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I promise myself sometimes, not to write so much about getting old. But you know it’s just so funny, and there’s just so much material that I find it hard to resist.

Let’s face it. Getting old is a hoot or at least it should be. And it goes without saying that growing old sure as hell beats the alternative.

So I’m not complaining, even though this has been one of those months when everything seemed to fall apart. My wife and guardian angel is always nagging me to go see the doctor, which I hate. But then I have to remind myself that every day I enjoy now is because she pushed me to see a doctor at points in the past.

So this month, I went to see the cardiologist, the dermatologist, the vascular surgeon, the sleep specialist, and a physical therapist.

The cardiologist gave me a clean bill of health – sort of – after a restless night hooked up to a monitors with sensors pasted to my body that left me with a rash.

The dermatologist sprayed me so vigorously with liquid nitrogen that I had open wounds along my arms and across my face. That will teach me not to go out without my sunscreen on.

The vascular surgeon recommended some knee-high pressure stockings for my varicose veins and a device for putting them on that can only be described as … well you can decide for yourself what it looks like. More on that later.

The sleep specialist sent me home with an overnight monitor that showed my oxygen levels were too low, and I was failing to breathe several times an hour. He gave me a pressurized air mask to wear throughout the night, every night, probably for the rest of my life. We’ll see about that.

I threw out my left knee and went hobbling around for a couple of weeks until it became so painful that I had to get a cane and a knee brace. My knee is getting better, but the doctor says I may still need a painful cortisone shot. My brother-in-law, who lives in Arizona and packs a gun everywhere he goes, warned me that he got such a shot in his knee and it hurt some much that he threatened to kill the doctor if the doctor didn’t pull out the needle and let him limp home.

My wife says I’m a sissy and that pain is part of life and that women understand that much better than men do, which just proves that not all sexists are male.

Despite the problems, I am feeling much better and happy as hell to be on the other side of it – at least for now. Of course there’s still the possibility of the cortisone shot lurking someplace in the near future, but I’ll cross that bridge when I come it.

Despite what my wife may think, I am not a sissy. I’ll even leave my gun at home.

George Lee Cunningham

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