One relative has a new knee and a new hip. Another has had quadruple bypass surgery. Yet another is a cancer survivor.
A good friend has a brand spanking new pacemaker and is back playing golf. Half of the friends he plays golf with look like they have zippers on their knees where they have been replaced.
A whole slew of the family is on blood pressure meds that really work or anti-heartburn pills that can dial back the temperature of a super-sized green chili burrito. Some of them are on both.
If you go in for surgery, the anesthesiologist doesn't hand you a whiskey bottle to take a pull from or a bullet to bite on. They don't even drip ether through a mask to knock you out. Nope, one little shot sends you dancing off into la-la land.
For the younger generations, all of the treatments described above are just run of the mill. For those of us who are 55 or older, none of them existed when we were born. (OK, 55 years ago we weren't biting on bullets and taking a slug from a bottle - but ether was still in use.)
Modern medicine is a marvel.
Unfortunately, it is a very expensive marvel. The pacemaker was over $100,000; a cancer fight can cost a quarter of a million; hips and knees can cost a year's wages; even the heartburn pill costs $4 per day. And you may have to take them every day.
We write here quite often about the spiraling cost of health care - double-digit increases every year.
The question is not whether these treatments are worth it - it is, can we afford them?
If medicine is going to continue to make marvelous strides, they have to be affordable strides. Miraculous cures and treatments will be worthless if they bankrupt the country.
(A version of this editorial has appeared previously in The Maui News.)
* Editorials reflect the opinion of the publisher.