Today I am a man. No, that was my bar mitzvah speech 66 years ago.

Would you believe today, this very day, I am 89 years old. No kidding! Somehow, someone let me live this long.

For 40 years or more, the DMV made me take a driving test every two years because of my poor vision. Last time out in 2013 they gave me a license for five years. I fooled them, at age 87. I stopped driving because I wasn’t comfortable on the road.

And now…drum roll, please! I want to give you my birthday present. Ready? Take one-half an avocado and mush it up and put it on half an English muffin. It’s delicious and a real healthy, light-weight breakfast. All components from life coach Julie Wilhoit.

Sold my car to Carmax and that was a pleasant experience. Nice folks! That same month I acquired a 4-wheel electric scooter and that got me around nicely to the drug store, coffee shop, CVS and a lot of doctors around here. The scooter was great, but the sidewalks tore me apart.

Then last spring I had a series of returning back and neck problems (L4/5 and S1), which led to a July 5th episode where I couldn’t move out of a chair. So, Gabriele got some good-looking fireman to come and take me to the Marina del Rey Cedars Hospital (4 blocks away) where I spent the July 4th weekend while they tried to figure out what was wrong.

With the aid of blood tests, x-rays and scans of all kinds, they finally got to a scan that showed problems in L2/3. With the help of a CT scan at the hospital, they pinned the problem down to a bone spur in that L2/3 area. That was what was causing pain in my legs while the lower back was causing the back pain.

The doctors I was seeing all sort of agreed I couldn’t consider surgery but I needed to see a pain management doctor. This is kind of a mystery classification. Almost all the pain management doctors only do injections of one kind or another.

Oh my gawd, I turned 89 today. I know they say it’s only a number, but my personal experience tells me there’s a lot more involved than just a number.

There’s only so much you can do to thwart the physical and aging problems.

Since July of last year, I have fallen about 12 times. Fortunately, none were serious but some allowed me to have a tour of all the local ER’s. Main cause was probably Gabapentin. It reduced the back pain but made me unstable. Now off it but still a little unstable.

My father lived to 91 (the last seven years in a nursing home) and my mother made it to 97 before deciding she had enough.

I’m not sure how 89 really happened. Certainly, I never gave any thought to being 89. No one gave me a clue or prepared me in any way. On the other hand, I’m sure I wouldn’t have listened.

So let me be honest with you…are things the same—NO! Have things changed that I don’t seem to be able to control—ABSOLUTELY!

• I have shrunk almost two inches
• It’s a lot harder to make decisions
• I struggle to be fast on my feet with comments, retorts or clever responses
• Still have a good sense of direction, but now uneasy about if I’m driving the right way
• Having anxiety, especially about trips and going anywhere
• Takes me longer to write anything, like my blogs
• I now wear flannel shirts all winter
• Can’t think of anything clever to reply on Facebook postings
• Becoming more ambivalent and blasé about going to things; theater, events, and the like
• Not sure I want to travel anymore. After 81 countries and seven continents, maybe it’s enough.
• Every activity seems more of a hassle
• I like staying home more than I ever imagined. It’s just more comfortable.

Is this really happening? I used to be quick on the draw with decisions, comments and opinions. Yes, I know the alternative is not desirable, but does it all have slowly get taken away.

Physically I’m doing pretty well:

• I have almost a full head of hair
• Only about 10 pounds overweight
• Eat less, especially at lunch and dinner but don’t lose weight
• BP is very normal, with no drugs
• Cholesterol a little high
• Have neuropathy—cold extremities and very poor balance. With the help of a trainer, my balance has improved in spite of doctor’s predictions.
• Teeth strong and healthy
• Only real problem is walking. I’m slow and a little like a drunken penguin.

I never tried:

• Surfing
• Skiing downhill
• Skating – roller or ice

I never ate:

• Short ribs
• Octopus
• Pigs knuckles

I always heard that old people sleep a lot. Sure didn’t work that way for me, at least all at one time in bed. At least a nap or two helps!

I’ll give you another report in 10 years, God willing!


Filed under Blog

13 responses to “HAPPY BIRTHDAY, ART

  1. gordon roberts

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY Art!!!!!!!! It seems like only yesterday that we were both young men. At least you still have all your hair, and we are rooting for you to reach the next 10 years.
    Gordon Roberts & Jan Woodley Walker

  2. Happy Birthday Art
    I love you. Thanks for all you have done for me and all you do.
    I wouldn’t be your favorite if I didn’t point out that 89 – 13 =s. 76 years since your Bar Mitzvah.
    You probably made that “typo” on purpose just to see if anyone would catch it!

    • Thanks for your good wishes and your very warm comments on my blog. And, yes, you are correct…. My barmitzvah was 76 years ago…. Congratulations on catching the typo!!!!(really wasn’t a typo)


  3. Judy A Hart

    You are such an incredible man. I loved reading all of this about you but I’m so sad about the walking aspect. You have so much to say and I hope you continue to say it. I love you, Art. Happy Birthday and I look forward to your next report!!
    Judy Hart

  4. ggoldaper

    As the president of your fan club…. to me you are still my “young” lover and best ever husband!!!

  5. Ruth Rosenberg

    Good for you and for everything you have accomplished; keep up the good work!
    Happy Birthday again.

  6. Dan Goodstein

    What a guy! You always tell it like it is, and your “Today I am a man” (only older) message above is the best Bar Mitzvah speech I’ve ever read or heard. It’s “for real”, as they say. Thank you for your honest and wise words. I wish you well for many years ahead. Your loving wife, Gabrielle, your family and friends have so much more to learn from you. Happy Birthday. Dan

  7. warren8235

    Art, you have a great sense of humor and a zest for life. Happy Birthday and keep it up. love, Elaine Deutsch

  8. bonnie sachs

    omg art! you are still working on all your hilarious cylinders! happy happy birthday. somehow this ended up in junk, even tho i had always received your blog posts. stay well, my friend!!!!! and you too gabriele:) xob

  9. Art – Happy Birthday, Young Man. Looking forward to your update in 10 years. Since I turned 69 last December (I know, still a young whipper-snapper….or is it whimper-snapper?), I’ve been telling everyone that I’m celebrating my 70th year on this earth. So you can tell everyone you’re celebrating your 90th year on the planet if you want.

    Just fyi — we cancelled the 2020 Critical Care Expo, which was scheduled for Indianapolis in early May with 7,000+ acute and critical care nurse attendees and 400+ exhibiting companies. Just wanted you to know there will be plenty of acute and critical care nurses available in early May in case we (you and I and perhaps some of the others who replied to your always entertaining and enjoyable Blog) might need some critical care. In your case, probably not until your at least 99 or beyond. Take care and thanks for sharing your fascinating life and times! Randy

    PS – Did you ever have to cancel a show or event due to a pandemic or other global disaster or emergency?

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