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Column:The Gray Line Tour

By Leonard Gray / L’Observateur / June 15, 1998

Surgical Blues And Getting Older

The prospect of surgery is a frightening one, especially a wuss like me who’s never experienced things like a broken arm or leg or any type of surgery, other than dental work, in my 44 years on this planet. The veryidea of complete anesthesia is probably the most frightening thing about it to me, not to mention the surgical scars and the knowledge while I was unconscious on a table someone with sharp, pointed instruments was rummaging around in my body.

Guess what? I’m having a bit of surgery next month. Without going intounnecessary detail, it’s necessary and hardly elective.

Everyone has already been reassuring me, from my wife who has undergone elective surgery, to my aunt who has had heart bypass surgery. It doesn’tmake me feel much better, but I know I’ll only get over it once it’s all behind me.

Doctors intimidate me. They’ve gone to college and medical school andknow far more about my body than I do. Show me a sliced-open body and Iperhaps could identify a few parts. I’ve never dressed down a deer oranything like that. I’ve never even gone hunting. My experience with bodies is mostly from fatality traffic accidents, and I try not to dwell over that very much at all. I’m not one of those who drivepast an auto accident and slow down, crane my neck and try to see something. If I’m involved in some way, I’ll stop. Otherwise, I would be inthe way of the people who are involved and I keep moving. And I adviseothers to do the same.

When I was a health-club member, I was weighed and examined like a prize pig and told about my percentage of body fat and how much I’m over that limit for my height and build. One point of this surgery, for instance,is for me to be able to go back to an exercise program and shed some of those pounds and inches and get back down to a size I haven’t been in 15 years.

Whatever happened to just growing old? You’re entitled, aren’t you, to indulge in a few guilty vices when you have a few years under your belt? So, if you’re 95 years old and you’re not an alcoholic and you want to have a slug of booze once in a while, who’s really hurt? Sometimes, I think doctors and medical researchers are having entirely too much influence over our daily lives. For years, we were all told todrink milk. Now, there’s low-fat and no-fat milk because the good stuff isbad for you. Thanks, mom.It’s my opinion that virtually anything taken in over-indulgence is bad for you. So why do we have to be subjected to barrages of medical “news”about what’s bad for us this week? We know what’s bad for us. Now justteach us how not to be so self-indulgent.

Leonard Gray is a reporter for L’Observateur.

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