I had my annual ‘well-woman’ check-up a couple of weeks ago and as I precariously approach the dreaded half century mark, Doc says I’m in good shape but decides I need an enormous amount of blood work done to check not just the regular cholesterol but to break it down into types and particles and absorption and free roaming crap to determine my risk factor to heart disease. After all, we have all been informed that heart disease is right up there as a woman-killer alongside breast cancer. So, I’m thinking this is a good thing.
Doc gives me a booklet, not a pamphlet or a leaflet, but an honest-to-gawd 8-1/2 x 11 multi-page booklet outlining the particulars of this detailed and apparently necessary (ohmahgerd!!, everyone should have it done!!!), battery of blood analysis tests along with the standard hormone and thyroid and kidney/liver function tests. MMMMkay. Sure. Why not. I don’t have even a reasonable expectation of living to 100, figuring that I’m past middle age as well as menopause.
Doc tells me that there is no co-pay for the test. Even if I get an insurance statement saying it’s not covered and I have a $500 or $600 co-pay, not to worry, I won’t get a bill. That evening, at the kitchen table, reading glasses perched on my nose, scrutinizing the information, I see that the test is sponsored by a big pharmaceutical company. Said pharm company happens to produce a number of products to lower my cholesterol. Not.A.Surprise.
I am healthy, exercise, not overweight, I’m not expecting any drastic news. Late last week, I get a call from the nurse with the recommendation that I add a few supplements to my diet; Vitamins “D” and “B-12” because I have some deficiencies that are “of concern”. Fine, that’s probably why I feel so sluggish in winter. Mild S.A.D. I can live with that. Oh, but wait, there’s more! I need an Omega-3, too. Too many free-roaming plaque particles. Really? All right. I’m not liking this, but I am thankful that Doc takes a holistic approach and only whips out the prescription pad as a last resort. I’d rather do this than sign on to some wacky medication that might end up with class action lawsuits advertised on daytime television. So far, so good. After a week, my energy has increased by approximately 1/10th. In January, in the mid-west, I’ll take it.
Today, I get a call from a second(!) nurse whose job it is to really analyze and interpret those test results. She asks me about my exercise routine. I walk about two miles every day. I have two dogs that exist the other 23 hours and 30 minutes of the day for those two miles with me. Whatever the weather, we three dress appropriately probably 350 out of 365 days of the year and venture out into whatever Mid-West weather happens to be occurring. Nope. Not enough. Okay. Well, I practice yoga once or twice a week, how about that? Nope. Not enough. I need sweaty, aerobic muscle strengthening stuff for an hour, three times a week. Wait. What? Have you ever been to a yoga studio? It’s not hippie ’60’s transcendental meditation yoga anymore. I sweat my butt off. Really? I hardly have time to comb my hair twice a day and you want me to throw in a couple of Zumba or Jazzercise class? Whatever nurse 2 got into in Doc’s sample room, I want some, because she’s just high right now.
Oh, and by the way, nurse 2 mentioned I should be eating low carb, high protein, low fat diet. I should get a smart phone app so I can track my food input everyday. Now she’s gone too far. Them’s fightin’ words to this broad. I may be climbing the hill, but I’m not over it yet. The facts are that I am 2nd generation Irish on my Mother’s side, 3rd generation German on my Father’s side and come from a long line of pear shaped women. I can not, nay, will not, give up my bread and booze. ‘Tis my heritage and my right! Nurse further illustrates that now fruit counts. Go easy on the fruit. When the hell did that happen? I object! Strenuously!
After hearing this, the conversation quickly deteriorated as I shifted into ‘I just want to get you off the phone’ mode. Me saying “Okay. Sure. That sounds reasonable.”, because why would I argue with someone who is just doing her job, passing along information and is, by no means, the boss of me? I couldn’t bear to tell her “Thanks, but no thanks. I’d rather live a life of quality days than quantity years.” My attitude is exactly the Maxine cartoon that circulates among the girlfriend set on occasion that exhorts us to live life to the fullest and leave this world with a glass of wine in one hand and a piece of chocolate in the other. So for now, I’ll just keep doing what I please; cooking and baking, tasting, eating, enjoying, savoring and experimenting. Open that bottle and pass the butter because I ain’t skeert.
Enough for now.