Published April 23, 2007 by Sara Davidson
For three weeks, I’ve been lying in bed with my head down and my legs elevated and ice packs on my calf. A hematoma—a pool of clotted blood from internal hemorrhaging—has taken over my leg. It’s the biggest hematoma—about 8” long and 3” wide—that my primary doctor, David Hibbard, has seen in his career, which is not the kind of record any sane person would want to set.
How the hell did this happen? I didn’t fall, have an accident or trauma to the leg. The doctors I’ve seen can only speculate on what started the bleeding, but I blame it on Robert Butler, MD, whom I interviewed for an article about the science of aging, that will be published in the N.Y. Times Magazine on May 6.
Robert Butler, MD, says you should take no fewer than 10,000 steps a day. Ha!
Butler, who’s 80 and remarkably lean and fit, has charm, charisma, and, according to one of his colleagues, “He knows everything.” He’s the kind of 80-year-old I’d like to hang out with or, better yet, be. He helped found the National Institute on Aging, won the Pulitzer prize and runs a think tank on aging in New York.
Every morning he clips on a step counter, a black device that sits on the waist band and counts every step you take. “You should take no fewer than 10,000 steps a day—roughly five miles,” he says, during our interview. “At the end of the day, I’ll check the counter and if I haven’t done enough, I’ll go for a mile walk.”
“That’s awesome,” says the young woman who’s videotaping the interview.
“I’ve never seen one,” I say.
Butler takes the step counter off his belt and hands it to me. “You now have one.”
I tell him I’m scared to find out how many steps I’m taking, and the first day I clip it on, my fears are confirmed. I’m taking less than 2,000. (Hey, I work at home, I’m a writer)