Nancy Roman

Passing The Torch

So as soon as I proclaimed that Zumba was the most delightful exercise in the world – I seem to have thrown out my back at the very next class.

I had gone to bed a tiny bit sore, and woke up immobile. For the next three days I inched my way from the bed to the shower to the closet to the car to the office to the car and back to bed. But I didn’t call in sick – I only take days off when I can have fun. If I’m going to be miserable, I might as well go to work.

But three days was enough and I called the doctor. I made an appointment for the next afternoon.

Naturally, the following morning I had a miraculous recovery. But my husband convinced me to keep the appointment anyway. He wanted the doctor to give me the okay to go back to Yoga and Zumba, and I admitted that it might be good idea.

One of the unfortunate facts of growing older is that you begin to outlive (so to speak) all the folks you depended on.

My doctor retired this year.

He was an irascible old coot. The kind of guy that you would cast for a TV show about an irascible old coot doctor. You know the guy: part Walter Brennan and part Captain Kangaroo.

I’d been seeing Captain Kangaroo for more than twenty years. He was my husband’s doctor for more than thirty-five years.

The old coot told my husband to give his successor a chance – that she was smart and current and a very good doctor.

So I went to my three o’clock appointment. My husband drove me. Even though I was feeling quite well, he always wants to take me to the doctor. He’s certain that I will need to go immediately to the hospital – and not only would he want to be there; he’d worry about the car.

I got out of work a few minutes later than I intended, and so my husband drove like a maniac. As if the doctor would send me home unseen if I were a minute late. Because of course doctors never run late.

I saw the doctor at 4:45.

I figured she’d be a little younger than me. Everyone is. And so she was.

Yes, she was Young, with a capital Y. And hip. Fantastically hip. Red funky hair and cool clothes. And what was most incredible – no name tag.

I explained my problem. My former problem. She laughed and said that going to the doctor was just like bringing your car in for service. Suddenly you can’t make the engine do that funny thing you’ve been worrying about.

She thought I must have had some kind of muscle spasm. She also thought I had a very cool watch.

Her recommendation. Skip Zumba for a week, but definitely go to Yoga. She’s a devotee.

She also wants me to have a colonoscopy. Since I’m about ten years late. “I know you don’t feel sixty,” she said. “But well…”

I liked her. It’s comforting to have your doctor look like the Anacin commercial guy. But this woman could be my friend. A trendy, funny, and smart friend. We could go shopping together. Or Yoga.

I’m sure she thought the same thing.

I can just hear her discussing her day with her (very hot, I’m sure) boyfriend, as she relaxes with a glass of Pinot Gris:  “….then there was the crazy old lady with the coolest watch…”


  1. I feel you, I dread the day my doctor retires!


  2. As I was reading your post, my first thought was, stick with yoga.
    I have found all the docs have gotten very young too.
    Glad you found a “cool” one.


  3. Once again, relating to your post: my gyn retired this year – I’d been seeing him for 32 years. Now, for the first time in my life, I’ll be seeing a younger than me gyn…. Also, my hubby insists on driving me for every dr’s appointment, no matter how trivial. Even the dentist….

    Hopefully, the break from Zumba will be just what your back needs! Glad you like your new doc.


    • My gyn retired three years ago…I’d been seeing him since I was 18. I hate his replacement.


  4. My dentist and my doctor have both retired…glad your back is better.


  5. I love young doctors — they are more familiar with newer techniques. My boss, a drug safety expert, can tell within 2 years when a doctor graduated medical school, because they prescribe what they learned to prescribe when they were residents. And when that was 30 years ago, welll….


  6. Maybe your new young doctor would consider adopting you as her ‘cool, sixty-year-old mom’! Then you could hang out together, meet all her cool young yuppie friends and buy her a watch to match yours! If you get in her good graces I’m sure she will be sure to tell the doctor doing the colonoscopy to give you extra ‘la-la land’ medication before anything big gets inserted into anything little!
    All the best and won’t your colonoscopy experience make for a great post!


    • Yeah, but I think I will skip the illustrations on “My Colonoscopy”.


  7. Glad the new doc is so hip!! That is awesome!! But even more so that your back is better!!! Glad that you will be back “zumba-ing” with the best of them soon!!!!


  8. pharphelonus

    Funny stuff. Erma Bombeck retired too.


