45…60…100 – It Beats Me
This morning I was cornered by one of the Usual Suspects – a fine man in his 80s who is also something of an athlete. Today he spent twenty minutes telling me that he has to go in tomorrow and see his Cardiologist because his Pacemaker needs adjustment. It seems that his heart (While still working) is running at about 100 beats per minute day or night, at rest or active. Even I know that 100 beats per minute is a tad brisk if you are just sitting down having a talk with me.
My normal heartbeat rate is at about 60 beats per minute and I’m cool with that. This 80-something dude is a National Champion in the game of Pickle Ball (Look it up) and his “normal” heart rate is 45 beats per minute. To me that sounds a bit tortoise-like.
He said that his Pacemaker is set to keep his ticker beating at that 45 per minute rate and has been for years. He is definitely alive and bears no resemblance to a Galapagos Island Giant Tortoise even though I suspect there may be a genetic link somewhere that enables a man in his 80s to be a Champion athlete.
This morning, as I sat sucking up my first coffee of the day, my friend the Senior Citizen Jock sat across the table from me grousing about his Doctor. I told him that he shouldn’t complain too much – after all, that Doctor was keeping him alive. I suggested to him that he keep his complaints to himself at least until he is dead then he would really have something to grouse about. I don’t think he is going to take my advice to heart (No pun intended).
I have a Cardiologist too. I see him about once a year. My appointment with him usually runs about two hours: One hour and fifty-seven minutes sitting and waiting and three minutes while he asks me how I am feeling and takes a peek at my feet to see if they are swollen (They aren’t…well, not more than usual). You walk around on this planet for 72.8 years on my shabby legs and your feet will look a bit puffy too at the end of the day.
I have been seeing this Cardiologist for about ten years and he is not looking all that healthy himself. I have already had one doctor retire on me and this one is headed that way too. I think he needs to spend some time with my friend the Pickle Ball Champion. He might pick up a few pointers on how to be an active and healthy athlete at 80 + years – even with a Pacemaker set at 45 beats per minute.
It seems to me that if I was a man in my mid 80s and still together enough to be a competitive athlete, let alone a National Champion, I wouldn’t be complaining all that much about things – least of all about the Doctor who still has me breathing on a regular basis.
But that’s just me.