I am writing to you as an ageful 50-year-old man this month. Well, with the nature of the medium that is a monthly publication, I write it as a frolicking 49-year-old. I will probably read it with the disapproval that the old often carry for the youth. I look forward to being smug (and sage) in my 50s.
Some people like to comment that their seven-year-old dog is the same age. I tend to disagree, arguing that we exist in the same temporal universe as dogs and it’s just that they just have a different lifespan. I have never met anyone who would refer to 50 as the same age as a 12-year-old turtle (Google them, if you need to).
This year I will be going back to the doctor to check that my temple is still strong and that there are no occult problems that might knock me off my perch before the shelf life date that was written by my maker. Many readers know the benefits of routine health checks after the age of 50 and how many lives they have ‘saved’. Segway to vet article alert: The same is true of our furry flatmates. That refers to your pet, right, not the Persian upstairs (unless it’s your cat).
At our clinic, as in many others, we have been promoting ‘geriatric’ blood testing for a while. I gotta watch that word myself. Prior to anaesthetising older patients, we try and insist on a basic pre-surgical panel, checking that the organs are not going to suffer from the anaesthetic. Geriatric panels are a little more complete to look for underlying problems that might not be showing clinical signs.
Our geriatric profiles are in various categories, from basic blood checks through to more comprehensive ones, which include chest X-rays, blood pressure and abdominal ultrasound scans. It is rare that we don’t uncover any underlying abnormality in older patients.
If we find an occult problem with an essential organ (such as the liver, heart or kidneys), we can start medications/observations which will increase said lifespan of the animal and, indeed, the quality of those remaining years as well.
Here’s to all of our remaining years. Let them be full of fulfilment!
Catch you later in the year!