I saw my doctor and mentioned to him when other matters had been dealt with, that I kept on needing to clear my throat, which was irritating to others and embarrassing to me. Was there anything that could be done about it, this ‘frog in my throat’? He smiled and shook his head. ‘To do with old age?’ I asked. ‘ I am afraid so’, was his answer. It made me realise afresh that I am now in the period of life when all sorts of ‘frogs’ are going to pop up, and one has to grin and bear them rather than expecting they can be cured. Or at least that may be the doctor’s reaction and one that I must respect. Doctors are not miracle workers.
This is the first time – though my doctor is a kindly man – that I have met the road- block at the end of all health problems, namely Age. I may now be subject to a hidden medical agenda, like ‘I have more important things to attend to than someone whose body is wearing out’. Which I am sure must be true, and the limited resources of our National Health Service mustn’t be swallowed up so that older people can be propped up.
Well, I am looking around, and there may be some herbal remedies which could ease what is less a problem than an inconvenience. Alternative medicine isn’t a panacea for all ills, but nor of course is surgery and drugs. People have been healing themselves long before the advent of modern medicine.
‘I can’t do what I used to do’ is a recurring comment amongst the cardiac rehabilitation group I belong to. The strange thing is not that it’s true, but we are so surprised by it! Of course it must be so. Energy and capacity are finite. The ability to do just what you want to do reduces as limbs grow stiff, muscles weaken, and minds slow down. And yet there we are, twenty or so mainly men – five of us over eighty- running around and working on machines as if we were the young lions we hope we once were.
‘I feel better for it’ we say as we stagger back home; and it’s true. Ignoring our aches and anxieties for an hour, we surrender to the idea that the road-block is not as impenetrable as we often fear.
No doubt there will be other ‘frogs’, some of them dispatched with medical help, some not. All of them signs that we are ageing. Mostly they can be lived with. Ageing is a nuisance, but as we move into new experiences there is an irony about it too, and we can smile back to the sympathetic grin of our doctors.