  9. In all seriousness, DO take care of yourself. I had minor, nagging lower back pain that I ignored until it blew up into debilitating, life-altering lower-back pain last summer. I tried Zumba once a few years back, before I was these problems, and it bothered my lower back almost immediately. Now, you’re not me — this may just be a temporary blip for you, rather than a chronic vulnerability — but I’d consider doing a lot of extra stretching and core work if you’re going to do Zumba. Yoga is probably helpful, actually! Good luck.


  10. In for a check on your back and out with a colonoscopy appointment. . .oh well! The signs of aging are everywhere. Before going to get the dreaded colonoscopy, please read Dave Barry’s take on it. It has to be one of the funniest things ever, and will definitely be a great prep and put you in the mood. IF YOU READ NO MORE OF THIS COMMENT (and I would suggest that reading any more of my comment would be a waste of time, but being modest, I wont’t) PLEASE READ DAVE BARRY’S COLONOSCOPY COLUMN – I ALSO URGE YOUR READERS WHO ARE DESPERATE ENOUGH FOR READING MATERIAL THAT THEY WOULD READ THIS COMMENT, ALSO READ HIS COLUMN! HERE IS THE LINK:

    I had a woman doc for a number of years and I miss her like crazy. We moved awaY, alas. She was just a bit older than I, but very hip, and of course she looked years younger than I. We actually did make friends and did some things together. It was cool. Then I was fortunate to find another lady doc when we lived in Vermont, who was also fantastic – and we are still friends, even though we moved away years and years ago. She was younger than I, and just starting her family, so she is probably still practicing. The other doc, since she was older has probably retired and might even be healing people in the next world. . .who knows? I can’t find her on Facebook, so she must be dead. right? (God! I hope not! I hope that just makes her smarter than I am.)

    I wish you the sort of luck that you don’t really need, but which everybody wants. . .including me, who is still putting her colonoscopy off (even though my Dad died of colon cancer. Go figure.)



    • Oh my god! Hilarious! I’ve been crying here for about 10 minutes. But I do now have another worry….how in the world will I write about my colonoscopy now, when it’s been recounted like this???


  11. hmm. i like the post, but am nervous that one day i will go in for some “muscle spasm”ish pain and be told i need a colonoscopy. somehow that just seems unfair. glad you are feeling better. ;o)


  12. I now have a lady doctor too. She’s thorough, no nonsense and probably 20 years younger than me. I like her a lot. Lucky me.

    Your blog had me in stiches and the link to Dave Barry’s piece from Paula had me rolling on the floor. I’ve never had one yet although in Canada we do home kits. Don’t want to get graphic as children might be listening.


  13. Lisa

    Sorry the Zumba led to a colonoscopy.


  14. Dor

    Isn’t it scary when your doctors and policemen seem too young? Good thing you like the new gal physician! Great story.


  15. Dave Barry’s account of the colonoscopy is pretty much on target. I am a small person. I weight 110 lbs. They overestimated the amount of laxative needed. I was supposed to be able to work a normal schedule the day before but around 2, my anxiety was up so I thought I’d go home and relax (right!). Fortunately I did because around 3 I experienced uncontrollable, projectile diarrhea. Can you imagine that at work? Other than the prep, there is nothing uncomfortable about the procedure except the visual! Get it done but go home early the day before.


  16. Can’t wait to hear about the colonoscopy 😉


  17. It’s too bad we can’t retire from being sick when our doctors retire.
    On the colonoscopy thing – see if your doctor can give you pills for the night before instead of the dreaded MoviPrep. My friend somehow convinced her doctor she couldn’t do the MoviPrep, and got an alternative.


  18. Margie

    I had back trouble recently too. My Dr. sent me to someone who does massage therapy. Very painful, but combined with some specific exercises and better stretching I am feeling better than I have in a long time!


  19. Well – my non-medical recommendaton would be yoga yoga and more yoga!! And – I’m kind of inspired by the young doctors these days. Hope your back feels better soon!


  20. At least you can say you threw your back out doing zumba. That’s better than the time I hurt mine sneezing.


    • Oh dear… can I feel sympathy for you and laugh my head off at the same time?


  21. Loved the miraculous recovery part. Never fails. Hope your recovery is quick.


  22. Hate it when your health care people retire, especially when you were about the same age when you started going to them. Talk about making you feel old!


  23. I love a doctor who will actually talk to you like a person. It’s troubling when your doctor looks like a 12-year-old (as all people younger than me do), but it is nice that the new school seems a bit better at recognizing that there is a person in their office along with a body.


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