Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Old Cars, Old Bodies, Frequent Repairs

Normally, when we have a nicely running family car, we keep it for 10 years or more. I enjoy not having to budget for a monthly car payment, for one thing. And if your old friend is still taking you where you want to go, why say goodbyes?

Sadly, though, you sometimes reach the stage of never-ending visits to a mechanic or to many mechanics. One kink in the engine seems to be repaired, only to expose another one requiring attention. You begin to question your trust in a mechanic, but after a while it all adds up: Your wheels are falling apart.

Sometimes I wonder if our aging bodies go through a similar sort of regression.

For a year and a half, I have been in a senior exercise class that has brought much joy to my life. I am the oldest member of the class, and I have been able to progress doing some vigorous exercises I thought I could no longer do.  However, little nicks and dents become apparent.

Last year I discovered I had something called "trigger finger" in one hand. It had nothing to do with firing a gun. It was just that one finger would freeze up and bring pain upon being extended -- while making a strange popping sound. It was uncomfortable driving a car with a frozen-up, snap-crackle-pop finger. So I had a relatively simple surgery for repair. It's not perfect, but it's functioning better than it was.

Ah, but now a finger on my other hand (the left) is exhibiting the very same symptoms. And it may even be a little more painful than the right-handed trigger finger was. So at some point, I will need to get surgical repair for this one, too. I guess. Ugh.

Meanwhile, last night, I beheld a boo-boo on my left big toe. Signs of a little bleeding, and swelling, and pain upon touching. Scary thing is, I was not even aware of an injury or trauma. Type 2 diabetics have to be alert to losing sensations of pain. Fortunately, I have a regularly scheduled appointment with my podiatrist tomorrow  so he can check that out.

As soon as I hit the senior years 15 years ago, spinal stenosis came calling. It is a narrowing of the spinal canal that causes pain when standing upright and walking. I use stretching and willpower to deal with it and keep moving, given that dawgwalking is a huge part of my existence. All that is in preference to major surgery, which I am reserving for a potential eventual replacement of my aortic valve/root replacement device, which is almost 14 years old.

So we soldier on. What's the difference between an old car and an old body? Well the car lacks the free will with which we are blessed. We can choose to try to overcome our physical maladies, and pray for God's continued blessings. But sometimes we do pause and consider whether we need to make a new plan and shift down to a lower gear.

                                           © Robert Gray Holland  2018


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