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Higher Maintenance

Since becoming a “woman of a certain age” September has taken on a whole new meaning. I’m reminded of this as I sit at my desk, which suddenly has become strewn with postcards I’ve received from the medical community reminding me that it’s once again time to check in for a check-up.

I commented on this four Septembers ago, with an essay called High Maintenance, which is as appropriate today as it was then.  Therefore, I am reposting, with some revision.  And due to the increase in the number of post cards, I call this one Higher Maintenance.

This will be short and sweet because I have to run off to a doctor’s appointment.  I don’t remember if it’s the dermatologist or the opthalmologist.  I’ll have to consult my calendar so I don’t wind up waiting an hour in the wrong office.

I also have to check my wallet to make sure I replaced my insurance card after the last doctor’s visit, and that I have cash, check, or credit card for the co-pay.

Oh, and I’d better verify the status of my underwear, just in case today’s appointment turns out to be with the gynecologist.

I used to look forward to the end of summer.  I happily anticipated the cooler weather and the fact that my children were returning to school.  Now, summer’s end has a whole new meaning.  It has turned into check-up season.

My car also receives regular check-ups.  But I take it to one place and they examine all the moving parts.  People, on the other hand, are required to see specialists.  Hence, I’m spending the equivalent of an entire month rotating among medical offices.

I don’t think it’s my imagination, but with every passing year the maintenance lists seems to grow longer.  This year, due to shoulder surgery, I added an orthopedist.  Last year I added a retinologist, who, after the exam, suggested I see my opthalmologist who forwarded me to an optometrist.  I also added a cardiologist.  Or was that the year before?

Some visits I don’t mind so much.  For example, seeing the dermatologist is definitely less stressful than a visit to the gastroenterologist.  After all, the only preparation required is that I remove my makeup, rather than the contents of my intestines.

The radiologist’s office was kind enough to send me a letter to remind me it was time for my annual mammogram.  I’m not sure whether I will squeeze that in (pun intended) before or immediately after I see the dentist.

I also have a podiatrist on the payroll, but he had his turn last month.  The periodontist shall have to wait until next month.   And I better get to that orthopedist before he leaves for vacation.

Don’t get me wrong.  I’m not complaining, only observing.  I’m grateful that, so far, all outcomes have been good.  And I shall continue to do what it takes to keep it that way.  I just don’t understand how someone who feels so young could have body parts that are apparently so old.  Except of course, for my left shoulder, which is brand new!

Those of us with connections to Florida haven’t had too much to smile about over the past 10 days.  Even though I was fortunate enough not to actually be there, I was concerned about all my friends who are, and of course, about the vulnerability of our home.  I’m pleased to say that those I know are safe, albeit in various stages of inconvenience as the power slowly returns.  And our house still stands.  We are all very lucky.  And we must not forget those who didn’t fare as well.

By | 2017-09-15T12:56:06+00:00 September 15th, 2017|Categories: Aging, Doctors, Medicine|6 Comments

About the Author:

Born and raised in New York City, Susan currently splits her time between Florida and Connecticut. She lives with her husband, and the world’s cutest dog, Sam, a rough-coat Russell Terrier. Susan gives her audiences a sideways view of life on a range of relatable topics. Whether skewering marriage, growing older, fashion, the media, politics, or money matters, her light touch keeps people laughing – and thinking.


  1. Sandra Koren September 15, 2017 at 3:21 pm - Reply

    How did you know that I just saw my primary care guy, then pulmonologist,cardiologist, vascular surgeon, for an EKG, breathing test, echocardiogram, and stress test? I’m in GOOD health!!!! What if I were sick?

    • Susan Goldfein October 31, 2017 at 4:53 pm - Reply

      T’is that season!

  2. Leslie in Oregon September 15, 2017 at 10:39 pm - Reply

    I’m with you on this. Age has its benefits, but it does require more routine maintenance of the body. As far as specialists go, I’m on a 6-8 week cycle with a dermatological P.A.; a six-month cycle with a dentist, a rheumatologist, an endocrinologist, an ophthalmologist, and a psychopharmacologist; and a one-year cycle with a gynecologist (in addition to seeing my primary annually for a comprehensive medical evaluation). I comply, and am thankful for the privilege of doing so, because it is in part due to these practitioners that, despite various challenges, I function as a relatively healthy, young old (according to geriatricians) person!

  3. Gloria Oppenheimer September 16, 2017 at 12:42 am - Reply

    Too Bad Danny Kaye isn’t around because he would make a fantastic musical number using all the medical specialists., For those who do not who Danny Kay is GOOGLE

    • Susan Goldfein October 31, 2017 at 4:52 pm - Reply

      I miss Danny Kaye!

  4. Bethanie Gorny September 16, 2017 at 9:40 pm - Reply

    And have you noticed how young all these doctors are? Makes you feel older realizing they have your wellbeing in their juvenile hands. Where are the doctors who looked older and wiser like Marcus Welby? I haven’t had a doc older than me in years.

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