I HAVE A DOCTOR IN THE HOUSE

I used to think I would like to marry a doctor.  I dated two men in high school who later became doctors-psychiatrists-it figures.  One later lost his medical license due to his practice of trading drugs for sex.  The other never responded to an email I sent when his mother died.  I have had relationships with two other physicians, but they were both married.  Yes, I am far from perfect.

But, now, all I have to do is go to Target and purchase my personal doctor-well, sort of. My feet have been aching for weeks-achilles- tendon and terrible heel pain.  I treat the aches mostly with ice and what my personal doctor recommends.  That would be Dr. Scholls.

Every orthotic on the market bearing his name now resides in my home.  I stuff them into shoes, boots and even my slippers.  They provide momentary relief.  I hesitate to see a new real M.D. as I am already getting treatment for back troubles.  My lower extremities are old and tired, and I am not sure how to proceed.

I did hear an advertisement on WBAL radio for a podiatrist in Towson who treats foot pain.  I looked her up online, and will probably schedule an appointment.  So it goes for growing older-spending too much time at doctors and dentists to stave off total degeneration.

As for the doctors I wanted to marry or hook up with.  I am glad I didn’t, and for now Dr. Scholls is all I need.

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MEDICARE SPONSORED SPA

About three months ago, my back began aching.  I attributed the pain to old age, poor posture or lack of exercise.  Although not the cause of the discomfort, all those possible causes are true.  I waited for a few weeks, relying on an old heating pad to cure the problem.  I had a back issue years ago, and ended up in traction in the hospital for three weeks.  I actually think at that time, the problem was psychosomatic and resulting from not wanting to attend a relative’s wedding.

So much for the past.  Here I was in early spring, having trouble bending down to tie the shoes which were advertised to help my back, grimacing with pain too often and generally convinced something was wrong with me.  So, I went to see an orthopaedic surgeon.

Secretly, I hoped to receive pain medication, but since the opioid epidemic has spiraled so greatly, none was offered.  Too bad that when we need strong pain meds, we can’t get them anymore.  Well, after the requisite x-ray, the doctor told me I had scoliosis.  News to me, since no physician had ever noticed it before.  But there it was-a curvature of the spine.  I don’t look strange, and can still walk fairly well, but the pain persists.

The physician gave me an Rx for physical therapy instead of Percocet.  For the past few weeks, I have been showing up for my sessions designed to help, if not correct, the problem.  Unexpectedly, I am enjoying the treatment.

I get lots of attention as the personnel guide me through exercises that are very easy and sort of fun.  I ride a stationary bike for ten minutes, and then perform some non-unpleasant stretches and bending.  Then, the payoff.

I get to lie on a table, attached to some wires, on heated pads, with a pillow under my knees.  The tech increases the stimulation delivered through the wires and I get to relax for fifteen minutes.  I feel so calm and peaceful just being and not doing anything, while the treatment continues.  I am sorry when the buzzer indicates that my time on the table is up.

Medicare covers the cost of my spa-like experience, and that program is wonderful  No medical bills since I enrolled.  Maybe there are some benefits to getting older.  I try to view my advancing years positively.  I am grateful to be alive, have a wonderful daughter and grandchildren, and finally the freedom to be authentically me.

VIRTUAL VACATIONS

I should be heading for Texas this week to attend a writers’ conference.  When I read the description of the event on-line, I decided I needed a getaway and would enjoy the company of other scribes.  Dallas would be an easy flight and the host hotel sounded lovely.  So, I made the necessary arrangements.

I sent in my fee for the workshops, made my flight reservations on Southwest, and booked a room at The Sheraton.  I was looking forward to flying(which I love since I overcame my fear of it,) being in different surroundings, and maybe even talking to a few new acquaintances.

I marked the date-May 5-on my calendar and made a note to call the Airport Shuttle a few days before my scheduled departure.  I even told family and friends about my upcoming adventure.  I gathered my published writings together, and fantasized about the possibility of getting an agent or publisher interested in a book I would write.

But, I live a small, manageable life.  And one day I realized I didn’t want to sacrifice my predictable days for the sake of a weekend spent with strangers.  Who am I kidding?  I doubt I will ever write a book, and why would anyone want to read it anyway?  The shelves at Barnes & Noble are already crowded with literary and popular works of fiction and biographies and non-fiction books telling us how to improve our lives.  I sure don’t have the answer to that question, and what new could I offer the reader?

So, I set about undoing the plans I had made.  The conference offered me a partial refund, and I am grateful for getting any money back.  Southwest was not so forgiving, but that was partly my fault.  I had chosen the cheapest fare available, and neglected to read the no refund string attached to the deal.  I did get a credit for a future SW flight in the next year.  The hotel was easy to cancel.  So, I am safe again. Phew!

Why haven’t I learned by now that I like the idea of going on trips more than the actual experience?  I enjoy making airline reservations to far away destinations, and get a bit of a high from imagining the adventures I may have.

But, alas, I am a homebody at heart.  While I did travel a lot alone when I was younger, I am not so brave anymore.  So, I can look forward to the week ahead without dread and be glad I took another virtual vacation

COMING OUT OF THE CURLY CLOSET

For too many years, I have had my hair straightened.  This behavior started in the early 1960’s, when everyone was admiring hair without kinks and curls.  I am certain I even ironed my loose locks to appear fashionable.  I remember my sister and I driving one-half hour each way to have an appointment with the desired stylist.  I couldn’t accept what nature gave me.

One weekend when I was in college, I visited a man at another school and looked great when I arrived in Philly from New York-my hair appearing long and shiny and straight. By the end of the weekend, my hair had shrunk to a shorter length as it returned to its natural state.  I don’t recall if I ever heard from him again.

Several years ago, a new technique surfaced-keratin-a less-harsh way of destroying the curls.  Every few months, Jenny, my stylist put this goop on my hair and flat-ironed it till all the life drained out of my curly locks.  I was sort of thrilled with my new look, but my hair looked  burnt and unhealthy.

Winter is an easier season for curly haired females, as the lack of humidity is not there to encourage the frizz.  But now spring is edging towards summer, and my hair was becoming curly again.  For now I decided to no longer get the treatments.  I also grew tired of beating my hair into submission with blow dryers and hot irons.

So, one Monday morning, when I was headed to a discussion group, I just let it dry naturally.  I can’t say my hair looked great-more frizz than curl, but I liked myself better.

Being self-centered, I assumed my friends at the meeting would comment on my unruly locks.  But nobody said anything.  I have to accept the truth that I am not the center of attention in other people’s lives.  How had I become so narcissistic?

I know now that I am just like everyone else, and have to become authentic rather than trying to look a certain way.  Still recovering from depression, being real, looking like my real self and speaking my mind have all taken center stage.  I no longer have to hide for fear I am not good enough.