Daze of My Life/Itís the Same Difference

by Kenneth B. Lourie

Recently Iíve had a bathroom drain snaked and unclogged by my plumber; my air conditioning ducts professionally vacuumed and sanitized; my overgrown and under-maintained two acres of trees, grasses, bushes, garden beds, wildflowers and weeds pruned, mowed and cut; my gutters and downspouts powerfully unplugged; my 11-year-old septic tank pumped; the radiator flushed on my newer car; my upstairs bathroom shower head unblocked after years of lead pipe sediment; periodontal surgery to clean out and disinfect a deep pocket that had formed under a crown; and Iíve even started putting drops in my ears to loosen up a chronic wax build-up problem. Perhaps youíll understand why Iíve been hesitant to return to my internist for my three-month follow-up appointment. I have a feeling, given my age, that my doctor is going to advise that a colonoscopy is indicated, which, as many of you know, is hardly a walk in the park. Au contraire.

If so, I suppose I should consider myself lucky that my doctor is a) paying attention and b) itís not a cardiac catheterization that heís scheduling. Not that I believe everything in life is related, but there does seem to be a pattern emerging with respect to the type of work Iíve had done lately. Granted, whatís necessary to maintain my property is hardly whatís necessary to maintain my body, but nature and nurture are not exactly on opposite ends of good health.

Nature needs to live and breathe and have room to grow in order to thrive in its natural environment. And my home needs to be clean and clear of debris, so it, too, can function safely and efficiently. Not so different from yours truly. If I donít have the proper balance of diet and exercise, if I donít have the proper nutritional opportunity and time to tend to my own mental and physical well being, so too might I become adversely affected. If so, the damage will be done, the effects irreversible and the solution somewhat unpleasant. Be it medical, mechanical, electrical or however impractical, if the underlying problem has been left untreated for too long, the outcome may be regrettable. And whatís even worse than the repair itself is the responsibility (or lack thereof) for causing (by neglect) the disrepair in the first place. Neglect, however benign, is still neglect. And dealing with the consequences of my own inaction would likely stop me dead in my own tracks - figuratively speaking - and make me my own worst enemy.

And as I sort through the various tasks of homeownership, car maintenance and yardwork occurring simultaneously with my irregular visits to Kaiser Permanente, perhaps the physical improvements I see at home might encourage me to take better care of myself in-home.

Why should my house, my car and my yard get better treatment and follow-up than I give my own body? After all, without me and my credit card, all the progress stops. So if thereís any karma coming back for all the effort Iím spending attempting to improve the overall quality of my life, remember this - if I go, everything goes. And if I stay, thereís likely to be continued improvement, probably slowly, but progress nonetheless. Thatís my intention, anyway.

Lourie is a regionally syndicated columnist who resides in Burtonsville, MD.