making changes

I’ve been thinking  about this for a while, and last week I decided to make the change.

I’ve been seeing the same doctor at the Palo Alto Medical Foundation’s Los Altos clinic since about 1999. He was new then, and has matured along the way. Still, some qualities have remained unchanged. He does not have the most cordial exam room manner, but when it comes to stethescopeusing diet and exercise to manage cholesterol and blood pressure, there is no mistaking his viewpoint. That’s been good for me, and I have made lifestyle changes because of that. Still, he can be annoying when he brags about his own diet and exercise routine. While my company had its Silicon Valley campus that was fine, and it was easy to get over there from my office. But with that campus closed and my working from home in Gilroy exclusively, getting from home to the Los Altos campus becomes something of a major expedition. And we’re talking two trips — one for the blood work and one for the physical.

So last week I called up the clinic that was the easiest drive from home and set up a new primary care physician, who I will see for my physical the last week of August. I appreciate the discipline that my previous doctor helped to instill in me, but I won’t miss his telling me about what a pure and healthy life he lives.

if I thought it was me

Back in the mid and late 1980’s I was a big Ram Dass fan. There was an organization that sold cassette tapes of his lectures (remember cassette tapes?) and I think I eventually owned pretty much the entire catalog.

ramdassIn one of his later lectures he spoke about getting older, seeing the changes to his body and the age spots on his hand, and quipped, “If I thought it was me, I would freak.” (This was before his stroke.) In retrospect, that strikes me as a singularly Christian (in the most mainline, traditional sense) comment coming from one steeped in the Eastern tradition.

What really grabs my attention, though, probably 25 years after hearing the comment, is that I don’t relate.

Not that I feel totally comfortable in my body. I have an annoying skin condition, but that has been with me since puberty, and has not changed much over the years. (And for which I check in with my dermatologist annually.) I am certainly more fit and have an exercise discipline that I didn’t have when I was listening to Ram Dass. Some of it is genetic luck. When I go to a college reunion I’m one of the few who can be recognized because of how little my appearance has changed since then. Yes, my hair is white, but I’ve had some gray hair since the late 1970s, premature gray being a Monaghan (my mother’s side of the family) trait.

For the most part I have to say that, in this year in which I turn sixty, there is little to freak out about.

hearing aid annoyances

When I first got my hearing aid I got a couple of month's worth of batteries from the clinic. When I needed more I went to my favorite source for most anything, Amazon. There was a variety of brands to choose from, but based on the reviews I selected Rayovac. That was a good choice. The battery would last six or six-and-a-half days, beep at me and then go out. I could deal with that.

I had about ten month's worth of batteries, and when it came time to get more I went back to Amazon. It appeared that Rayovac was replacing that particular battery with a different, allegedly more eco-friendly, model. The new battery's reviews were not stellar. I looked around, read reviews, and selected Duracell. After all, in my experience they're the bast when it comes to those ubiquitous Alkaline AA and AAA batteries.

With the Duracell I get five or so days. Then it beeps at me but keeps going. Beeps at me again and keeps going. And on. I haven't tried to see how long it will actually go before being completely drained. The beeping would make me batty.

Next time: a different brand.

perceptions on health and wholeness

The loss of Jack Lalanne last month had a lot of us recalling our memories of him. I remember watching him growing up. It had to have been only during the summer and on school holidays and vacations, because he was on weekday mornings. But this video immediately reminded me about how, when he wanted to talk to the audience, he would turn his chair around backwards and lean on the back as he spoke.

The video must have been from a show in the late fifties or early sixties. It was interesting to hear him talk about healthy nutrition and fresh food, and about how material goods don't buy happiness, just because those are not attitudes we associate with that era.

It's well worth your three minutes: both a time capsule and an uplifting message at the same time. Enjoy! (And thanks to Mark Sandstrom for this.)