The other day while I was scrubbed in OR, my team said, “Do you know Sir, we are operating on a 79 year old gentleman tomorrow for Whipple’s”. The tone in their voice alerted me saying that I need to be cautious.
As we all know that with age the reparative process can be slowed down and there can be other problems like heart, lung, etc.
So I said, “Ok, before we proceed let me go and see him and talk to him”.
I went and saw him and said, “Look here, this procedure carries a risk of 10% of mortality. You have to be in the hospital for longer time, you can also have an infection, etc. etc.”
He just smiled and said, “At this age I am prepared for anything. I leave it to God and you can proceed. I am not worried about the risk.”
I said, “ OK, now how about your fitness? Why don’t you just walk with me.” He came out of the bed. I started walking briskly in the corridor. I was surprised that he practically matched me in pace and steps.
I then asked him, “how do you spend your morning or how does your day start.”
He said,” Oh, I go for a swim for 1 hour.”
I said, “Swim for 1 hour at the age of 79?”
He said “ Yes I have been swimming from my childhood, so I do about 100 ft. In the pool.” I said, “this is wonderful and then ?”.
He said, “then in the evening I take a walk around Shivaji park, a 2 km. walk minimum, atleast a couple of rounds.” Then I said to myself “wow”. At the age of 79 he is definitely fitter than me and many others who have lived the life of a couch potato. I had no hesitation therefore, in taking him up and hopefully God willing he will have a good outcome and sail through.
This has also been proven in many studies world over that chronological age by itself is not the only criteria. What is important therefore, is physical fitness. I feel sad that I have already missed the boat of being fit right from the age of 30 or 40.
If you are young do start a fitness regime because that is something that is going to help you if and when you feel sick, God forbid.