94 and a Half.
I’ve spent the week in San Francisco talking in “spooky units.” Numbers that mess with my mind. My trip from Baja was precipitated by the fact that my postponed medical and wellness appointments were seriously past due.
Started with a COVID test in a parking lot on Monday morning. Then, an annual physical and series of blood tests with my personal doc who booked me an urgent appointment with a dermatologist due to a suspicious inflamed seborrheic keratosis on my back. That’s a mouthful. Fortunately, benign.
Did “organ recitals” with my urologist as he did an ultrasound on my dormant, intermediate stage prostate cancer. “Chip, how many times do you go to the bathroom in the middle of the night?” I won’t mention some of the other embarrassing questions I had to answer…”Sir, I don’t know you well enough to tell you that!”
Then, there was my teeth-cleaning visit to the dentist in San Francisco’s largest medical office building where it felt like people were playing an adult game of “cooties” (“Covids”?). Don’t get close enough to touch each other! Getting four people into an elevator and then having it accidentally, abruptly stop for two minutes halfway up the building made me realize this city is full of “permanxiety mode.” Thankfully, I had two lovely appointments with my acupuncturist and miracle worker, Peggy, who told me that Baja is doing me well (except for those spots on my back). Seven different health appointments in just five days. Sounds awful? No, I’m just fortunate to have these options.
You get older and the math becomes more personal, more physical, more existential. And, sometimes it becomes brutally financial.
And, yet, I’ll never forget the real meaning of “personal math” when I was giving a “Modern Elder” talk a year ago at Manny’s in San Francisco’s Mission district. A woman a little older than me brought her 94-year-old mother. We met outside before the talk and then they sat in the first row. When my talk was done and it was Q&A time, “mother” shot her hand up and I called on her and mentioned her age (which she’s proud of) to the audience. She gingerly corrected me in front of everyone, “Chip, I’m 94 and a half! At my age, the half truly counts.” Almost like a four year old...well, I mean a four and a half year old.
What we measure matters. And, here’s my parting video message to San Francisco before I fly to Austin today. I feel like an era (at least for me) has passed.