Monthly Archives: August 2013

Who Says You Can’t Drive Over 90?

Here in the retirement home I’ve noticed an exclusive clique that meets regularly. They gather in the far corner of the coffee lounge and shut their mouths the moment anyone comes close to where they are sitting. Yesterday I stumbled across the answer – nonagenarian drivers! These few men and one woman hold regular meetings where they discuss their driving, ask each other for advice on how to renew their licenses and exchange stories of their adventures and conquests on the roads.

I approached the one man that I recognized and suggested that I may be interested in becoming a member. “How old are you?” he asked. “A few months over 80,” I replied. “Come back in ten years, sonny! I can’t even talk to you yet! Say, do you want to come with me? I’m just popping down to the mall to pick up shoes I left for repair. And you can help me into my car.” I looked at him in amazement. He needs help getting into his car but then he’s going to drive it?

His car is old and battered. “There were a lot of concrete columns in the last place I lived,” he apologized, pointing his walking stick at the bodywork. With much groaning I got him behind the wheel and I went around to the passenger seat. He fired up the engine and backed out slowly. He made a complicated 8-point maneuver to get the car out of its parking slot and then zoomed out into the traffic without so much as a glance in the rearview mirror. Cars racing down the street swerved and hooted and a couple sent messages with their fists and fingers. “Everyone is so impatient these days,” he muttered. “They shouldn’t be behind the wheel of a car at all.”

A pizza boy on a motor scooter shot into the road and I thought my driver swerved towards him. “That’s the third time I’ve missed that guy this week,” he said. “I’ll get him one of these days.”


So Which Back Pain Have You Got?

If you are old, walk funny or with a cane or walker, or lean forwards, backwards, to one side or onto your caregiver; if you wear a permanent expression of agony accompanied by short audible gasps, you’ve got back pain. Now all you have to do is identify which brand of pain it is that’s bothering you and you can start looking for a cure. It’s easy, and there are a million experts out there waiting to help you… Here’s your personal back pain menu to help you get started:

Sciatica: This pain affects the back, hip, and outer side of the leg and is caused by compression of a spinal nerve root in the lower back, often owing to degeneration of an intervertebral disk. Result: Pain.

Herniated disc: This condition affects the spine in which a tear in the outer, fibrous ring of an intervertebral disc allows the soft, central portion to bulge out beyond the damaged outer rings. Disc herniation is usually due to age related degeneration of the spine. Result: Pain.

Strain: An injury to a part of the body caused by over-exertion or twisting a muscle awkwardly. Result: Pain.

Arthritis: Painful inflammation and stiffness of the joints. There are over 100 different forms of arthritis. The most common form, osteoarthritis, a degenerative joint disease, is a result of trauma to the joint, infection of the joint, or age. Result (from all 100 forms of arthritis): Pain.

Spinal stenosis
Condition in which the spinal canal narrows and compresses the spinal cord and nerves. This is usually due to the common occurrence of spinal degeneration that occurs with aging. It can also sometimes be caused by spinal disc herniation, osteoporosis or a tumor. Result: Pain.

That’s it. It’s easy; anyone can now tell what’s troubling them. So go and get cured…

I Like Pizza; Why Doesn’t It Like Me?

I have been a faithful fan of pizza since I first discovered it on a trip to Italy way back in 1966. At that time the doorman of the hotel promised me: “You will love it, Senor.” Off we went in search of this new dish. At that time I boasted a robust digestive system that could deal with any kind of food. I was always willing to try something new, especially spicy foods and curries. As the doorman had suggested, pizza became a fairly regular meal.

Pizza apparently goes back over 1000 years while my digestive tract has only an 80 year working history and while pizza has developed to new heights by offering new and exotic toppings and ingredients to its basic cheese and tomato history, I gave up trying the new-fangled offerings. As the anti-indigestion pills lost their edge in the pizza fight, I even had to drop a couple of favorites such as onions and roasted garlic. But I still like the basic old fashioned pizza.

A popular urban legend holds that the archetypal pizza, Pizza Margherita, was invented in 1889, when the Royal Palace of Capodimonte commissioned the Neapolitan pizzaiolo Raffaele Esposito to create a pizza in honor of the visiting Queen Margherita. Of the three different pizzas he created, the Queen strongly preferred a pie swathed in the colors of the Italian flag: red (tomato), green (basil), and white (mozzarella). Supposedly, this kind of pizza was then named after the Queen as Pizza Margherita.

Today I shared a basic pizza with a grandson. I added green olives to my half to please the old pair of taste buds I use. Between us we polished off a delicious medium size. It was a great meal and grandson went home with a smile on his face.

So did I. But now, 2 hours later, the smile has gone, the pill is struggling to maintain inner peace and stability and I’m wondering if I will issue the pizza invitation again…