Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Give me dignity or give me health

Last Monday (one of my non-work days), I was bored, but also feeling guilty (there’s that word again) about feeling bored. With all that’s going on in Haiti now, I should be grateful to have what I have, temporarily boring or not. I am grateful, and I am contributing to a fund to help the relief effort. So, with that disclaimer, I can go back to petty unpleasant observations in the hope that whining will lift my spirits.

For example…

Growing older can be so undignified. Besides the unintended musical interludes mentioned in an earlier post, I'm faced with an increasing number of medical tests as I age, and they sure can make me feel undignified. I have an upcoming appointment with an MD who’s an expert on osteoporosis. My most recent bone scan showed that my right hip is on the verge, if not already there, of this affliction, and I’m debating going back on a medication that has been controversial in the last couple of years. But before the appointment, I need to collect a 24-hour urine sample. It involves a big (very big) orange jug and a refrigerator. At least someone had the good sense to make the jug opaque. I know this could be a whole lot worse, so I’m approaching it with a sense of humor—and an inexplicable desire to share this with anyone who reads this blog...

And then there are colonoscopies. But my next one is (I hope) a few years off, and I’ll refrain from describing what most of you sixty-somethings are too familiar with anyway. Unpleasant? Yes, pretty much. Undignified? I would say so.

As we get older, it’s not surprising that we more often have to don a backless hospital gown (in those hideous colors and patterns) and let a technician attach electrodes or insert probes in embarrassing places. But just think about our grandparents, maybe even our parents, who didn’t have to go through some of these indignities because these advanced, sophisticated tests weren’t available yet. And many went on to pay the price—not living long enough to take advantage of medical miracles.

I feel better now. I can go back to worrying about Haiti, letting the mental picture of my undignified orange jug take your mind off the tragedy. You’re welcome.