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Thursday, August 1, 2013

Aging and Addiction

Dear Nurse Dave:

I have a question about the human body.

I keep getting older, larger, and slower (I also have receding gums, though I hear they're not uncommon). Are there any positive health outcomes or evolutionary plusses to getting older, larger, and slower? Aside from getting older meaning you're still alive, which I consider a plus for sure?

I also have an addiction to fennel seeds, which I eat even though they mess up my mouth. Have you ever heard of this addiction?

Thanks for your medical professionalism!
Laurel, Madison WI
I do pride myself on professionalism and of course my singing voice.   Many unconscious patients have been serenaded by my powerful tenor.  
Anyway Laurel first you'll have to forgive the lateness of my reply, I too am aging.  Second lets address this addiction problem of yours.  I do have a little bit of experience with the subject but I typically deal with those addicted to illicit substances rather than fennel.  Lets just run a quick side by side comparison of addiction.  A heroin addict typically spends about $100 per day on his/her habit and can use the heroin by smoking or injecting.  Fennel seeds cost somewhere around $10 a pound and you'd have to have a serious problem to ingest that many seeds daily.  So just from a financial standpoint you're coming out ahead.  Then from what I understand the main problem fennel is going to give you is possibly upset tummy and maybe some constipation.  That's right too much fiber can actually constipate you.  So I'd suggest take your fennel in moderation and stay well hydrated.

As for the aging question I'm first going to refer you to my favorite extinct animal, the giant sloth.  These things were about 20 feet tall and very slow.  I can just imagine making friends with one and going all over town with him just like Danny and the Dinosaur.  Of course giant sloths eventually became extinct because of the natural disadvantages that come from being old, large and slow.  The same process works with humans on an individual basis we get older, larger and slower until one day we break a hip and thats it (of course you can survive breaking a hip it just usually involves hip replacement surgery which usually involves the largest drills and power tools I've ever seen).

But don't get discouraged Laurel there are advantages to aging as well.  Let's explore those.

1. Wisdom 
2. Potential for using handicap parking spots
3. There's no need to understand the internet (i don't really and I'm only in my thirties)
4. Growing patriotism  
5. Dinner theatre (I once saw a production of the King and I while eating dinner with my retired father-in-law.  Amazing production.)
6. Retirement (my dad does this)
7. Eventually the clothes you have will come back into fashion
8. Cruises (went on one also with the father-in-law)
Me on a cruise.  I was a little too young at the time.

9. You can get super cranky and no one can really do anything about it (this happens a lot)
10.  You can get super nice and everyone thinks you're the best because you are the best (my wife's grandma)
11. Coming to grips with mortality
12. Discounts almost everywhere
13. Florida
14. Snowbirds (you can live in nice weather all year round, there are places where it doesn't snow)

Well Laurel I hope you receive some hope from all this.  I know I did.  


  1. Jenson you know nothing about aging. You look 14. When I knew you you looked 15.

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