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Devion's Views #171

WHO IS THAT STRANGER IN THE MIRROR?  (posted Nov. 27/18)

"You know you're getting old when you stoop down to tie your shoelaces and wonder what else you could do while you're down there"

"I was always taught to respect my elders and I've now reached the age when I don't have anybody to respect"

"You can't help getting older, but you don't have to get old"

Quotes from the fertile mind of the late George Burns, American comedian, actor, singer, writer, whose career spanned vaudeville, radio, film and television.

He died at the age of one hundred, claiming he was too old to retire.

                  YOU MAY WANT TO PAY ATTENTION TO THIS STUFF

                                               Important Stuff

There are more Canadians over the age of 65 than under the age of 16.

Folks in Eastern Canada are getting older than those in the West.

British Columbia has a demographic profile more similar to the East, with some of the oldest communities located here on southern Vancouver Island; Qualicum Beach 52%, Parksville 42% and Sidney by the Sea 41%.

It's the weather.

Canada spent $242 billion on health care in 2017, 11.5% of Canada's GDP, $6,604 for every Canadian resident.

Seniors (65+) consume the bulk of the health care budget.

There are twice as many women as men over 85.

Which explains why old guys are in such demand and very popular at places like "RestHaven-by-the-Sea", your local rest home for geriatrics.

                                             Relevant Stuff

Do you recognize the face staring back at you in the bathroom mirror every morning?

Do you recognize the people you worked with, for decades, at retirees reunions?

Me neither.

Is your initial reaction "who the hell are all these old people? I must have accidentally wandered into the wrong gathering".

Thank goodness for name tags. Otherwise, we'd all be standing around in a room full of strangers.

It's inevitably embarrassing to be caught staring at a woman's chest when all you're innocently trying to do is read the name on the tag...while you're thinking she's thinking "he's turned into a dirty old man".

Seniors don't like being referred to as "seniors". It's a demeaning term.

We don't need reminding that our "best before date" is ancient history.

My preference, just call us "exceptionally mature".

We, the exceptionally mature and growing demographic group of society, are in a battle with Father Time, vainly attempting to delay crossing the dreaded threshold...from fit to fragile.

In a war of attrition, our objective is to remain independent for as long as body and mind cooperate.

We envy the few who never seem to age, outwardly frozen in time. The lucky ones who have won the gene pool lottery.

I'm a fully paid up long time member of a local "politically-incorrect" club, comprised exclusively of geezers. We meet monthly at the Senior's Centre in Brentwood Bay. Where else would geezers meet.

A recent guest speaker kept the group enthralled with an illuminating, informative and entertaining geezer-relevant topic; the state of Canada's Health Care System.

The presenter was Doctor Thomas William Noseworthy (CM MD MSc MPH FRCPC FACP FCHS OC), one of Alberta's Top 100 Physicians of the Century.

He imparted his extensive knowledge, expertise, wisdom and advice with a touch of humour uniquely possessed by Newfoundlander's.

He surprised his audience by suggesting the amount of $ currently being spent annually on our system is sufficient and adequate. The problem is not funding, rather how $ are allocated, emphasizing Canada's Health care system requires an urgent major overhaul.

Based on research, Doctor Noseworthy outlined several practical ideas; ways and means to improve the health care system meet the contemporary needs of a changing demographic.

However, unless provincial and federal politicians stop kicking the can down the road and establish this as an urgent national priority and goal, the system will ultimately implode.

                                             Personal Stuff

My "newish" GP is also a geriatric specialist. 

Doctor B. conducted deep-research before deciding the ideal Canadian location to practice her craft was here on southern Vancouver Island.

Her decision to depart "the land of the free and the home of the brave" was motivated by the election of Emperor 'Crazy Pants'.

She's a no nonsense taskmaster when tending her flock of mostly "fragile" folk and spends ample time with each patient listening to them before issuing advice, orders or referrals. As the Church Lady says "that's special".

During "consultations", we always spend a little time discussing other stuff.

She has a keen interest in learning about her adopted homeland e.g., comparing U.S. vs Canada medical systems, politics, Canadian history, etc..

Her three-year stint spent on a Navajo Nation reservation in Arizona allowed her to gain invaluable experience. She faced everything a M.D. could possibly encounter in the course of an entire career in medicine.

This "education" led her to focus on geriatric care.

Doctor B. ordered a two-for "special" which took place last month.

First, a friendly gastroenterologist administered his double-double speciality; endoscopy followed by a colonoscopy.

The easy or fun part is the procedure.

The not-so-much-fun part is called the "prep". Having to drink four litres of yuk and spend the night sitting on the throne. Then another exciting challenge presents itself, making it to the hospital the next morning and praying the throne is near the entrance.

Part deux of the two-for was performed by a friendly urologist administering his speciality, preceded by the following instructions:

1) drop your pants and undershorts

2) climb onto the examination table

3) assume the fetal position

4) try to relax while I administer the Italian salute (easy for him to say)

Sensing this guy might actually enjoy his job, Dr. Digit, removes his rubber glove with a theatrical snap and a satisfied look on his face, "get dressed, I'll be back in a minute for the speech".

Standing there alone, trousers around your ankles, dignity in tatters, feeling violated by what just occurred and overcome by a feeling of fragility. 

Digit's speech is all about elevated PSA's, prostates and a message "that men your age shouldn't have any related surgically invasive procedure. You're more likely to die from something else."

While you're trying to digest that bit of medical wisdom, it ends with "see me in a year!"

                                     YOUNG'UNS TAKE HEED

Pray thee not smile overly at my aformentioned descriptors, rather be forewarned. In time, you too will be "fragilized" by Dr. Digit's fickle finger of fate.

"I think you should be a child as long as you can. I have been successful for 74 years doing that. Don't rush into adulthood, it isn't that much fun" - Bob Newhart

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory