On July 17th Presbyterian Health Services, which I had joined in January 2014, sent a nurse-practioner to visit my wife and me in our home. She explained that they were just trying to set up a data base for us and see if there was anything we needed. They come once a year if you want. It is an interview, not a physical. Naturally, when she searched our names, there was not much in our data-base.
I will have them come each year because:
1. She checked the medicines we were taking, called our druggist and called our primary care doctors. There were a few things that needed to be sorted out. Old people frequently take too much medicine and don’t know what it is for. There are also a lot of unexpected interactions and the amount you take makes a difference.
2. She suggested several programs for us including Silver Sneakers.
3. She took our blood pressure and listened to our heart beat. She asked questions about our life-style and general health. She spent several hours with us.
4. We will be able to access our records on our computer anywhere in the world. So, when we travel and get sick, we can pull up our records for the physician who treats us in some foreign country. I haven’t tried this, but will report when I get my access information.
5. Most importantly she told us about a program that Presbyterian has called “Hospital at Home.” If you meet the requirements, you can elect, hopefully in the emergency room, to either be admitted to the hospital or be sent home. If you are sent home, a doctor visits you once a day, a nurse up to 3 times a day, you are monitored, and they deliver the equipment and drugs you need. The hospital benefits because it is 32% cheaper; you benefit because you are not in the hospital. I haven’t tried it, but will if the need ever arises. It probably helps to have a spouse, significant other, or caring neighbor.
You can read more about this in USAToday.
The geezer is becoming more aware of his health and the role he has to play. My idea is to be comfortable and pain-free. I haven’t figured out any way to live forever, but am working on it.
At a few weeks shy of 74, based on my present condition, my genes, my family history, etc., I can expect ten “good” years; ten “so-so” years; and, 4 years in the “home.” So….
As you grow older, travel sometimes becomes more difficult. You are not ready to drive across the country; not to mention foreign travel, where you might die. You worry about renting a car and your liability. And, airline flights are really a problem. Carry-on luggage! Early/late flights. The hassle of security. The cost. Cramped seats. Your eating/sleeping habits interrupted. Sometimes it is just too much.
And internationally, Medicare does not work. And, what if you get sick, run out of medicine, fall, die, etc. Fear, fear, fear!
I am not advocating not travelling; and, certainly I would be the last to give up international travel, even if my return trip is in a box.
However, don’t forget your own backyard. In your own state you can find a hundred places to visit that you passed up or forgot; and, you can find a number of ways to get there without a lot of hassle. Most are driveable in a short time; even in large states such as New Mexico and Arizona.
I will take you on a tour of my backyard with trips around New Mexico and Arizona. This is my backyard; big, but manageable.
The goal is to search out interesting and unusual places that we, as “old people” might find interesting. These are places that will give us topics of conversation.
My goal is to visit places that interest me, and sometimes, my wife. I will provide you with search terms that you can apply to your own backyard and will search out tips for you as a senior. I will also view places acceptable to grandkids.
Anyway, I have lived in New Mexico for almost 50 years and there are large parts of it I have not seen, or experienced. Places new and very, very old.
I don’t want to forget why I came here; Philmont Scout Ranch in 1954, the diverse population, the extremes in poverty and education, the extremes in geography, and the laid-back lifestyle.These all seem even more important to me now as I approach 74.
If you are travelling and want an interesting way to experience your destination, consider “Continuing Education.” In most towns with a university there is a continuing education program. All you have to do is search “continuing education” and the town or university that you are interested in.
Since I live in Albuquerque, New Mexico, I use UNM. (ce.unm.edu) This link takes you to the Story of New Mexico. Here you can find lectures and trips around New Mexico. The nice thing about these trips is that they include transportation, a guide, lodgings in interesting places, and some meals.
I have selected, but not yet registered for (the catalog just came today), the following fall trips:
1. Visit Georgia O’Keefe Home and Studio – $95 on Oct. 7 or Nov. 14. – This tour is usually wait-listed.
2. Hopiland – Two days – Aug. 20-21 and Nov. 5-6 – $260.
3. Acoma Pueblo San Estevan Feast Day and Harvest Dance -Sep. 2 – $70.
4. The San Ildefonso Corn Harvest Dance – Sept. 8 – $70
5. Meeting the Spirituality of Northern New Mexico – Oct. 30-31 – $300.
6. The Confederate Invasion of New Mexico; Glorieta Pass – Nov. 7 – $92.
And a lot more. This is just New Mexico. You have to get on your computer and see what is available where you are going and when. I have done it in New Mexico, Arizona and Florida.
If you are old like me, you may not be comfortable driving in strange places, or after dark. You might also like to have arrangements made for you.
One of the best tours that I have taken was to the Crownpoint Rug Auction. It was great to have someone else drive me to Crownpoint; but, it was even better to have someone drive me back to Albuquerque at 1:00 in the morning after the auction was over. You can buy Navajo rugs from the weavers who wove them; and, at good prices.
A word of advice. Don’t eat the furnished “box lunch.” Go for the fry bread and the Indian Tacos that they serve at the auction. This trip was run by the senior centers in Albuquerque a few years ago. I have been watching for it to pop up again. An excellent source of trips is the senior center bulletin board; the centers are also good for free books, cheap coffee and cheap lunches. You can also find wi-fi. Next new town you are in, stop by a senior center and see what they have.
In Albuquerque, NM there is a Performing Arts Center and Exhibit Hall devoted to African-American Culture and History. It is a new, modern building located next to the NM State Fair Grounds at 310 San Pedro, NE.
The Exhibit Hall is well worth a visit. The current exhibit is “Black Wings.” This describes the role of African-Americans in aviation from the very beginnings to the present day and includes inventors, stunt pilots, daredevils and astronauts. It is a part of history that few of us are familiar with and reflects the contributions of African-Americans.
The Performing Arts center presents plays and musical performances. The next one is “The Ricky Malihi Jazz Ensemble” which will perform on August 9, 2014.
As a traveler you should search sites in each town that you plan to visit for events that you might otherwise never consider. Every town has them.
While in New Mexico you should also search and consider visiting sites where the “Buffalo Soldiers” were stationed and fought. African-Americans were active in NM before, during and after the Civil War. Read more about them.
Visit the Center’s web page to discover a worthwhile attraction.