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Jim Aylward: A good book, a sip of tea and no doctors

For Jim Aylward, sometimes an ordinary day includes glancing at the memory wall in his home office.

Special to the Times

For Jim Aylward, sometimes an ordinary day includes glancing at the memory wall in his home office.

There is something to be said for an ordinary day. A day when there is sunshine and a cool breeze, when the birds talk to each other happily, when a cup of blueberry tea on the lanai leads to thoughts of times gone by.

An ordinary day. To do what you want to do. To read the latest Nameless Detective novel by Bill Pronzini. To write a note to your high school friend of 60 years ago.

And . . . especially, this time of your life, to have a day that doesn't require fasting for a blood test, or a trip to the urologist. A day without a CAT scan or an ultrasound of your kidneys.

A day without those scans where they ask you to wear a cheap robe that won't tie properly, and then insist you raise your arms above your head, and the technician looks altogether too serious.

I can't stand those bone-density tests where they place you on a table with a pillow the size of a dish rag. Then they keep you there, minute after painful minute, as they roll a viewer under you and take their good time reading the results. And, just when you think they must be done, they read some more.

Because of arthritis, I've had rheumatologists for decades now. The one here in Florida is terrific. On my last visit, I told him I was feeling great after looking at the people in his waiting room. One guy couldn't control his shaking while he waited. One man was using a walker and had great difficulty getting up and down. One was on crutches, and a woman was in a wheelchair with an attendant to help. You think you're bad until you get a close look at the rest of the world.

And, of course, it's not an ordinary day when you have to go to the dentist. I had to do that recently. I had a tooth that was darkening; I bit into a nutrition bar (chewy chocolate chip!) and then it started to throb and pulse. I bought a bottle of toothache remedy, made an appointment, and the aching stopped. Naturally.

A sweet young woman took X-rays, and then the dentist appeared and took full-color photos of my mouth in ugly reds, browns and purples to show me what a lousy dental patient I had become. To be honest, my last visit had been during the Carter administration, but still . . .

The dentist said he could save my teeth. There was no need for extraction. But then came the dreaded words — "root canal"! As if that wasn't enough, he gave me the proposed bill. I was then informed my insurance wouldn't pay for any of it. Suddenly, I had a hearing problem.

Today, I'm enjoying my ordinary day. I'm just sitting here in my home office looking at my "memory wall" — the photos of young women kissing me, fans waiting for my autograph, artwork by my grandmother, mother and myself, my first LifeTimes column. An ordinary day without pillows the size of dish rags, without a bone density exam, without a root canal.

Oh, happy day!

New Port Richey resident Jim Aylward was formerly a nationally syndicated columnist and radio host in New York City. Write him in care of LifeTimes, St. Petersburg Times, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731.

Jim Aylward: A good book, a sip of tea and no doctors 06/22/09 [Last modified: Monday, June 22, 2009 4:30am]
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