You all have me beat. I couldn't imagine doing it this way. I am a spoiled brat and I feel so when I looked at this site. Thank you for making me appreciate in that moment the simplicity of the way things are now!
My first job in the industry was at a small printshop in 82 or 83. Our typesetter was more advanced than these guys were dealing with. It had a small BW screen so you could see what you were typing and spit out slicks from some kind of printer. The whole unit was about the size of a washer/dryer combo.
The rest of the process was all done by hand from layouts waxed up on the light tables to shooting and developing the film to stripping the negs and developing the plates.
Hopefully OP posts back soon if he has a solution. I recently (last week) abandoned a new install of InDesign CC 2017 for our old version of CS4 for the same reason as OP, unworkable documents. CS4 appears...