Jerry Zezima: Thankful for the doctor who makes house calls

My wife and I are in better shape than our house. That’s saying something — I don’t know what, but it probably can’t be repeated in polite company — because Sue and I are 70 and our house is 50.

Despite the age difference, our joints hurt less than our joint.

We have come to realize, after a quarter of a century in our humble and hobbling abode, that home is where the heartburn is.

That’s why we are fortunate to have a doctor who makes house calls. He has to because he’s also our contractor.

Anthony Amini, chief of surgery at Performance Contracting and Management, has operated on and cared for our creaky Colonial so often and so well that he should have a residency at Home Depot.

The latest medical emergency involved the plumbing (the house’s, not mine). Specifically, a radiator was about to blow a gasket. On finding this out, I almost blew one myself.

The discovery was made while a toilet was being installed in an upstairs bathroom. Coincidentally, Sue noticed water coming through the family room ceiling downstairs.

One of Anthony’s surgical assistants, an excellent young plumber named Nick Havens, cut a hole in the ceiling so he could replace a leaky pipe. Then he discovered that a larger adjacent pipe was corroded. Transplant surgery was performed and was deemed a success.

The bathroom radiator was replaced, but further examination revealed that all of the radiators in the house had the same terminal condition and had to be replaced, too.

“If it’s not one thing, it’s another,” Sue said.

She was right, of course, because over the past few years, we have needed a new roof, new siding, new gutters and new flooring, as well as a new furnace and a new water heater. Also, repairs had to be made on a crack in the foundation. Last year, we had to renovate our bathroom. And recently, we had to renovate the other upstairs bathroom, where the leaks were coming from.

All of these projects were essential. If we ignored them, the house would have flooded, fallen down or burned to the ground.

So it’s nice to know that I am aging better than the old homestead.

That was confirmed by my physician, Dr. Sanjay Sangwan, who told me on my recent office visit that I am in remarkably good shape. He didn’t add, “for a geezer,” because he is too nice to say so, but I appreciated his diagnosis.

“Your heart is very strong,” Dr. Sangwan said.

“Do I have brainwave activity?” I asked.

“It appears you do,” he answered.

“How about a pulse?” I wanted to know.

“You have that, too,” the doctor replied. “Your vital signs are good, but your blood pressure is a little high.”

I told him about the house.

“That could explain it,” he said. “But just to be safe, I am going to give you a prescription.”

Sue, who had a heart attack a couple of years ago that can’t be directly attributed to home improvement projects, is also in good shape. But she recently twisted her knee while opening the blinds in the family room. They were blocked by furniture that had to be moved so the pipes could be replaced in the ceiling.

“This house is trying to kill us,” I told her after she put a bandage and some ice on her knee.

Anthony, who has become like a member of the family and calls us Auntie Sue and Mr. Uncle Jerry, said he wouldn’t let that happen.

“The house is beautiful, but it’s old,” he said. “After a while, things start to go.”

“You’ve done everything but the kitchen sink,” I noted.

“And now we need a new one,” added Sue.

“I hope it’s the last thing we have to do,” I said. “It would help to lower my blood pressure.”

Jerry Zezima writes a humor column for Tribune News Service and is the author of seven books. His latest is “The Good Humor Man: Tales of Life, Laughter and, for Dessert, Ice Cream.” Reach him at [email protected] or via