Archive for July 5th, 2017

On Being Alive

July 5th, 2017

We’ve all seen those articles where some geezer like me prints something about growing up in the 50s, 60s, and 70s and expresses his astonishment about the fact he is still with us. Well, this geezer is planning to take that to an entirely new level. I’m going to document some of the things that my body has withstood up to this point, and it is amazing.

Let’s first start with the medical field. Penicillin began being used widely after World War II, and my generation was the first to both enjoy its benefits and then to confirm its costs. As a little guy, my dad, and practically everyone else’s dad smoked like chimneys. Apparently, that somehow contributed to ear, as well as tonsil, infections. To say that I had plenty of penicillin shots would be like saying I ate plenty of Frosted Flakes. Counting the number of times that needle filled with white fluid entered my butt or my arm would be like trying to count the number of flakes in a lifetime worth of sugary cereal consumption.

At the same time, the pharmaceutical industry had convinced the farming industry to give its animals antibiotics because it made them get fatter faster. In fact, their salesmen used to take antibiotics and stand on the feed scales week after week to show their enormous weight gains. I’m not saying that my 36 plus inch waste came from childhood consumption of antibiotics, but what other reason could there be? Oh, and let’s not forget that the over use of antibiotics also contributes to the death and destruction of the good microbes in our guts which contributes to yeast belly. (I think beer does, too, but I’m no doctor.)

The Buster Brown store in Connellsville had a machine that I could put my foot into and with the flip of a switch see my foot bones. It was supposed to be for better fitting of my Ked canvas tennis shoes, but really?

Oh, and our local doc purchased a fluoroscope. You could bet that every time you developed a cough before you got your penicillin shot, you would stand behind that fluoroscope and doc would peek inside your chest. (Are you counting rads yet?)

Let’s not forget that, when I was a young teacher, the X-ray van would pull up behind the school each year and we would parade through that van to have a chest X-ray to make sure we didn’t have tuberculosis. Then, when I went for my regular physical from my internist, I got zapped again for 20 years.

Oh, and let’s talk about the 25,000 dental X-rays I’ve gotten over the centuries. Of course, they are low dose, but not low enough to keep the tech from running out of the room screaming before she pulls the trigger.

Then there were the pneumonia X-rays, the PET/CT scans, the regular CAT scans, the four heart caths with more fluoroscopy, and six dermatology radiation treatments by Dr. Jacob in Shadyside for a pimple on my lip in the 1960s. But let’s move on to my diet. Margarine was the food of choice. It was concluded by some ad agency to be so much better for you than butter. This stuff would sit out on the table for weeks at a time pulsating with hydrogenated fats, and we sucked it down like milkshakes.

Oh, and my aunt owned a candy store and paid me with candy for doing work around her shop. Yep, thousands of dollars of candy went into my mouth over my lifetime. And there was that raw milk that we drank straight from the cows, and don’t forget the thousands of eggs and dozens and dozens of triple cheese pizzas.

Throw in the no seat belt law, the no drunk driving laws, and the other “it’s OK” things, and I’m a MIRACLE! Case closed!

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