“Modern medical advances have helped millions of people live longer, healthier lives.” Ike Skelton
I’m going to be off a few weeks – working at becoming the Bionic Woman, one hip at a time. (This will be my second and shoulder next). But the prospect of joint replacement surgery got me thinking about the incredible time we live in in terms of medical advances. I’m old enough to remember the very first heart transplant ever, to have had to reschedule my wedding because a beloved member of our wedding party had found a donor and was going to have a kidney transplant – a rare and tricky procedure then that is commonplace today. I remember discussing the prognosis for our friend and hearing the word that the expectation was that the transplant – if it worked at all – would give our friend five more years of life. He is, thank God, still very much alive and that was 45 years ago.
I remember too, a time when there was no such thing as joint replacement – if your knees went bad or your hips gave out, you lived with a lot of pain and wound up in a wheel chair. Arthritis is not a forgiving disease – you can slow it down but you can’t completely restore function once a joint is badly worn. But today, the miracles of modern medicine let us opt to replace knees, hips, shoulders with titanium parts or to fuse the vertebrae in the spine with metal rods. Most people come through such surgeries extremely well and after several months of physical therapy, they are almost as good as new! I’m pretty sure that we’ve barely scratched the surface of the kinds of advances that are going to keep people living and living well well into their second centuries of life. It is indeed a Brave New World – and I’m grateful that I get to be a part of it.
So I hope your first weeks of summer are filled with light and warmth and joy and I’ll see you when I get back around the end of the month. I’ll be looking forward to catching up on all your “discoveries” and creations when I get back