Altar Call – Opelika-Auburn News

Walter Albritton

September 25, 2011


Oh where, oh where has my energy gone?


            I can remember singing a children’s song about a dog. It went like this: “Where, oh where, has my little dog gone? Oh where, oh where, can he be? With his ears cut short and his tail cut long. Oh where, oh where can he be?”

            I have not owned a dog for many years so I no longer wonder where my dog has gone. I hope he went to heaven. Heaven will be nicer if there is a handsome Collie like Frisky around.

            But lately my question has been “Oh where, oh where has my energy gone?” This is a new concern of mine. All my life I have been an early riser, waking up with energy to burn. Daylight is here. Bring on the day. Let’s roll! That was my attitude. But no longer. Energetic does not describe me. Walking has no appeal. Getting out of a chair is often a bit of a struggle. Chairs speak to me. They say, “Sit down, big boy and take a load off.”

            Friends are eager to help. “You need B-12,” one said. Another remarked dryly, “You are 79; face it – people your age have very little energy.” Yet another suggested I get a physical to find out if I have a medical problem. I followed his advice.

            My doctor checked me out. Blood pressure was 124 over 70. Lungs are fine. Blood work turned up normal numbers except that my cholesterol was a bit high. How do I bring it down, I asked. “Exercise,” he said.

            I told my doctor about my lack of energy. I asked if he had a pill for that. Doctors have a pill for everything. “Exercise,” he said. We talked about my weight. I have weighed too much for 40 years. All my doctors have urged me to lose 50 pounds. I have lost 50 pounds ten times, but I gain it back in time.

            What do I need to do to lose weight, I asked. “Exercise,” he said. I smiled and said, “You sound like a broken record; so exercise is the secret to restoring my energy level?” “That’s it,” he said.

            So I am back on my stationary bike, trying to follow my doctor’s advice. After several days the results are dismal. Riding my bike makes me tired. My bike and I are not good friends. It never draws me to its seat. Things have drawing power. The piano draws my wife to its bench; she loves to play. My bike is insensitive and indifferent. I do hear it speak most mornings; when I get off of its seat, I can hear it saying, “Thank God you’re done!” But a kind word it never offers me.

            I hear that the best exercise is walking, but walking is difficult when your hips are hurting and your body is crying out, “Find a chair, stupid, and sit down!” My knees are fine but my hips are another story. Friends my age are going under the knife and getting their hips replaced. I reckon mine will have to be replaced before long. And why not? They are nearly 80 years old; things do wear out.

            My doctor says swimming would be good for me. I may try that remedy. I think that would be more fun than riding a bike. The challenge will be to retrain my brain to believe that I need to schedule a regular time for swimming. Taking a dip in the Tallapoosa River is no longer an option; that’s where I learned to swim as a boy. Now  the water is polluted and I have no easy access to the river.

            At least I know what I need to do and right now, despite it being difficult, I can add serious exercise to my daily routine. I am not in a wheelchair. My kids have not taken my car keys away from me. So today I am making this announcement to myself: you are going to exercise, lose some weight, and regain some energy for the living of your remaining days. You can do it, old man, so get with the program and start obeying your doctor’s orders!

            I should. I will. Beginning today! I don’t know where my energy has gone, but the good Lord willing, I am going to find it!  + + +


     I can remember singing a