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Devion's Views #151

GERIATRICS AND A CIVICS LESSON
(posted April 22, 2018)

If you are old enough to remember the milkman, bread man, iceman and the family doctor, who all made house-calls delivering their services directly to your home, face it - you're a geriatric.

The milkman, bread man, iceman have gone the way of the dodo.

Need milk, bread, ice or a doctor now; go to their place of business. It's called progress.

Geriatric is a word I really dislike.

Wonder why?

When used as an adjective: relating to old people, especially with regard to their health care.

When used as a noun: an old person, especially one receiving special care.

Grandma was right, getting old sucks, but why rub it in with a harsh word like geriatric.

As the "geriatric" demographic continues to explode, surely the time has come to introduce another word; a more gentle, kinder, sympathetic, compassionate, more understanding word.

Suggestions anyone?

Two years ago, my long-time GP retired. I relied on his medical advice and guidance for a quarter of a century and his departure was unsettling, given the shortage of family doctors.

Even more unsettling, to a man who remembers "the good old days", the replacement was a woman.

A geriatric specialist whose previous practice included time spent providing medical services to the Navajo Nation in the U.S..

The new GP turned out to be a no-nonsense practitioner. Her first act was to destroy my medical history file. Start afresh by filling out medical forms, and an hour-long interview.

The time was approaching for the annual physical. The part of this procedure that always produced unease, was quadrupled since it had never been "administered" to me, by a woman.

Previous GP's referred to it (no doubt using medical jest) as, "the Italian salute" preceeded by the command "assume the position".

Calling to book the appointment, I was informed that my new GP did not conduct the annual physical for anyone "over a certain age". Immediately my trepidation disappeared.

There are rewards for getting old, after all.

Another geriatric ritual for those of us who live in British Columbia:

When you reach 80 (Happy Birthday), in order to maintain a driver's licence, the provincial government requires you get a full physical examination to ascertain your fitness to drive.

The cost, $140 to drive a car and there is no escaping, regardless of how "friendly" you are with your GP.

My most recent driver's physical was conducted by the "newish" GP.

Specializing in geriatrics, she applied an unfamiliar series of tests for memory and other brain functions.

It was challenging and stressful.

She explained the information will be used to compare future tests and assist in detecting the onset of dementia and other deteriorating brain activity related to aging.

It's impossible to argue against the wisdom of a provincially legislated driver's examination, every two years, for seniors.

Many fear failing the exam and losing another part of their independence, which doesn't aid the blood pressure test.

Sidney by the Sea, British Columbia, is a typical senior retirement community on Vancouver Island, where it's normal to see aging drivers operating their vehicles; cars on the roads and scooters on the sidewalks.

The ongoing debate: Is public safety more jeopardized by elders driving cars, or scooters?...more likely, both.

What creates drama and excitement on Sidney roadways:

Four elderly drivers arrive at a four-way stop. Each point a finger at the others to proceed into the intersection.

Nobody moves.

Then, all four similtaineously and slowly proceed to meet in the centre of the intersection.

What follows is frantic finger pointing and mouth movements that only a lip reader would interpret to be swearing.

                                      A personal experience

A few years ago, I stopped at a four-way stop sign in Sidney when a car behind me hit the back bumper.

Got out of the car, asking the driver to lower the window.

When I asked the tiny white-haired elderly lady why she hit my car, she started crying, which immediately stifled any attempt to swear at her.

I told her to follow me across the other side of the intersection where we would exchange insurance information.

I drove through to the other side of the intersection, exited the car to witness the lady make a quick left turn and speed away.

The realization I had just been conned by a little old, white haired granny, who cleverly used her fake tears to pull one over on me. That made me smile and laugh out loud. She is still hiding out somewhere in Sidney by the Sea.

                                                 CIVICS

Civics is the study of the theoretical, political and practical aspects of citizenship, as well as its rights and duties; the duties of citizens to each other as members of a political body and to the government. Within a given political or ethical tradition, civics can refer to educating the citizens.

                            The Art of constructing a Cabinet - by guess who?

A wise and effective political leader attempts to construct a Cabinet with smart individuals who are qualified to carry out their respective Cabinet portfolios in the public interest.

On the other hand, someone like Emperor 'Crazy Pants' purposely constructs a Cabinet with individuals who are primarily loyal to him, ultra-wealthy, but not necessarily qualified to carry out their respective Cabinet portfolios in the public interest.

The "Trumpian Cabinet" is loaded with and full of (fill in the blank).

The Emperor's Cabinet, millionaires and billionaires, is the richest in American history who have to make-believe and pretend that somehow, someway their actions will "clean up the swamp" sometime soon.

Fact: Anyone with $1 billion in net worth possesses a tranch of wealth greater than the gross domestic product of 60 nations.

               Will the swamp ever be cleaned up? Nope, nope and nope!

Already, in-house ethics watchdogs have scrutinized several of the Emperor's Cabinet or Cabinet-level officials for questionable conduct not in the public interest.

Health and Human Services Secretary, Tom Price

Veterans Affairs Secretary, David Shulkin

Interior Secretary, Ryan Zinke

Treasury Secretary, Steven Mnuchin

Commerce Secretary, Wilbur Ross

Energy Secretary, Rick Perry

Education Secretary, Betsy DeVos

And more recently, the guy who heads the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Scott Pruitt.

His boss believes climate change is a Chinese hoax.

Prior to his appointment, Pruitt had established himself as an enemy of the very agency he now leads.

Mr. Pruitt has been a reliable foot-soldier, fulfilling the Emperor's anti-regulatory environmental agenda, rolling back regulations and withdrawing from the Paris climate agreement.

What could possibly provoke the head of the EPA to install a soundproof phone booth in his office, biometric locks for his doors, sweep for hidden listening devices, require 24/7 security protection and request a bulletproof vehicle?

What the hell is he afraid of that would necessitate someone who heads an environmental protection agency to live in a sound proof, bullet proof cocoon?

And what about retired neurosurgeon, Dr. Ben Carson, the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, who was caught in a flapdoodle about ordering a $31,000 dining set for his office and $165,000 lounge furniture for the HUD HQ while overseeing a $6.8 billion budget cut that will impact poor and homeless Americans.

How does any of this skulduggery "drain the swamp", "make America great again", or make the world safer?

"A politician needs the ability to foretell what is going to happen tomorrow, next week, next month, and next year. And to have the ability afterwards to explain why it didn't happen" - Winston Churchill

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory