Friday, April 09, 2010


I am surrounded by gray hair, wrinkled skin, bald men, pot bellies, wheel chairs, sagging body parts and glazed eyes. The overweight man with a cane talking too loudly on the the phone appears to be in his early fifties. His age matches his waist size. A woman with a Pillsbury Doughboy look has strange yellow skin and a look of being exhausted. Another man with sores on his face impatiently pushes the elevator buttons trying to cause the doors to close more quickly. This isn't a cheery way to begin but it is, for me, a reminder to appreciate my health.

I'm in the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale with Julie as she participates in an Alzheimers research project.

This will be a full day. We left the house at 6 AM to get here by 9:25 for a blood draw, four large vials. Julie has appointments every hour until her last at 3 PM. I've done my part and am finished. At 10:30 I was interviewed about changes in her behavior and memory over the last year. I am labelled an "informant". That sounds bad, ominous and unethical but I gave a good report. Her memory is fine and her behavior hasn't changed.

In my humble-or-otherwise opinion the odd thing about health care is the inconsistency. As I waited this morning I read a small booklet about heart health. It contained the ususal prespcription -- get exercise, don't smoke, maintain a healthy weight, avoid saturated fat and processed foods, etc. After the blood draw we went to the cafe for breakfast since she had to fast for the test. Some of the foods in the cafe were horrible. Cheese enchiladas are on the menu for lunch. Total saturated fat is 17 grams. Yes, seventeen, one-seven. I limit myself to a maxiumum of 12 for the entire day and this one meal contains 17. Hmmm? I wonder if it's possible to buy cigarettes in the gift shop. (Don't smoke or eat unhealthy foods but if you do choose these behaviors then stop by our cafe or gift shop before you leave.) Ironic!

Yesterday morning the temperature at home was 20 degrees. This morning we woke (or should that be awoke?) to a warm 32. The high today in Phonenix is forecast as 87 degrees so we dressed in summer clothes with short sleeves and sandals. One of my tasks for the day is to find a restaurant with a romantic courtyard so we can have supper outside before driving home. Healthy food, pleasant atmosphere, reasonable rates. In Scottsdale I'll settle for the first two of three.

Julie is not compensated for her participation but that's OK. The desert in is bloom, we had an enjoyable trip under blue skies and we're enjoying the anticipation of a nice supper. All is well in our world.


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