By Joe Rector

Every so often, the times arise to have what I call a “50,000-mile check-up performed.” It’s not much fun, but the process is necessary. For some reason, I always expect bad news from the doctors whom I see. That makes for a few rough days on the nerves.

Most of the children of my era spent a majority of our time outside. We played from morning until evening and rarely went inside unless parents forced us to do so. Fast forward to now, and dermatologists’ offices are filled with us older folks. We’re having check-ups for damaged skin that spent years exposed to the sun. Sun tan lotion was used at pools sometimes or if a family vacationed at the beach. Otherwise, kids suffered through that first sunburn of the season, and then tanned as the summer went along.

Now, we have pre-cancerous spots that must be monitored. I’ve used creams that peeled the skin off my face, and it led to painful cracks in places. On another occasion, I stuck my head inside something that resembled a toaster oven. After 16 minutes, the process was over, but the healing process lasted for several days. Most of the time, I choose freezing places. The last visit ended with 24 such spots being frozen.

After a trip to the dermatologist, I scheduled a visit with a gastrointestinal physician. He recommended an endoscopy, as well as a colonoscopy. Of course, both procedures aren’t that bad because the patient is asleep. The preparation is the painful thing. I swigged down both bottles of a mixture of oil, salt, and lemon, or that’s what the concoction tasted like. They were topped off with oceans of water, and before long, the “fun” began. The second round had to be started at 4:00 a.m. To have that much entertainment, I was required to pay a chunk of money for the product. The day after found me a bit lethargic, either from the anesthetic or the procedure or the preparation.

In a couple of weeks, I have an appointment with the optician. My eyes don’t seem to see as well as they did only a year or so ago. Maybe my glasses are cockeyed, or maybe things are changing at a much faster pace these days. Either way, I’ll have my eyes dilated, I’ll read charts, I’ll sit as lights blind me, and then I’ll discover if a new pair of glasses must be purchased.

At the end of the year, I’ll travel to my family doctor for a physical. Doctor Cathy Mathes is the best, but I still don’t look forward to the visit. Neither am I a fan of having blood drawn or leaving a sample in a small cup. Aches and pains multiply over time, but I hate whining about them every year. Dr. Mathes is a saint to listen to me, along with all the other older patients, as we name every symptom that hits us.

So far, I’ve received good reports from all tests that have been performed. It appears that I am good to go for another year or two. That’s good news. Amy and I would like to take a few trips and enjoy a few places around home in the years to come. I don’t know what tomorrow brings, but I do know that right now this old body is still working pretty well, even with hitches in my “giddy up.” I’m not “purring like a kitten,” but my motor hasn’t blown a head gasket yet.