Sam Bauman: Going back in time online can be rewarding
December 16, 2013
When writing about senior matters, it's easy to get caught up in the medical side of things — Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, MD. But there another side to things that I think seniors might find interesting. It's about old friends, lovers, teammates.
I'll share an example of my own that my make the message clearer.
Early this year I stumbled on the name of my last college sweetheart, Gege. Hadn't thought about her since I saw her during a leave from the Air Force, where I was learning about intelligence matters. I drove back to Ohio University, where we shared a date before I left.
So when I found her on the Internet I sent an email and got a swift and glowing response. She had married an All-American football player, had four children, was widowed by a failed operation and lived in New England.
I responded in kind and we began regular emails. She suffers from spinal problems but is a regular at high school basketball games, likes to go to piano bars and sing and generally lives an upbeat life that she shares with me.
Her emails are witty, upbeat and just fun. No moping about; she is living her life on high speed. She's open-minded politically and has a fine sense of some of the past. She recently sent me a file of old things that I may have forgotten about, including a photo of Kukla, Fran and Ollie, a TV show of the past that I enjoyed with another sweetheart of another time.
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So Gege was turning back time for me, not avoiding its passage but reveling in what was there. I send her my columns and movie reviews and she responds wittily. She still a moviegoer, something most seniors give up.
Obviously, I gained a lot and continue to do so with Gege. She's fresh and still the girl I loved back then. Yes, she has aged, but she hasn't let it show. She's as alive as the photo she recently emailed of us back then.
The point of all this is to suggest that seniors could brighten and enlarge their lives by doing some backtracking on the Web. It's easy; go back to college or early adult days and pick an old friend. Search the Internet using the name linked to a time or place. Stir up some old memories.
Good Ol' Doc …
I've been going to the same doctor in Carson City for 15 years, and he has guided me through diabetes and a TIA, or minor stroke. He recently took time to remove a lost big toenail rather than turn it over to the nurse.
As I moved on to Medicare I started getting very small bills after an office consultation — $5 or $10.
As I often write about Obamacare, I knew that his income from Medicare was shrinking, so one morning I asked if I could perhaps pay an extra $50 or so to make up for his loss and costs.
No, thanks, he said, can't do it.
Later, I asked if perhaps I could make a contribution to a charity of his choice.
Again, not needed but thanks. Then he said: "You know, most of my patients are only thinking of themselves when I see them, quite naturally. But they never think of my staff working so hard to help them."
It occurred to me that sharing this story might help us all to think not of ourselves but of those who are helping us through the day.
No need to offer money; doctors can't take it under Medicare. But maybe a small gift to the staff this time of year — a wreath, Christmas gnome, whatever, to let them know you're thinking of them.
Sam Bauman writes about senior issues for the Nevada Appeal.