Tuesday, May 16, 2023

The Goodness of Medical Maintenance

The first half of 2023 (is it possible it’s almost half over?!) has    played out pretty much as I expected—devoted to maintenance. Not house or car maintenance, but body maintenance. The sad truth is that no matter how much we exercise and eat healthy, old bad habits take their toll and body parts wear out. 

January began with a small surgical procedure—MOHS—to remove some cancer cells on my back. It was followed  in March by one performed on my leg. Such is the payback for many carefree and clueless days spent in the sun before SPF became a thing.

Maintenance continued last week with cataract   surgery on my right eye, followed this week with surgery on the left eye. 


(I'm not the model in this photo!)


Am I complaining about all the maintenance growing older requires? Most definitely not. On the contrary, the surgical procedures that I have undergone these past few months remind me even more of God’s goodness. 

Miracles of modern-day maintenance abound. How is it that a surgeon can cut through layers of skin, remove a clump of cells-gone-rogue, sew the incision back up, and send the patient on their way in a matter of hours? How amazing are the tools and skills that allow an eye surgeon to poke a beam of light into the eyeball—yikes!—and replace a cloudy, worn-out lens with a shiny, new artificial one. Once again, in just a few hours.

The icing on the cake is that these maintenance procedures are performed with minimal pain to the patient. In the case of the skin cancer, I felt nothing more than a tiny, initial prick. Afterwards, pain was nonexistent. Didn’t even need a Tylenol. Ditto with the cataract surgery. A mild valium relieved any pre-surgery anxiety, and local anesthesia—while keeping me slightly aware during the procedure—ensured nothing about it hurt. And afterwards? Once again, no pain.

For me, recovery after all the surgeries was nothing more than an inconvenience. Had my daily exercise routine—also a part of maintenance—not been limited by the doctors’ instructions, I would’ve resumed it within a matter of days instead of weeks. Such quick recovery boggles the imagination . . . or at least it boggles mine.

Each time I underwent a maintenance procedure, I couldn’t help thinking about previous generations. I thought of how they had to live with fading sight or had their lives cut short by cancers that today can be eliminated. I also thought about how much suffering was endured in those cases where surgery was available. 

I understand that growing older can be more challenging for some than for others. Every body behaves differently, and not every malady can be solved with quick surgery and minimum pain and recovery time. But with many of the health issues associated with aging, the strides made in medical care are nothing short of miraculous—evidence of God’s goodness. I’m truly thankful to be living in a time when scores of dedicated healthcare professionals have made my maintenance journey much more pleasant than it would’ve been even a generation ago. 


Concerning the results of my cataract surgery, the news is both bad and good.

The bad news: With my newly restored vision, I’ve discovered I have a lot more wrinkles than previously thought.

The good news: So does everyone else!