Hermine Saunders: The importance of time, money and health

It's that time of life when a number of things seem more important than they did when we were younger. I'm thinking in particular of time, money and health.

Inscriptions on older clocks used to remind us tempus fugit, or time flees, first used by the Latin poet Virgil when he said "time flees irretrievably." In English, the term has been converted to "time flies." Although we may not be going to a job where time management seminars are offered, our days are still so busy that we wonder how we ever worked. We can hardly believe that it is April 2013 already and Easter is behind us when it was just January. Didn't I just submit my March column?


As far as money is concerned, we might apply the same adage to it; that is, "money flies or flees." Didn't we just receive that pension check or Social Security check into our account and it's disappeared already? When is the next Required Minimum Distribution check to be deposited? Why doesn't time fly as fast when we are waiting for those deposits? Are we checking our assets more because of the unknown future? And do we say, "I remember when that item cost a mere pittance of what it costs now"?

As far as health is concerned, how many doctors do you have? I have quite a few, all ending in -ist. Keeping track of them is quite a task, and they all take time and money away from more pleasurable experiences.

As a child I had one family doctor, who seemingly could diagnose and treat everything - though he knew when to send me down the road to a Baltimore doctor and hospital for further evaluation. He made house calls. He even performed sinus surgery on my grandfather without anesthesia: Ouch and never again. Today I still have a general practitioner known as an internist who keeps check on my blood work and general health and even doles out prescriptions for necessary medicines.

Beyond the GP there is a whole host of doctors that have accumulated over time with my getting older. I see them for check-ups and evaluations and, of course, more medicines. I should not count the dentist among these doctors since I have seen one since childhood. But there are plenty of others that I see regularly over the course of a year and a few I haven't seen for awhile. The litany is long: gastroenterologist, gynecologist, neurologist, cardiologist, urologist, otolaryngologist who takes care of otorhinolaryngologic problems, ophthalmologist, orthopedist, hand specialist (specialties within specialists), allergist, dermatologist, podiatrist. There must be a song in there. Of course, each one has a new medicine and/or a new treatment that is guaranteed to take up more of my time and money.

I'm not anxious to add to the list, but, lest I sound ungrateful about all the advances in medicine, it is comforting to know that all these specialists are available with knowledge and treatments that did not exist when I was a child or even 20 years ago.

Even veterinarians specialize these days. I have had dogs who saw a dermatologist, gastroenterologist, cardiologist, an ophthalmologist, besides their regular GP veterinarians. Talk about time and money flying.

I offer no solutions for hanging on to time, money or health. But if we have our health, we have wealth and time to do good deeds in this world.