News from the Tennessee Valley Columnists


Happy birthday, sign this living will

A birthday, an annual physical exam and receiving a living will in the same week can put you into overload.

Regina overloaded when her doctor said her claim to longevity is detouring.

"Your cholesterol is inching up," the doctor said.

She's from a low-fat-in-the-blood, eat anything family. The lab was wrong. Her cholesterol had always been low. She got that from Granny on her father's side.

Most of us cherry pick genes we want from our parents and grandparents. Regina chose the Brogdens and Gants over the Hartins and Sextons. But the Sextons chose her.

The doctor was tactful: Watch the amount you eat and exercise more, he said. He wasn't prescribing artery-flushing drugs.

She will work through the glitch, take off the appropriate weight and everything will go back to being OK. And she will continue to have birthdays.

Maybe she will figure out how to put space between birthdays and check ups as a convenience to her psyche. But the piling on of the living will during the same week was coincidental. Wills for each of us had been on order for weeks.

We'd put off getting those sterile documents that make it legal for someone else to make our decisions in the event we can't. We'd even put off updating our wills, which we hope, neatly divide whatever we leave between the appropriate heirs.

There comes a point in life where you realize that procrastination can leave things in a mess, and none of us wants to leave a mess.

So, with papers signed, getting back to the gym at 5 a.m., and halving food portions, we're both looking for longevity. But she more than I.

Thursday, she spent 45 minutes during lunch walking the rainy streets of downtown for more exercise, encouraged at the 2 pound weight loss she'd recorded that morning at the gym and determined that no time soon was I going to get to pull the plug.

Tom Wright Tom Wright
DAILY Executive Editor

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