out with an old, rusty, garden hoe. It's been over a year, and I'm still walking around like Groucho Marx. Except, I'm not the only one. It seems like all my contemporaries are either being scoped, scanned, prodded, or pricked. In these trying times, I can understand how someone might develop stomach problems, but everybody at once? The number of clinics waiting to probe you for the insurance money are growing like Pizza Huts, and the "oscopy factories" are as efficient as the Cadillac assembly line. The unseen consequence of this explosion of invasive procedures is a generational obsession with digestive regularity. When a group of older people go out to dinner, they'll call the next day not to ask how was the food, but how did the food go down? They say "all things must pass," but not according to my peers. Once, we used to discuss acid, now it's acid reflux. I thought I could once again trot out that joke about "all the old hippies getting together now to drop antacid," but we're way beyond over-the-counter medication now. Even friends who once shunned drug use are now hooked on Senna.

Of course, the exercise gurus are right, you have to get up off of the couch, but football is just so colorful in Hi-Def. I still have several friends that walk, jog, or play tennis, but they're forever complaining about Bursitis and there's always medication and shots involved. My theory about vigorous exercise was always, "no pain; no pain." But of all the workouts of which I'm aware, there is no correct way to exercise the gall bladder. So, this wasn't a case of "use it or lose it," as the doctors advise. Years of expensive tests which failed to detect the problem have convinced me that I am another victim of the Medical/Pharmaceutical/Insurance Axis of Evil, and all the exercises in the weight room won't reimburse me what I've forfeited to the "procedure" industry. And make no mistake, the majority of doctors quietly bought into the insurance scam long ago because it made them rich. It's no accident that Germantown Parkway is dotted with private medical clinics. I think I might have built a wing on one of them. I've been told that there are exercises that I can do that thankfully don't strain stomach muscles, but my career as a promising cage fighter is over. My new motto is "Live healthy, eat right, die anyway."

To quote the great American poet Curtis Mayfield, "I know everybody whose heart is still thumping; is drinking, shooting, snorting, or smoking on something." If there were singles bars for the aging, instead of "What's your sign?" the main pick-up line would be, "What anti-depressant are you on?" We gather now in small groups and discuss the merits of Lexipro as opposed to Effexor; and is Abilify really worth the boost at over $400 dollars a month? When in a group of old friends, our discussions go straight from politics and protests to prostrates and our PSA's. With that particular gland, size does matter. And when you get past six decades, suddenly nobody can pee anymore. For that, the doctor prescribes Flomax, and for sinus congestion they prescribe Flonase, but I know a guy who confused the two, took out a handkerchief, and blew his penis. (Come on, it's original). And what's growing faster than the erection industry? Nowadays, guys without any erectile dysfunction whatsoever will take a Viagra just to make a point. It's enough to give a man restless leg syndrome.

I just figured that a year after invasive surgery, I should be feeling somewhat better, so after yet more tests, my doctor returned with a good news/bad news prognosis. My nerve was cut, so I can expect to live a life in a certain degree of pain, plus I will continue to have unpredictable and sudden gastric episodes, which will keep me closely tethered to my reading room. The good news is it's not going to kill me. How is one supposed to respond to that? "Great, I'll suffer from these maladies then die of something else?" I've been informed that there are preventative measures that will allow Melody and I to go out and socialize without me constantly worrying that I'll pull an Elvis and do a header into somebody's bathroom floor. Melody assures me, however, that she will not allow me to sit and vegetate, which reminds me, I need to eat more vegetables. One of my father's wiser sayings was, "It's better to be rich and healthy than poor and sick," only I never thought I'd have to put his theory to the test. So, I'm grateful to the Church Health Center for looking after me, and I'm going to try harder this year to become more active. But, if you younger folks should happen to see me around town and I have a cane by my side, take a look but don't stare too long, for I am you.

Thanks, Melody, for the title..


billy wicks said...


Anonymous said...

Had that L-9 nerve severed, eh. Wanna avoid eternal pain & get cured? Call Herman Cain: Your remedy #, 9 9 9.

Anonymous said...

Old rockin' chair's got me. Cane by my side!

Louis Armstrong

Anonymous said...

Sput, that's the way it works..... You wait so long for your ship to come in.... that your pier collapses! C'est Le Voie!


Cary Wolfson said...

Oy. I remember as a teenager working out at the JCC and then going into the steam room and listening to the old farts complain about their gall bladders, etc. Now I is one. An old fart, that is -- my gall bladder got removed a few years back, but at least in a more civilized way than Randy's. Now was that before or after they reamed out my prostate?

Oh, by the way, instead of singles bars we now go to shingles bars.

Anonymous said...

This is all sad but true. There is nothing cute or cool about old people. Putting lipstick on a pig changes nothing. They (we) are pitiful and becoming more so. Nothing prepares one for old age. All there is to look forward to is progressive degeneration...what will malfunction next? Sort of like being an old car. The prognosis is not good. The only thing worse than the physical ailments is regrets in regard to relationships. Memories of love and laughter with friends mean more now than concerns about pay checks, etc. Life is not a dress rehearsal. Too soon old, too late smart.

Jerry said...

Well, it's about time to check back in. I decided a couple of months ago to out myself at the behest of Sput's charming wife. Now that she knows that I am a government-phobic, urban refugee living in backwoods Idaho maybe she will lose interest in me. Now, to the subject at hand. Though I am a reformed liberal/hippie, I could never bring myself to deny medical treatments to anyone. I am a relatively soft-hearted conservative. I just wish that the whole medical care issue could have been solved within the private sector. Even the most deluded and ignorant liberal has to know by now that the government can run nothing efficiently. Obamacare will be an unmitigated disaster...wait and see. Sput must be getting close to Medicare age and I am happy for him. Living without medical insurance must be a daily nightmare. I just hope that if he needs any really expensive medical procedures done, like by-pass surgery, that he gets it before Obamacare hits high gear. Then he, and the rest of us elderly folks, are going to find out about government health rationing boards. Of course, nothing was said about this when the law was being passed, but it will soon show itself to be an ugly reality. As one ages, less and less money will be spent on his/her medical needs. Most folks are ignorant of the dark heart of progressivism. Population control has always been high on their priority list. Take abortion for instance. It is all about population control. The issue of a woman's right to choose is just window dressing and a fiction, but it works to assuage the masses. As it stands, something like 50 million babies have been murdered in what is by now the biggest holocaust in human history. The abortion industry makes Hitler look like a piker by comparison. It enables the progressives to thin the herd on the front end. Now that we have Obamacare, they can thin the herd on the back end through health care rationing. After a while you can look for euthanasia to be introduced and I am not opposed to that. It will be more humane than wasting away in a hospice. The thing to watch for is that it will be voluntary in the beginning, but at some point it will most likely become compulsory. That will be when things get draconian. The progressive's biggest oversight is in regard to the dark side of human nature. They seem to be either completely oblivious to it, or naively believe that human evil will be evolved out of the gene pool at some point in the future. Good luck on that one. The next generation will get an up close and personal look at the Satan that they don't believe in. He (or it) works through human instuments...think of history's monsters. If there is no Satan, the evil that motivated them is bad enough. Bottom line...Sput when you get on Medicare have some testing done on your heart so that you can get treatment before your beloved Obamacare kills you through rationing. Don't look for much in the way of health care after the age of 70.