Saturday, January 09, 2010

Why Is "Old" Younger Now?

It seems that people aren't as old as they used to be. Most of that is due, I'm sure, to the fact that I'm older, and 70 isn't as far away now as it was when I was 10 (when 40 seemed positively ancient). But when you look at movies or old photos, it looks like people really are "holding their youth" more than they used to. Even those who don't get face-lifts and work out at the gym.

The doctor called yesterday. My x-rays came back showing nothing that could be causing the foot pain I've been experiencing. So off to the podiatrist with me. Our family doctor suspects neuroma (a swelling and inflammation of nerves) which can be treated with anti-inflammatories, injections, or even surgery.

But the thing is, it can be corrected. What used to happen when people started limping from pain? There wasn't a surgery to fix it. We didn't have knee replacement surgeries. We didn't have dialysis machines. We didn't have meds for diabetes and depression. People with heart problems had to take it easy; there were no bypass operations. We didn't have chiropractors to straighten an aching back. If you couldn't hear or couldn't see, you ended up being slowly shut off from communication; but hearing aids, reading glasses, and cataract surgery can remedy that.

Y'know, when you begin to think about what modern medicine has done to eliminate (or reduce) pain and slowness and inability, you begin to wonder just how much "older" we would all be without those procedures and glasses and hearing aids and drugs and surgeries we take for granted.

Maybe that's why they always used to show us the stereotype of an elderly person sitting on the porch in a rocking chair. I can see where that would be all I could handle if I couldn't see well, hear well, knit, walk easily, or bend to pick up something.

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