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100 At sea- I have seen the health future

… and the health future I have seen is bleak.

When I was pedicabbing, seeing all the drunks was like antabuse but with an astonishingly short half-life and a lot of rebound.  When they are vomiting in front of you, your visceral memory kicks in and you feel like the best way to deal with this is to never drink again, but back at the shop you feel like the best way to deal with it is another Lone Star.

I think there is something like that going on here too.  We cater to a pretty old client base, lots of people in their 70s and 80s, hell, 60s is considered young here and just looking around on deck is staring at what the decisions we make now will look like in 30 years and it makes me want to put down the bacon.

Now, keep in mind that not all hobbling around and back pain is due to bacon, ohhhhh bacon.  That guy trying to climb the stairs and wincing against the pain, shrapnel from Vietnam, the other guy with the crushing anxiety downsized into a condo and now can’t sell his house.  Sometimes it really is an old football injury.

Sometimes it isn’t.  Often it is asking your low back and knees to operate way outside design parameters for 20 years and that could come about from either being a professional athlete or carrying around 100 extra lbs.  Now, it is in all deference to my friend Ragen and her awesome blog danceswithfat.wordpress.com that I say this.  Ragen often talks about people telling her that being fat is going to “catch up to her” and that although she has perfect metabolic health now, there is some vague future threat out there lurking and while nothing may ever catch Ragen, these people I’m seeing on the ship, done got caught.  Although it is entirely possible that they weren’t running all that fast.  Which could be the problem.

In the acupuncture clinic I get to see a really good range of health pictures and this is admittedly anecdotal and correlation, but if you make it into your 70s, are sedentary and 50 lbs overweight   (I pulled that number out of a hat, but it is usually more) when I ask you what meds you are on, there is a painfully slow reaching for the wallet and then and equally slow exploration of the wallet that will in the end produce a list too vast for memory of the 8-22 (yes, 22 has been the winner so far) meds that you are currently taking.  Less than half of which are to control symptoms of your comorbidities and the rest to control the side effects.  I have also met a good number who are overweight, say in the 20-40 lbs range and very active and seem to be holding up very well.  They seem to have a much better outlook, are on fewer medications, if any, and seem to get a lot out of life.

The former in this example have a lousy quality of life, in fact, they seem miserable.  So miserable that even a little bit of relief from the suffering is worth whatever it costs.  This is, however, how I make my money and I am very happy to do it.  I had a woman leave today after her second treatment, she got a couple of feet out the door and turned around and came back to tell me that she forgot her cane.  “I always forget my cane when I leave here.”  Big smile.  That is why I went to school, not to help nonspecific mild anxiety.  I want to make people walk again and I can.  Here is the trouble.

I was doing a seminar yesterday and it came to demo time and I asked for someone with low back or hip pain.  I found a couple of tender points on her hands and then asked her to do a range of motion exercise in her hips.  Fail.  Then I put in 4 needles 2 in each hand, Yao Tong Xue if you are interested and then took a couple of questions and had her stand there for about 5 minutes, then had her do the range of motion again.  Hers eyes lit up and she practically yelled out, “It doesn’t hurt, the pain is ZERO!!”  I found out later that people thought she was a shill her response was so profound.  Too much of a good thing.  Did she book an appointment?  Even after being shown first hand that I can help, No!

Bleak health future indeed.  That lady saw what could help her and she said she didn’t want to spend the money.  I suspect the people who make it into their 70s without too much pain and in pretty good shape already spent the money, paid attention as much as money and the ones who didn’t have to carry around lists of meds and for them, that is bleak.


November 22, 2010 - Posted by | Uncategorized


  1. Well, my parents are both healthy in their mid-70s, with a few little issues here and there. My step-mother (mid-70s) and mother-in-law (mid-80s) are in terrible shape. Most of their problems are orthopedic, but not all. And of course, I can’t help but notice the spiritual component. I really enjoy your stories. Thanks, Dave!

    Comment by Susan K. Morrow | November 22, 2010 | Reply

  2. Susan, thanks for keeping up on my posts. I always appreciate hearing from you and thanks so much for posting the link on FB.

    Comment by davidsjones | November 23, 2010 | Reply

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