Dr. Fred Eichelman: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly About being an Octogenarian
I was in my so-called middle age before I even knew what an Octogenarian was: A person between 80 and 89. Only two grandparents in my family made it that far and for my wife, only one. We knew we would get old someday, but it happened so doggone fast!
Now, there is a lot to be said about getting older and much of it is based on half-truths and myths. We are supposed to be wiser based upon the accumulation of what we have learned over the years. However, those years have not made us adept at using the computer and other innovations created in the past thirty yeas and we wind up having to ask grandchildren how to do certain things like making the best use of a cell phone.
Unlike pictures you see of ancient native American tribes, you do not see family members gathered around us oldsters to listen to tales about the past; that’s mostly on television.
The biggest change you find as you get older is in regards to health and medicine. We discover aches and pains we never knew existed, and we hate to admit to them all as you do not want to be a candidate for a nursing home against your will. Medical costs are the most interesting and this is where you see government getting involved as never before. Older people are candidates to be contacted by every medical insurance company in the nation, claiming “government-supported services” and low costs. Some companies use big celebrity names to sell their product. Despite how famous they may be, there are mistruths galore and many insurances are not recognized in every state and by every doctor. For example, one former famous athlete likes to boast that his company will pay your transportation to the doctor or hospital, but neglects to tell you that your trip back home is not covered.
Even if you have a good policy that you have carried for years, you may count on daily phone calls to advise you of a new superior plan. They are usually computerized calls and the caller has a friendly down home voice, but given a wrong answer you are cut off. What you are not told, especially if an Octogenarian, is that if you accept their plan and find it unsatisfactory, your old company will not take you back due to your age. You’re stuck. So the importance of getting the very best insurance is one of the most important decisions you will ever make in life and you must research, research, research. Find a good agency where you live that will help in that regard. For us in Virginia, we’ve been helped by the League of Older Americans.
Related, of course, are medications. The older you get the more you have to take and, sadly, not all that is prescribed is best. Nature provides many good edibles that can do a super job in keeping you alive and healthy. You also need to keep an up-to-date medical list because whenever you have any medical treatment you are given a long questionnaire to fill out. (You feel like you an applying for a Rhode’s Scholarship once you complete one…) Some even require you to draw pictures. And there is a lot of fakery out there, as we learned from how too many “famous doctors” made a fortune out of of the pandemic and the vaccines they pushed. Investigators are even finding possible evidence that these same doctors helped start the pandemic.
A good pharmacist can be your best doctor. More than once a pharmacist has called us to tell us they turned down a prescribed prescription from a doctor because it would conflict with other medications. Also, never doubt the value of a good nurse. My mother who was an RN used to say, “Be nice to nurses. They keep a doctor fron killing you.”