February 3rd, 2019
I see my doctor once a year. Maybe twice, if I really need to do so.
Seeing as I am sixty years old, I go for an annual physical. Actually, I have been doing that for several years already. The annual exam is one of the few things that our health insurance covers without requiring massive co-pays or deductibles.
Every year this physical has involved zero drama. Every visit with the doctor has ended with, “Looking good! Keep it up!”
Except for this year.
I went in for the physical on Friday morning. My doctor had good things to say overall. He stared at the lab test numbers on his screen, nodded, and said,
“Frank, you’re killing it!”
Then he thought for a moment and said, “Well, maybe “killing it” isn’t the best way to express that, but you are doing well. However…”
Ah, the “however” came into play.
We talked about my blood pressure. The first reading was 159/90. Not good. He checked it again, and it was 150/85. Still not good, but not as not good as before. He told me get rid of the salt in my diet. This will be interesting since I love sausage, cheese, and other processed food. But, it can be done. He told me to lose ten pounds. I knew that I needed to do that anyway. I own a scale and a mirror. Also, cut down on caffeine. So, I need to ease off the Mountain Dew. He wants me to check my blood pressure weekly, to see what happens. I figure, now the weather is no longer horrific, I can do some long walks. That may help a lot.
The gist of the conversation was: “Stop eating the foods that you love.”
My doctor also noted that my glucose is slightly elevated. It should be 100. It’s at 119. There’s been a slow upward creep over the last several years. I guess I will have to lose the doughnuts and cut back on the beer.
I can do things to alleviate most of this stuff. Some of it is just heredity. I have heart disease on my dad’s side, and diabetes on my mom’s. So, now it’s my turn. My younger brother already has diabetes. Some of this is the aging process. Mortality is rearing its ugly head.
I’m not sure why I felt surprised to learn that I have a couple medical issues. I guess that I had managed to fool myself into thinking that I was exempt from the human condition. Denial is an amazing thing.
Apparently, I am doing better than a lot of other people. A number of my contemporaries are very sick or very dead. So, I should count myself as being blessed.
I walked all the way to church this morning. That is a seven mile hike. When I got home I discovered that I had gained a pound.
How the hell did that happen?
Well, since that moment, I have been cooking Indian food and swilling craft beer. I will eventually lose some weight. It won’t happen immediately. It certainly won’t happen today.
I suppose I will lose weight when I’m dead. I would prefer to do it prior to that time.
The truth is that I am swimming against the tide. I am going to die. My body is very slowly giving up on me. For sixty years I was able to eat and drink whatever I liked, and nothing happened. Now, it’s different. Now, things are falling apart.
I could give up all of my bad habits. I could eat healthy, stop drinking, and exercise all the time. I am still going to die.
So, what now?
Well, some people still need me on this earth. So, I will do what I can to remain here in order to help them. I can’t stop the clock or the calendar. I will eventually lose the game. That’s the deal. It’s okay with me, not that it matters.
Thinking back to Friday…
Outside the doctor’s clinic, I noticed a heavy set man walking slowly toward me. He appeared to be about my age, and he was looking rather fluffy. He had a faint smile on his face, and he kept staring at me. Finally, he got up next to me and said,
“Wicked beard, dude! I love it!”
He lifted up a pudgy hand and gave me a high five.
That made me feel better.