Gifts of Age (Part Three): Milestones, Kidney Stones, and Cobble-stones
Of all the birthday milestones such as: school age, driving age, voting age, and drinking age, the most unexpectedly celebratory one is Medicare age. Because without Medicare, just trying to stay alive would take an NFL star quarterback’s salary and bonuses. It also needs to coincide with retirement age, because we are suddenly averaging at least three doctor appointments a week. Since these often involve MRI’s, CAT scans, ultrasounds, treadmill tests, and more, this leaves a work week of about fifteen hours. My husband counted recently and discovered that he actually has one internist and sixteen specialists. I think that’s at least one specialist per body part. On the way to appointments with these, we find ourselves humming, “Getting to know us. Getting to know all about us” (our colons, our kidneys, our prostates, and mysterious moles in places that have never before seen the light of day). I suggest forgetting credentials and looking for specialists that are young and good looking, because believe me, we don’t know the ultimate in physical intimacy until we reach the age of sixteen specialists.
For some of us, a more positive aspect of retirement age is the opportunity to travel. We were blessed with thirteen years of free air travel, while one of our sons worked for an airline. So we got to travel abroad much more than we would have otherwise. Unfortunately, even in my best years, I was athletically challenged.
So my travel experiences often became unexpectedly medical:
a broken pinky finger while playing miniature golf in California,
a sprained ankle from a missing sidewalk tile in Spain,
an Achilles tendon screaming in protest when chasing taxis in Paris,
a gaping hole in my smile after a crusty bread roll removed the crown on a front tooth in Portugal,
traveling stoned on Benadryl after an English castle tour revealed a severe allergy to mold,
and finally loose dentures from riding in a wheelchair over cobblestones almost everywhere.