We are experiencing global warming—we call it "Spring," and it happens magically and rhythmically every year. Even the coldest, harshest winters are followed by a Spring. Isn't that reassuring?
My title above comes from a quote from the late Paul Harvey, a personal hero of mine, whose oratory inspired listeners to use language as he did, not only to communicate, but to paint word pictures. This particular quote, as I recall, was made in the context of people who retire from careers, then fail to stay engaged in life. Now that the weather is nicer, it is time to talk about getting outside and exercising, engaging in all life has to offer.
I am privileged to care for a number of seniors who are in retirement. Many of these live at a local retirement community that is full of senior athletes. They are focused on living life to the fullest, making every minute count and enjoying it all. There are other seniors who would like to be more active, but their bodies are not cooperating as they once did. This article is for them.
Robert A. Hayden, DC, PhD, FICC
Kevin Spacey plays the part of the president of United States in “House of Cards.” His character is a ruthless, opportunistic, but pleasantly decisive, murderer who plotted his way into the presidency. A Reuters poll yesterday placed that character at 57% popularity if he were the actual president, while Barack Obama flounders at 54% approval. Obama’s retort is that at least he is more popular than Congress.
Congress is certainly a dysfunctional group in a larger, more dysfunctional government. Part of that is by design, as we elect people to resist the efforts of others with whom we disagree. Nevertheless, the First Amendment to the Constitution, that much-maligned, circumvented, and ignored document that made America exceptional, still forbids Congress to abridge our right “to petition Congress for the redress of grievances.”
Each year I go to Congress in my role as the Georgia delegate for the American Chiropractic Association with my list of grievances that need attention. We have focused on veterans’ issues for the past several years. In my last column, I mentioned the plight of a Vietnam veteran who could not get an appointment in the VA surgery clinic. I assure everyone that we will not give up the fight for our veterans.
Sometimes I get philosophical at birthdays about the whole aging thing. I used to see birthdays as milestones along the road of life. Now I have a bunch of milestones behind me, and birthdays look more like a countdown.
It really hit home when I was thinking about dropping off the board of the Georgia Chiropractic Association last year for the first time in my career. At one time such an action would seem sacrilegious to me, but now I am involved in so many things that I am overcommitted. What really hit me hard about this decision was the realization that I am no longer building my resume. That realization was far more profound than it might seem on the surface.
One might look at life like a missile being fired from a launching pad. At first, it gains a lot of speed and altitude with very impressive noise and smoke. At some point it reaches its zenith and levels off. When you think about it, it is all downhill from there. And so what was when I realized I was no longer building my resume. Had I reach my zenith? Is it all downhill from here? How far from here is the site of my crash?
Robert A. Hayden, DC. PhD, FICC
I began my first career, critical care nursing, in the Veterans Administration in Jackson, Mississippi. It was an exciting and invaluable learning experience for me. Things I learned then are part of my daily practice and approach to patient care to this day. We treated our vets as heroes. Nothing we could give them would be enough to balance what they did for us. So it distresses me when I hear of the VA scandals. They are not so much in the news now, but our vets’ plight remains.
Steve served in Viet Nam, a war in which returning veterans were vilified instead of honored as they deserved. He is accumulating health problems with maturity like my black coat attracts gray cat hair. The worst of these is his diabetes. Though only diagnosed three years ago, the signs of advanced neuropathy and vascular complications suggest it has been with him for much longer.
There are no palpable pulses in his feet. The lack of circulation has already caused obvious, significant and irreversible tissue damage in several toes and the bunion of his right foot. There is a danger he may lose his feet. Anticipatory grief is evident in his words, but his non-verbal expression would make you cry, too. He can’t get an appointment in the VA clinic for at least several weeks.
That joyous time of the year is upon us. Beginning irritatingly early, as usual, the bells reverberate wherever we go. The brown and orange of fall are gradually replaced by the crimson and green in festive displays.
I heard a pre-Christmas sermon from Dr. Bruce Morgan, Pastor Emeritus at First Baptist Church here in Griffin years ago that stayed with me because it has such a powerful message. He painted one of his word pictures of the orchestra playing the music of the season, reaching through the air with a message of joy and hope. He admonished, however, that if you listen closely enough, through all of the bells, horns, violins, cellos, and percussion, you may hear the singular melancholy song of the French horn.
My cough, sore throat, sneezing, and congestion began last September with a little strep infection. I went to see my primary care physician (who is wonderful, by the way, so call me if you need one) early in the process. She looked at me quizzically and asked me where I might have been exposed to a streptococcal infection, since I do not work with children. I do, however, work with adults who work with children. At any rate, the antibiotic took the strep out in a couple of days. Modern medicine is a wonder when combined with a caring, conscientious, thorough physician.
But the cough lingered. It even caused a disruption of domestic tranquility when I would cough at night, inflicting the sudden noise on my wife's sensitive hearing and scaring the cats from their sleeping perches. My cough overpowered the surround sound on the television. Something had to be done.
I tried the usual over-the-counter remedies, such as guaifenesin and dextromethorphan, designed to liquefy secretions and suppress the cough, respectively. You can pay extra for Mucinex or you can find these as generics, but they usually do the trick. They didn't.