Health & Medical

Thoughts While Recovering from Surgery

A week ago, I underwent a procedure my doctor calls “prostate laser ablation.” The writer in me embellishes: The Roto-Rooting of Dickie and the Twins. It reduces an enlarged prostate, something claims affects more than 50 percent of men over age 60 and as many as 90 percent of men over the age of 70.

Prostate DrawingIt’s when you can’t pee, always feel like peeing, get up a dozen times a night to pee – it’s all about peeing. The operation, I’m told, will make my penis 20 again. At least that part of it.

Yes, I can pee again. I’ve progressed from peeing razor blades to a more soothing localized electroshock. Today? It only hurts when I laugh.

Kidding! I’ll tell you guys all about it as soon as I’m up to it, so to speak. In the meantime, you can regale yourself in the details of my cataract surgery and my colonoscopy/endoscopy, complete with never-before-published insider photos.

Ain’t getting’ old wonderful?

My first thought while recovering: Why do we show a belligerent face to the world?

We’re not belligerent people. In spite of traffic jams, gas-price manipulations, evil computers, and an economy that’s dead-ended for most of us, we’re nice folks. We like to do nice things for others.

So tell me, why instead of always thinking of bombing countries, don’t we first consider kindness?

Hold on! Before you go pinning “Unpatriotic” on my Noam Chomsky T-shirt, consider: During the final couple days of the recent Israel-Lebanon conflict, Israel lobbed over a million cluster bombs into its northern neighbor’s yards, fields, and farms – small unexploded land mines that now make life dangerously difficult for Lebanese farmers and their families, killing an average of 2 – 3 daily.

Lebanese Boy in HospitalA few fearless and enterprising Lebanese now charge a buck each to find and disarm these wicked killers. But as you can imagine, it’s hit and miss.

What if we were to send in a few soldiers from our elite bomb squads, teach folks how to safely find and disarm these mines, then pay the price? They are our cluster bombs, after all; you and I paid for them.

What would it cost us? A few million bucks would save lives and create more goodwill throughout the world than all the billions we now spend on BS propaganda.

There are so many opportunities like this. When we go against our better nature, we ignore it at our peril.

Back to my Noam Chomsky T-shirt.

A year ago, when I wrote a Suddenly Senior column headlined How Many More Must Die?, almost 2,000 American kids had been killed in the war. Today it’s going on 3,000. And although polls now show most of us against the war, President Bush uses these deaths to justify continuing.

“I’m not going to allow the sacrifice of 2,527 troops who have died in Iraq to be in vain by pulling out before the job is done.” Bush’s words sadly echo those of Johnson and Nixon on Vietnam. According to psychologist Barry Schwartz, our president supports what social scientists call a “sunk-costs” fallacy.

You do too, he says, if you suffer all the way through an abysmal movie only because you paid 10 bucks to see it. Or if you’ve spent two grand on repairs to keep your old jalopy running, only to have it break down again, and you continue to throw good money after bad.

It’s “persisting in an unrewarding activity.” In AA, we call it “insanity.”

This “sunk-costs” fallacy, this insanity is exactly what our leaders use now as justification for continuing this slaughter in our name.


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