Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well. – 3 John 1:2
It is a sure sign that age is now a factor when your Medicare Advantage provider sends someone to you house to make sure you’re not dead!
Well, something like that. More accurately, “HouseCalls” is an annual in-home assessment service designed to identify care opportunities, provide health education, and help reinforce relationships with the primary care doctor.
So a healthcare person came over to Maul Hall to see me, and to complete a thorough check-up, including sticking my finger to draw some blood for a screening test. The first finger prick didn’t generate enough of the red stuff, so she moved to the next digit. Then of course she tapped a gusher, and it wouldn’t stop!
The nurse-practitioner was very impressed with everything from the paucity of medication (OTC heartburn, that’s it), to my 15,000 steps per day, to my 168-pounds, to my BMI; but my favorite part of the visit was the mental acuity test.
First, she gave me three random words to remember, and then we talked about all sorts of other stuff for probably five to ten minutes. Then she casually asked what the three words were, in passing, while I was in the middle of answering another series of unrelated questions.
But it really wasn’t a fair test, because the words she gave me (“cat,” “baby,” and “house”) were not random at all; the words immediately made me think of our one-year-old grandson… playing with his family cat… in their Miami house. That’s an image it’s impossible to shake.
“AM or PM?
After that, she asked me to draw a clock face – analog – representing the time of “1:15.”
When I completed the task I paused before handing her the paper and said, “I’m sorry, but did you want that time to be AM or PM?”
For a moment she wasn’t sure what she should say! “Next time maybe you should ask for 1:15 AM,” I said, “Just to see what your patients do!”
I’m not sure she thinks I’m very funny at all.
How do we measure health?
But the excercise did make me think about health in general, and how we measure it. Is the essential question functionality… or is it something more. Are we in the business of surviving… or do we want to thrive? Where does our body end and our spirit, our soul, begin?
What is really important, moving forward from 65? And what am I going to need, going into my next decade…? And then my 70’s and 80s, into the 90s and maybe beyond?
Because, and this is a no-brainer, in my world now it is absolutely and irrevocably PM.
How, I wonder, would I measure my spiritual acuity? And what can I do to make it strong?
The good news here is that while eventually – not this time but in due time – my mental acuity test will reveal some slowing down; and that eventually – not “if” but “when” – my physical strength will show some signs or wear and tear; my life with God, the strengthening of my soul and its walk with Jesus, can continue to thrive, and to grow, and – by God’s grace – become the strongest part of who I am.
And that is a good plan. Because, eventually – even though I will continue to thrive rather than simply survive – this life with God that is at the core of who I am is going to be all I need.
All. I. Need.
This is the Good News. This is hope and promise. This is where I want to be strong – DEREK