Blogs > Jim Collins' Editor's Notebook

Jim Collins is editor emeritus of The News-Herald and also serves as executive in residence at Lakeland Community College. His popular weekly column appears each Sunday in Comment in The News-Herald.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Dealing with physical ailments can be painful at times

Every morning at the same time, after we have attended to the needs of the animals, the lady of the house and I sit down at the table and enjoy breakfast together.
She pours her Cherrios and I pour my Cranberry Almond Crunch (hey, we can’t agree on everything) and I turn the small dining room TV on to the national news. You might say we are creatures of habit.
The  news is alternately informative, interesting and depressing. The commercials are uniformly revolting. The vast majority of them are about dread diseases guaranteed to either kill you or leave you in no condition to enjoy life, cure you with pills and ointments that have horrendous side effects, or leave you gasping for breath while waiting for the Grim Reaper to haul you off.
The awful side effects are so dreadful that, if you survive the medications being advertised, you will probably wish you were dead.
If you have seen any of these TV blurbs, you know exactly what I mean. It seems virtually impossible to survive the side effects.
A close friend of mine uses one of the advertised products despite the dire warnings because it does produce the desired result of relieving the pain in his feet.
I also endure pain in my feet, or rather, my left foot, but I would rather live with the pain than with the morbid thoughts of death and transfiguration warnings that accompany the pills.
I first learned to identify the foot pain, a nerve condition, while talking with another friend, my long-time golf partner, Ken Gamiere (the one from Lubrizol) who has the same kind of pain – of approximately the same degree.
The only thing you can do about it, as far as I know, is to take pain killers. If ordinary over-the-counter pain pills don’t do the trick, then the only solution is to go to the doctor and get a prescription for something stronger – something you had better not get caught carrying around without the proper credentials from your doctor, shall we say.
And that is my course of action. The pain is enough to make you wish you were on a desert island someplace.
The good news is, the pills make the pain go away. The better news is, the pain is erratic. I have taken as many as two or three in one night so I could sleep. Other times I don’t take a pill for two weeks. So that is good. I do not ever want to become a pill junkie, although I understand there are addicts who take them not for pain but rather for the “high” they bring on.
That high is not for me. Not for a moment. I would love to be pain-free and pill-free. But if that never comes about, I will continue taking as few pills as possible.
Lately I have noticed that I have become obsessed with shoes, particularly with the footwear people have on and whether the occupants seem comfortable in them.
I bought a couple pairs recently that look like bowling shoes. If they happen to feel good, appearances can take a back seat. Besides, there is nothing wrong with bowling shoes, is there? They wear them in bowling alleys, don’t they?
My mother often complained about pain in her hip, which she said was rheumatism. She took Anacin tablets, and they did the trick for her.
Anacin never did a thing for my foot. Neither does Tylenol, Advil, or anything else you can buy over-the-counter.
Mom was tough. She lived to be 93, worked hard all her life, and was sharp-as-a-tack until her last day, which came in a half-baked Florida hospital, where she went to get a stitch for a tiny cut on her head and they turned it into pneumonia.
I wish I could get by on Anacin, but I can’t. So I take the little white pills and I take them as infrequently as possible.
And I’m still looking for more canvas bowling shoes. I have some black ones and some grey ones and I’m looking for some blue ones and maybe some tan ones.
My foot doctor, Dr. Arthur Weinstein, known by his license plate as DR TOE, who has practiced in Willoughby almost as long as I have worked here and who is very sharp in every way, including in his medical practice and in his attire, told me not to wear loafers.
So I do my best to follow his advice. But I notice that sometimes he wears loafers. Maybe his feet don’t hurt.
His son shot the all-time lowest round of golf, a 63, at Oakwood Country Club in Cleveland. His record will never be broken because it is no longer a golf course. That is another story. But I digress.
Meanwhile, do all you can do to be healthy, wealthy and wise. And pain free.
You will enjoy all those other things more if you are pain free.



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