Senior Voice America - Tampa Bay -



January 1, 2021 | View PDF



By Evelyn Levin

When men of science abandon their roles as medical advisors and become pseudo-scientists, predicting future events or outcomes in a patient’s life, I believe they have overstepped their bounds.

Doctor, based on whatever knowledge you have available, tell me what ails me and how you believe you can handle it. If you believe it’s beyond your scope of knowledge, tell me. In fact, if you believe it’s beyond anyone’s scope of knowledge, also tell me. Do not offer a definitive outcome based on what you believe unless you have a direct line to the Almighty, and he has supplied the words. Even then, I re-quire some proof of that direct line.

See, you wouldn’t be the first who has communicated with a higher power, or at least one who has so claimed. I’m from New York, not Missouri, but we, too, have to be shown. My point is this: Fictional endings have the power to surprise or offend or whatever, depending on the will of the author, but real-life endings and out-comes are unpredictable—despite medical interventions, non-medical machinations and whatever else you choose to call unexpected outcomes.

Unexpected by who or whom? Let’s go back to the doctor who has already decided that my problem is without solution, and, as he has no solution, it is out of his hands. Now it’s in my hands, and what I do is pretty much up to me. Here’s where the tricky part begins, and it’s no longer just a medical question. It’s a question of how one deals with life in general.

If someone tells you that there is no solution to a problem, do you use some expletive (choose your own; we all have favorites, and mine is b------t), think about Newton’s apple or set about finding your own or someone else’s solution? Probably not your own, because you’re not a medical expert, but there’s always Google, and off you go!

Those of us who are growing older disgracefully remember when our doctor was the family doctor, was responsible for our complete bodies, and sent us to a specialist when there was something beyond his sphere of expertise. Not being sex-ist, but there were very few women doctors then. The specialist usually sent his findings to the family doctor, who usually told us we were eventually going to be all right. Even if he never actually said those words, we somehow knew we were in good hands, and things would be fine, or at least OK.

What I’m trying to say is that we never abandoned hope. Probably never even thought about it, never felt hopeless or sad. When our times came, our lives would be over, as determined by a higher power. When I was almost 40, I had breast can-cer with widespread lymph node involvement. After my mastectomy, my doctor told me I was fine. I did not find out until 40 years later, when my doctor retired and I was given my medical notes, that he had classified my prognosis as guarded.

I’m one of those people who believes that it’s not so much what you eat as what’s eating you, so I’m glad he never told me. I’m glad I believed I was OK and that, at 85, I’m too old to die young. When I was young, I lost two friends to breast cancer. I’m still here, although I bitch like crazy about how it sucks to be old.

Go figure! I can’t, but I can still get up every day thinking something good might happen. Emily Dickinson wrote, “Hope is the thing with feathers.” No feathers. Just a ball of fur named Parker, and he has brought me love.

Abandon all hope? Never, never, never.

Read more from Evelyn Levin at (growing older disgracefully).


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