On Saturday I attended a neighbor’s funeral. On Sunday I visited a second neighbor who is getting ready to move into a long-term care facility. Both are older than me, but not by all that much. 

Then, on Monday I went for my Medicare-funded annual physical. I received more immunizations than I have arms (COVID, flu, and hepatitis-B), and the next morning the side effects of the vaccines kept me in bed until 10am. During the physical, I was told that it was time for a PSA test and a colonoscopy, and by the time I walked out the clinic, I’d been prescribed two new medicines – one for an enlarged prostate and the other for an arthritic shoulder. In case I had yet to realize that the trip to the clinic was a reminder of my age, my doctor of thirty years told me he is retiring in June. I wasn’t surprised, but it’s unfortunate I am losing my doctor right at the age when I might regularly need a doctor. 

I did pass my annual dementia exam.  Rivers, nation, finger. To anyone too young to know why three unrelated words have anything to do with testing for dementia, be glad. Your time will come.*

To offset all of this foreboding, I spent the past week with my mom in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. For three consecutive days, I planned hikes that were on level ground and no more than two miles in length. I could have, maybe should have, picked more challenging routes. Each day my mom enjoyed the walks, but wanted a little bit more. In body type and mentality (stocky build with a tendency to worry too much), I have my dad’s genes, but in terms of physical health into my seventies and eighties, I hope I inherited something from my mom.

* For the dementia test, a person is given three words. Then after completing a simple task involving the face of a clock, he or she is asked to repeat the words. My three words last week were rivers, nation, finger. I still remember the words from a year ago. They were banana, baby, chair, but maybe not in that order. 

Steven Simpson