Keeping “Pace” with Advancements in Medicine

Last Thursday, as I sat at the breakfast table with my regular group of seniors, it occurred to me how remarkable the advances in medicine have been in my lifetime.  I can vividly remember the Polio scare of the 50s, and all the precautions that our parents took to prevent us from contracting the dread disease.  iron lungWe were forbidden from drinking at public water fountains, and from swimming in the community pool in our federal housing project.  The fear of being placed in an “iron lung,” or having to be fitted with metal braces for our legs was overwhelming.   Then, along came Jonas Salk and his miraculous vaccine, and the disease was virtually eliminated (along with the well-founded fears) through inoculation.

surgeryThe next big thing was the heart transplant, first executed successfully by Dr. Christiaan Barnard in Capetown, South Africa, in 1967.  Would wonders never cease? we thought. Today, heart transplants, while not exactly routine, have become accepted procedure, with more than 5,000 of them performed around the world each year.  In the same vein, the cardiac pacemaker, once a dicey proposition, has become the routine way of handling arrhythmia, or an irregular heartbeat as it is commonly known.  Receiving one has become so routine that I doubt that anyone over the age of 65 doesn’t know someone personally who has one.  Two of my closest friends have had a pacemaker “installed” within the last two weeks, and one of them was at the breakfast table Thursday—just a week after the procedure!

This morning, I received a call from my physician’s office informing me that my latest blood work had shown increased hypothyroidism, a condition that can lead to higher cholesterol levels and potential risk of stroke (we know about strokes).  Not to worry!  He had already phoned in a prescription for Levothyroxine, the generic name for the synthetic form of thyroxine, a thyroid hormone replacement drug, and by the time you read this, I will already be taking it, and hopefully reducing my cholesterol.  

TeethYears ago, when a senior citizen developed cataracts, he or she was relegated to sitting at home with eyesight that was severely compromised.  Today, most everyone who develops this normal condition of aging undergoes cataract surgery, during which the cloudy lens of the eye is replaced with an artificial lens that lasts the remainder of a lifetime.  If your teeth wear out, there are dental implants.  Hip replacements, knee replacements, corneal transplants, spinal fusions, etcetera—the list is endless.  We are truly living in the age of medical miracles.  So, take heart (pun intended), whatever it is that ails you, modern medical science is probably already hard at work to find a cure or treatment.  To paraphrase comedian Yakov Smirnoff’s oft quoted line: “What a world!”

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About AuthorJoePerroneJr

I am a former professional fly-fishing guide, and I write the Matt Davis Mystery Series, which presently consists of four books: As the Twig is Bent, Opening Day, Twice Bitten, and Broken Promises. The series is set in the real town of Roscoe, NY, in the Catskill Mountains, where I guided for ten years. I love fly fishing, movies, cooking (and eating), and music. To learn more about me and my writing, please visit my website at: http://www.joeperronejr.com.
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8 Responses to Keeping “Pace” with Advancements in Medicine

  1. Dave says:

    And to say nothing about all the new (but ridiculously expensive) drugs coming out now.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Feeling blessed! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Allie P. says:

    It is really amazing to review the advances made in only one lifetime.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thanks, Bill. I should have included CPAPs; how’s it going with that?

    Like

  5. davidprosser says:

    I’ve followed the same advances as you Joe and been just as amazed at some of them. I’ve obviously missed something though as I saw a quiz this week where a contestant had a double lung transplant. I hope a cure for cancer is next on the list.
    Hugs

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m with you, David. I lost my dad and my awesome mother-in-law to the dreaded Big C (along with scores of friends). My wife is a (and she hates the phrase) cancer survivor, too. I hope they did that double lung transplant, one lung at a time. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • davidprosser says:

        Both parents, a sister and my beautiful wife. I think we’ve given enough to that evil disease so I’m glad your wife is still with you.
        Yes, I hope one lung at a time in case of rejection but I’m not sure……….
        Take care.
        Hugs

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Reblogged this on Bill Ramsey's Blog and commented:
    Joe is a friend of mine. His just posted blog is worth the minute required to read it and the twenty minutes required to reflect on the importance of the advances he identifies here. Thank you, Joe.

    Liked by 2 people

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