By Hannah Berman

As people age, they tend to spend more time visiting doctors. It is not because we want to or because we have more time on our hands. Yes, as retired seniors, we do have more leisure time, but we would prefer to spend it in other ways. Females like to shop, have lunch dates with friends, and play cards. Most members of the aging male population like to keep busy and active by attending weekly shiurim (classes) and playing golf. Nevertheless, it is not always possible to do what we enjoy most, since we need to devote more time to ensuring that we stay well. This means visiting doctors and dentists more often.

As younger adults this was unnecessary. An annual visit for a checkup was sufficient, but as time passes, things sometimes go wrong. Cardiology visits are important in order to check out the old ticker at least once a year. And feet take a lot of wear and tear over the years, especially from women who wore (or continue to wear) three- or four-inch heels, so we keep podiatrists in business. My mother had foot issues but she never went to a podiatrist because her foot doctor was known as a chiropodist. Those guys with that funny-sounding name, did the same thing for their patients back then that podiatrists do today, but they called themselves by a different name.

Teeth don’t remain in great shape forever. Happily, those old silver fillings are a thing of the past and when they need to be replaced it’s with a white composite filling that is far more attractive. Years ago, we didn’t know about dental implants or bridges. A bridge was something that was erected to cross a body of water, and a dental implant was unheard of.

But if we’re not busy with the cardiologist, the podiatrist, or the dentist, we spend time with orthopedists or rheumatologists, and that leads to the most time-consuming activities of all — physical therapy, yoga, or Pilates. Muscles need to be tended to, and every senior talks about strengthening his or her core muscles.

There was a time when the only core I knew was inside an apple. But those days are long gone; half the people I know are focused on their cores. The other half could be classified as bionic. These are the folks who have had hips or knees replaced. A lucky few have had both! Surgical orthopedists are in high demand. They do a brisk business.

Diabetes is an issue for many older folks, and others are saddled with hypertension, a fancy name for high blood pressure. In addition to talk about physical-therapy appointments, the most often-heard conversation is about insurance policies. Medicare is provided to everyone over age 65 but a supplemental policy is needed, and any way one looks at it, insurance costs money.

I seriously resent having to spend a single dollar dealing with hypertension and the medication required to treat it. My dream is to send all bills dealing with blood pressure to a certain group of people. It is well-known that aggravation is bad for someone with hypertension, and since Nancy Pelosi, Maxine Waters and Chuck Schumer are responsible for most of my aggravation, I feel they should foot my bills. They are not alone; there are others. But it’s Joy Behar who gets the lion’s share of the credit for making me choke with rage.

Nobody is forcing me to listen to any of these loudmouths, but because it is important to be well-informed, I want to hear what the “other side” has to say. I have no idea why I bother because I already know what they are saying just as I know that hearing them say it will drive me crazy. If I were to attend a session of The View, I would probably have the dubious honor of being the first audience member to be tossed out. It isn’t an audience-participation program but there is no way I would be able to control myself. Chances are high that I would shout out in disagreement every time Joy Behar opens her mouth. It’s hard to think of a more incongruous first name for that woman.

Listening to our president is not always easy either. But I don’t have to listen often because I know what he has to say and most of the time we’re on the same page. Donald Trump’s habit of repeating himself is irritating; he often says the same thing three or even four times whenever he opens his mouth. Another of his habits that irks me is his bragging. I’ve gotten used to his clown-like hairstyle but I dislike watching him constantly clap his hands whenever he appears in front of a crowd. One has to wonder who he’s clapping for. Nevertheless, he is our president, who seemingly works around the clock and he has accomplished more in his short time as president than our former leader did in his eight years. I use the term “leader” loosely since Obama didn’t do much in the way of leading.

Trump is off the hook. In my opinion, he’s not responsible for raising my blood pressure. It is the aforementioned group of people who should pay for my medications and doctor bills. There are many others who should have a place on my list, but what would be the point? Our parents’ democratic party is gone and what is in its place is now a socialist party. Unfortunately, that’s just the way it is.

Adding to my aggravation are recent rumblings that Hillary Clinton may try her luck again and decide to run for president. She lost to Obama and lost again to Trump but she hasn’t given up. If, heaven forbid, that should happen, I can add her to the list of those who should pay for doctor visits and medication related to my blood pressure. That, too, is just the way it is!

Hannah Berman lives in Woodmere and gives private small-group lessons in mah-jongg and canasta. She can be reached at or 516-295-4435.


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