Sam Bauman: Days of the circus ‘side shows’ not over



Those of us who are enjoying retirement may well remember those “side shows” that used to blossom alongside the circus Big Top. In addition to baseball throws for prizes and shooting galleries, there were in those pre-political correct times the “freak” shows — the 500-pound fat lady, the 70-pound thin man, the strong man, the rubber man, the “exotic” dancers, the Borneo man, the snake oil pitchman … well, they all were there.

But for a reminder of the old side shows, seniors may want to take in the Reno Eldorado’s current presentation “Saltoriya.” It’s not the usual Eldorado family show. This is a fast progression of what would be side show acts in the past, even including a man juggling cigar boxes, an old act if ever was one.

Less from the old side shows are two beautiful women who demonstrate that women are not the weaker sex with demonstrations of physical agility and pure strength draws gasps from the onlookers.

After the 90-minute show the 20 cast members line up in the lobby to chat and pose for photos. The Eldorado is the only Reno casino to regularly present a full show. And seniors get a discount of the dinner and show combo. Plus the side show.

Eye problems for seniors

If you start having problems with reading advisory signs while driving, you may be suffering the first signs of eye cataracts. This is when a thin film gets between the lens and the eye. I first noticed it when I found myself going past a sign I was looking for so that I couldn’t make the turn.

The most common cause of cataracts is age and sometimes an injury to the eye, states the Mayo Clinic. Essentially, a cataract disrupts the way the lens takes in light which makes the person’s vision appear to be cloudy. Not only do they impact the center of the lens, but they also can interfere and develop on the edges and at the back of the lens, reports the Mayo Clinic.

Most people will first notice a glare when looking at something with lights on it, if they have a cataract. Before clouding of vision, a person may notice vision changes in both distance and near sight. Once the cataract has grown to become a nuisance, the only option for treatment is surgery where a surgeon goes in and physically removes the cataract from the eye.

Another common eye problem with seniors is glaucoma, a collation of eye problems that is a serious threat to any age but more commonly with seniors. It’s sometimes called “the silent thief” because it can rob you of sight without being noticed. Glaucoma problems damage the nerve that connects the eye to the brain, says the Mayo Clinic.

As the nerve fails patients begin seeing blind spots usually in the peripheral vision. Eventually the nerve fails and blindness results. But modern treatments can usually save sight.

Internal eye pressure allows the eye to keep its shape. The pressure in controlled by the flow of fresh aqueous humor into the eye and its successful drainage.

For those suffering from damage to the optic nerve, the first treatment is with medications such as prostaglandins. If these are not effective the next step is usually laser beams to free the flow of aqueous humor. If that isn’t successful, patients may undergo surgery.

At any rate early treatment is usually the best thing to do and most retain eyesight.

A guide to doctor-patient relations

Noted doctor Edward T. Creagan of the Mayo Clinic’s book “How Not to be My Patient: A Physician’s Secrets for Staying Healthy and Surviving Any Diagnosis” is a fine guidebook for seniors who want to get the most out of their medical adventures. (Amazon, $17.75).

In this book he gives attention to the patient’s perspective and the latest advance in medical practice. He’s renowned cancer specialist and here he gives the most effective ways to get the most out of modern medicine.

There’s an important section of how to help friends suffering a major illness — and what not to do. The book can help readers to empower themselves in the medical woods.

He concludes with a thoughtful section on the psychology of survival and longevity.

I often write myself a note when some new ache surfaces with the aim of taking it to Dr. Yamamoto, but then I always forget the note. But he somehow finds out about it all and gives me another fine day.

Sam Bauman writes about senior affairs, among other things, for the Nevada Appeal.


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