At 88 and counting (whatever that means), I suddenly seem to be spending a lot of time with doctors. I'm not complaining. It's good that they have something to work on.
First there is my cardiologist. Having had a heart attack and armed with three stents, I have been seeing him every two to three months for a long time. Routine visits are augmented by special tests. In fact, this morning I had an echo cardiogram and a patch was placed over my heart that I have to wear for two weeks. I'm glad he's pro-active. He really seems to want me to live and works at it. He could just let this 88-year-old play out his life. Is it the money? I hope not. He is not warm and fuzzy but recently he patted me somewhere and said, "You've got a lot of years left."
For two decades I have been seeing my dermatologist every three months. I get mucho sun during vacations and during the summer. Furthermore, when I was young and foolish, I used a reflector to keep the tan going into October and November. He has become a friend and a Facebook friend too. He assures me that I will not die of melanoma.
Also four times a year I go to my dentist -- actually to his hygienist, who never fails to scold me for accumulating too much tartar, as if I could control it. I let the dentist examine me only now and then because, if he gets to poke for two minutes and tell one joke, the cost is doubled.
My eye doctor was always once a year. Lately, however, this has been added to because I have cataracts. He does not want to operate and I don't want him to either. But I also like to see. We have to work this out.
Throughout the years, I have been blessed with joints that are loyal and true. No knee replacements, no hip replacements, no rotator cuff or any of that nonsense. A month ago this record was shattered with knee pain, shoulder pain, gout. So now a new doctor at the Hospital for Special Surgery, who says, "What are you doing playing tennis anyway?"
And now I walk with a cane. At first reluctant to display such an obvious accoutrement of old age, I have come to enjoy my persona. With each thump I feel the gravitas of Peter Stuyvesant, an old familiar figure thumping through the streets of the Big Apple. Still observing, still discerning, not to be trifled with. I wave my cane. Out of my way, whipper-snappers.
Yes, doctors take up more and more of my time. Bring 'em on!