Today in IDTT (our Interdisciplinary Treatment Team meeting), I gave my case presentation on a new inmate, Mr. D, who recently transferred to our prison and had been assigned to my caseload. He was a 68-year-old African-American man with a release date of 2027, when he would be 80.
After I presented the diagnosis, psychosocial history, and other relevant information to the rest of the team, Mr. D was brought in so that we could review with him the treatment plan and discuss any questions or concerns. He didn’t have a lot that he wanted to say, so his portion of the meeting didn’t take very long. After he left, my colleague Dr. Y turned to me and said, “He’s 68?!” Dr. Y himself was 60 years old. He said, “I wouldn’t have guessed he was 68. He looks so much younger.”
He added, half jokingly, “It’s just not fair! A lot of these guys look really good for their age.” What he didn’t say and what we guessed was that he didn’t think he had aged as well in appearance as those guys.
“Aw, don’t feel bad,” Dr. E, who is Korean-American and around my age, said. “It’s genetics. And people of color just age better. Especially Asians. Look at Dr. V here. She’s fifty-five.”