Just What I Needed

Dennis Friedman

I MENTIONED IN an earlier article that my wife and I were planning a trip to the U.K. Before we went, I thought I better see my primary care physician. I didn’t want any medical surprises. We’ll be gone for five weeks. A lot can happen to a 71-year-old during that time.

My doctor retired a few months ago, so I decided I’d go see my mother’s old doctor. He specializes in geriatric medicine. I thought he’d be a good fit for my aging body.

He asked me if I had any concerns. I told him I wasn’t sure about my cholesterol. My previous doctor thought it was fine because I had a lot of good cholesterol. He said, “It’s not just the cholesterol levels you look at. You also have to factor in your age, blood pressure and glucose level.”

He put all my data into a formula. “This is your number,” the doctor said. “It’s outside the acceptable range. You need to be on cholesterol medication.”

I also told him I was uneasy about taking the trip. When I’m traveling, It seems like I’m always looking for a restroom. He prescribed medication that will help me manage the issue—one a lot of older men have.

Before I turned 70, I wasn’t on any medication. I was so proud of myself. All my other friends were carrying around pill boxes. Now, I have my own pill box.

But you know what? I’m glad I’m taking medication for my health issues. It’s made the trip more enjoyable. I enjoy my meals more. I’m eating food I wouldn’t have eaten. Of course, you still have to eat sensibly. I’m also not looking for a restroom as often.

I feel a lot younger. This medication has turned back the clock. I always thought the best time to travel is before you retire, and it is. But I feel like I got a second chance.

I found it takes more than money if you want a comfortable retirement. You also have to have your health. At my age, I’m not concerned about running out of money. I’m more concerned about how aging will affect my quality of life.

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