Notes from Jan

Sayonara Surveys

October 6, 2016

Went to doctor’s office yesterday. Annual blood work, plus written and verbal tests from a “medicare specialist.” If one more person speaks to me s-l-o-w-l-y, calls me “sweetie” and asks me to spell world backwards, Lord, help them..and me.

Fortunately, I knew the date, day before Red Sox play the Indians  and 4 days before  Tom Brady’s Patriots face the Cleveland Browns. Also, spelled backwards whirled, world or whorled. The “medicare specialist” chose world.

Aging contains aggravations. As I reflected on yesterday’s survey,  most dealt with physical safety and mental health, both important.  But what is life without risk.  To stay so safe one never ventures out of a recliner is to miss those aspects of life that still dazzle, have potential to leave one spellbound, awed.

Surveys, such as the one I took, aim for early detection of serious issues. However, it’s my hope that better questions, administered by better trained interviewers, will lead to life encouraging practices and away from people demeaning data.

Last April our book group read Atul Gawande’s, Being Mortal.  Helped me better understand issues related to aging, illness and dying.   Dr. Gawande writes,” The battle of being mortal is the battle to maintain the integrity of one’s life–to avoid becoming so diminished or dissipated or subjugated that who you are becomes disconnected from who you were or who you want to be.  Sickness and old age make the struggle hard enough.  The professionals and institutions we turn to should not make it worse.”

Felt better upon reflection:

  1.  “Specialist” weighed my answers, not me!
  2.  God showed up today in Luke 12, The Message,

“Look at the ravens, free and unfettered, not tied down to a job description, carefree in the care of God.  And you count far more.”

CAREfree in God’s care.

Yes or no?


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  • Reply Alice October 6, 2016 at 8:16 pm

    WOO HOO! Yes, Carefree in God’s care.
    And I had the same reaction to Gawande’s book – very helpful.
    I’ve decided that 86 is just a number. It does number my days [years], but wisdom lies elsewhere.
    Thanks for reminding me, Jan.

  • Reply Robert October 6, 2016 at 8:48 pm


  • Reply Wend lane October 7, 2016 at 1:25 am

    I certainly should be carefree, knowing I’m in God’s care! I confess, I am not always though …

  • Reply Radina Welton October 7, 2016 at 2:49 pm

    We are the same age so I do appreciate these thoughts, Jan. By the way, I was delighted to hear you had a few moments with my daughter, Lianne, at the Gordon homecoming celebrations. I’m so glad she and Dan keep up those Gordon connections. It’s a great place with very fine people.

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