To Your Health! And Mine.


























Well.  I don’t like cabbage, first of all.  Second, I believe I’d be tempted to let the goat and the wolf work things out while I took the boat and went fishing.  Nature, in case you haven’t noticed, tends to resolve all conflicts eventually.  Just not necessarily peacefully.

The inevitability of all of this has been on my mind, but not so much because there’s been a death in the family.  It’s because I’m 54, and I will not be eventually.  Eventually, in fact, I will cease to be, regardless of leafy green vegetables.  I’m perfectly OK with that, as if anyone is asking my opinion, but it does cross my mind.

I made an appointment yesterday to get a physical, now that I have an insurance card.  I have no fear of physicians, and in fact I like my doctor a lot; I’ve been seeing her for 15 years, and since we’re the same age we can compare notes.

She will try to give me some crap about not seeing her in four years, but I’m pretty much covered there.  In the world I lived in over the past four years, getting a routine well check for myself was far, far down on the page, in tiny print, and my vision sucks.

And once again, much of my future has already been written.  This, and personal experience in the wacky world of healthcare, is what fuels my inner skeptic.  I remember the quote from Jackie Kennedy, after she was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.  “So why have I been doing all these sit-ups?” she said, more or less, as I recall.  She also quit her three-pack-a-day smoking habit on getting the diagnosis, although I can’t imagine why except to get her family to shut up.  When your time is up, it tends to be up, regardless of your abdominal muscles or bad habits.

I’m not arguing against preventative care at all; just keeping it real.  And even if my doctor has magical hyponotic powers (she didn’t four years ago), and could trance me up and ensure that I never ate fried food or ice cream again, never took another drink or smoked another cigarette or sat for more than 20 minutes at a time, this is about statistics and there’s no power of suggestion involved with those.  When your number is up, you get called.

On the other hand, I feel better than I can ever remember.  I can think of maybe a couple of times over the past four years when I might have seen a doctor, maybe.  Last spring I had what looked suspiciously like a bacterial sinus infection for a few days; maybe antibiotics would have made that go away sooner, but it went away anyway.

Part of any history and physical examination process is a 12-point review of systems, wandering down through ENT, respiratory, cardiac, GI, etc., looking for issues.  I know this well, and I draw a blank.  I have no complaints, no issues, no concerns.  I couldn’t even fake one believably.  I feel fine.

So unless my doctor detects a heart murmur, a mass somewhere I’ve not noticed, or an enlarged prostate, as fun as that sounds, this will be an exercise in Doing The Right Thing.  All that’s left is laboratory data, which is where surprises could pop up but, again, most of them would be accompanied by symptoms that I know all about, and I have none.

Which brings me back to logic.  It’s a good thing to get back on the health insurance train, of course.  I’m grateful I didn’t need it, but very glad to have it.  And people who care about me are glad, too.  In fact, several of them responded in exactly the same way: Go see a doctor!

Are they concerned about something?  I don’t think so.  Unless they’ve spotted a tic, a lump, a sign of illness that they’re not sharing (and these are sharers), they want me to see a doctor because…

…they suspect I have a horrible, silent disease.  Or that’s what logic tells me.  Am I missing something?  Please let me know if I am.  Particularly if it’s a tic.  If it’s an enlarged prostate, I have a feeling I’ll find that out soon enough.

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  1. Empathizing on many levels, friend. Humor; however, as you clearly understand, is our way of laughing in the face of the inevitable. Glad you’ve still got a sense of it.

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