So, I went for a checkup to get my perfect bill of health, but ...

By John Toth
Publisher

Going to the doctor is not one of my favorite activities. It takes me a while to get in there, and after delaying my annual checkup by a whole year, I decided to do the right thing and make that awful trek.

My doctor is one of the nicest you could ever have, although he doesn’t see me all that often in an official capacity. But there is something about going to the doctor or the dentist that freaks me out.

I do both on a regular basis, or as the case with the doctor, on a semi-regular basis, but I have to push myself. Why is it that men in general act this way?

Maybe because we’re not in full control, or maybe because we don’t want to know if something is bad, since we feel pretty good. In my case, both my parents died at age 60 from complications caused by poor circulation, which gradually developed due to poor diet, decades of smoking and high cholesterol.

So, I am driven to the doctor by fear, even though I skipped a year. Anyway, there I was, sitting in the office, talking about my parents dying at 60 and here I am at 54, so it’s important that I keep those pipes clear.

I should get a colonoscopy, but just the sound of it turns me off. As part of my exam, I got a colon cancer screening, and that wasn’t very pleasant. Now I know why my dogs hate going to the vet.

“The colonoscopy won’t be as bad as this was,” the doctor said in an assuring tone. “You won’t feel a thing. You really should get one soon.”

So, I am getting all the basic check up stuff done. I might as well get a flu shot, since I’m here. And we still need to draw blood for that all important blood test. Two years ago all the numbers came back perfect, so I was not that worried about the outcome. I’d be really surprised if the cholesterol count would not remain perfect, since I’d like to think that I am invincible.

Next week the count came back – not perfect. How could that be? Am I aging, or what? Here I go, starting to slide. This is scary stuff.

“Your LDL, that’s the bad cholesterol, is 9 points over, so you need to exercise and watch what you eat.”

But I already have a gym membership.

I try to make it there once in a while. Maybe I should lay off those egg and bacon tacos in the mornings. Those eggs do have high cholesterol.

I was devastated. The rest of the numbers were OK, but this all important number is now not perfect. What else should I do, I asked? Why is the nurse taking this so lightly?

Because, it’s not a big deal. Exercise and diet will take care of it. Perhaps just cutting out the daily egg will do it all by itself. I’m the only one on the verge of panic because of my background.

So, it’s time to listen more to my son, the health nut. