Lum: Crossing another Rubicon
November 16, 2016
It starts out a little at a time: the nibbling mouse of night-blindness in your 40s, a tooth clattering into your dish of pudding in your 50s. Then as you get older and weaker the big stuff begins and you need aids to see, hear, walk, chew and breathe and have to keep your pills in a supersized cup-per-day dispenser.
I have just added a new item to my list by purchasing one of those "Help, I've fallen and I can't get up" medic-alert devices. I know, I know. I'm what they call a fall risk even though I only fell once a couple of years ago and it was a trip rather than a stumble. Whatever I call it, I couldn't get up and I was lucky my friend Hilary came in from the shed just then. I've passed out a couple of times when my oxygen was disconnected, my back is still off the charts and I will be 80 in 36 days, but still — damn, damn, damn. Where did that kid go?
A year or so ago I had to wear a heart monitor for a couple of weeks. It kept getting unclipped or butt-dialing a central-command office in Tennessee, a real pain all around, so I'm not wild about the idea of carrying around another piece of hardware but there it is.
If the alternative is The Home, I can be compliant.
A friend of mine gave me the number of a medical-alert place in Utah. I called three times and each time got a woman who said, "I'll see if anyone is in sales." Ring, ring, ring. Answering machines. Leave messages. No return calls.
Carrie, my visiting physical therapist, sent me the number of Medical Guardian in Philadelphia, where I got a very helpful lady named Jen who had emailed me their brochure while I was still on the phone with her and who called back Monday to remind me and go over the details.
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There were four choices with various features — no contract, cancel any time. I picked the brown-bag option for $384.45 per year, figuring I can always upgrade. One choice detects if you have fallen, but my mother had that in her latter years and her company kept waking her up, calling to ask if she was all right.
It comes in both necklace and wristband versions — I will report in full when it arrives. I forgot to ask if it is wireless. If not, I'll look like a Slinky toy with oxygen hoses and med-alert wires. Surely it is wireless!
All of this has served to distract me from the shock of Donald Trump being elected president.
We can all take a joke — how much harm could wrestler Jesse Ventura do as governor of Minnesota. But Trump? President? Newt? Giuliani? Holy mackerel.
And I can't say I'm thrilled to be getting a tsunami of emails seeking input and — of course — money to cripple Trump at every turn, sounding much like the Republicans did when Obama was elected.
I will put on my med-alert bracelet, get under the covers, lick my wounds and hope that I don't fall out of bed.
Su Lum is a longtime local who hates admitting defeats. Her column appears every Wednesday in The Aspen Times. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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