Wellness Visits and Mileage | Mark’s Remarks

marksNever did I think I’d be comparing myself to an automobile. I’ve been sitting here thinking about car repairs and my own health; the correlation continues to intrigue me. So why not write about it?

Our good old van finally crossed the 100,000 mile mark. It is a little shabby around the edges, but still a darn good vehicle. It has some fancy attributes like a DVD player with not one but two screens. There are a couple of dents and scrapes caused by teenage drivers and not-so-teenage drivers. The white headliner and visors (why would anyone choose white?) show smudges here and there. The little button on the driver’s side that raises and lowers the window pops off from time to time. The sliding doors seem to have a mind of their own.

It was inevitable that there would need to be some major things done to the van as this milestone approached. As Michelle drove it the other day, it began to shake and shimmy down the road. She, knowing a whole lot about cars (her jerky husband says with a hint of sarcasm), called me on her cell and thought it was because the van was past the mileage suggested for an oil change. Even after the guys at Walmart changed the oil, it still did its little dance. And the engine light blinked in time to the music.
So, we called our family mechanic. He’s a good friend and we are blessed to know him. He diagnosed the situation, hooked the old van up to the computer and figured out what was going on. A few bucks later, the van is ship shape and ready for the next 100,000. Well, maybe. After all, it’s getting a little age on it.

Nearing the big 5-0 seems impossible to me, but it’s there. I don’t think that turning 50 will be a big deal (and it’s still a few years away), but I can no longer say I’m barely middle-aged. I’m there, baby.

As we progress through life, we ourselves find that we need new spark plugs and our taillight bulbs need replaced. It seemed to happen for me around the same time the van needed work.

I went in and had some blood work done a few days ago. I saw my dermatologist and had some suspicious spots “burned” off. My doctor told me my heart was OK recently. My shoulder, neck and back pain were just that and not heart related. OK. At least my ticker is ticking properly.

Now I am not sure how many miles I’ve gone. I guess I’d say I am still blessed. Although I don’t have a built-in DVD player with two screens, I do have some features that some models don’t have. I can still get around pretty good. Aches and pains that start out in the morning don’t hang around long. I can still work hard all day, even though my engine light comes on more frequently than it used to. I don’t need an oil change, but I have to watch what I put in the tank a lot more than I used to. And I won’t even talk about gas. Too much information.

I can still raise and lower myself pretty easily and can safely say that, unlike the power window button, nothing is broken and in need of repair. However, I notice when I raise and lower myself, sometimes I make little noises here and there. Sometimes I creak and groan like the car door in need of WD-40.

Once my doc told me that my heart was OK and that all seems to be running smoothly, I have to say I felt I was ready for another 100,000 miles. My dermatologist talked “matter of factly” about the little spots he burned off.

“It happens to everyone,” he said. “Just a little routine maintenance.

“After all, you’re getting a little age on you,” he added.

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Mark Tullis

Mark is a 25-year veteran teacher teaching in Columbia. Originally from Fairfield, Mark is married with four children. He enjoys reading, writing, and spending time with his family, and has been involved in various aspects of professional and community theater for many years and enjoys appearing in local productions. Mark has also written a "slice of life" style column for the Republic-Times since 2007.
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