The ‘miracle cure’ for many seniors | NevadaAppeal.com

The ‘miracle cure’ for many seniors

Sam Bauman

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I've just made an appointment with Carson Tahoe Health's therapists in Carson City. I've seen them before over these senior years usually over aching back problems. First time after going over my back pains they suggested a simple palliative that I've used ever since for my back.

"Buy a horizontal bar, put it in a doorway you pass daily, and every time your back hurts, hang from it for a minute or two. Just let your body dangle, maybe pull up now and then."

I found a bar ($11.95), screwed it in place and began hanging from it when my back ached.

And lo, the back pain eased for several hours. I still hang from it daily as part of my regular workout and it still works. It's a beautiful example of good therapy for a senior.

Not good for everyone probably, but it works for me and no surgical intervention needed.

Like most seniors, I've had my share of surgery, two examples (not counting tonsils removed as a child) with no ill effects.

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First was getting a new knee. After more than 50 years of skiing and teaching, my right knee hurt badly. The folks at Tahoe Fracture Clinic X-rayed and reported that the meniscus in the knee was worn out and no longer lubricated the joint, hence the pain. The solution was simple, they said. Get a new artificial knee joint of steel, done every day around Tahoe.

Day after the operation, I walked up a short flight of stairs, in a week I was walking with a cane. A physical therapist visited me and suggested some exercises. In a month my knee worked fine — no pain — and it has ever since (more than for 10 years).

The other surgery was while I was working as a newspaperman in Germany. One night I woke with a severe stomach ache. My wife drove me to the American military hospital in Munich (as a veteran they would see me). The doctor said "upset stomach" and gave me some pills.

By the time we got home the pain worse and my wife took me to the county hospital where they decided my appendix had burst and rushed surgery. Never forget that as they were prepping me the doctor looked down and said (in German), "Well, I operated on a lot of the Ruskies on the Eastern Front, but this is my first 'Ami' (American)."

The surgery was successful and as I spent a couple of days recovering the hospital allowed my wife to bring me wine.

I figure two surgeries are probably average for an American senior. But since then I have used therapy for almost all my ills (and I still use the horizontal bar daily). My new therapy session will, I'm sure, help me with current woes — first, bringing my usual typing skills back to normal, and second refreshing earlier therapy for poor handwriting. My cursive writing was messy and therapy cleaned it up, but it was slipping as I skipped my regular exercises.

I'll also get therapy for poor balance, an offshoot from hearing problems I recently learned about from the Mayo Clinic. So I've got some hours of therapy ahead of me, tiring I'm sure but so much better than surgery.

So therapy is the "miracle cure" for many senior problems. At least from my point of view and experience. Medicare helps with the costs. I also use the VA in Reno, but their therapists are busy helping young veterans, so I don't bother them.

Post-Easter fun

Most of us spent the last weekend involved in Easter observations, some fun, some religious. I spent Sunday morning visiting a local church where they tolerate irreligious ones such as me. It hardly seemed appropriate for the U.S. Air Force to drop the biggest non-nuclear bomb made on Afghanistan but the terrorists are still out there. So, if you're in the mood for a movie, there's a varied offering in town. One you may want to skip is "The Shack," which involves religion but maybe not the kind you're expecting.

Sure to be a top seller will be "The Fate of the Furious," an action-jammed suspense-thriller, with the gang out for violent fun. If you missed earlier versions of the "Fast and the Furious" franchise, buy a ticket for this one and get 50 percent off previous versions.

The comedy "Going in Style" stars three veterans — Alan Arkin, Morgan Freeman and Michael Caine — on a caper. The three want to skip retirement and step off the straight-and-narrow. Fun. Also, the fairy tale fantasy "Beauty and the Beast" may be good for a post-Easter outing, "The Boss Baby" with Alec Baldwin has its moments. "Ghost in a Shell" has some suspense moments and "The Smurfs: The Lost Village" keeps kids happy.

And if you somehow have missed "La La Land" you can enjoy it at the Carson Stadium Cinemas.

History note: John Steinbeck's depression area novel the "The Grapes of Wrath" was published in 1939 and became a fine movie. Also in 1940, Ernest Hemingway published his novel "The Sun Also Rises" following his earlier over in 1929 "A Farewell to Arms," considered his finest work.

Sam Bauman writes about senior affairs, among other things, for the Nevada Appeal.

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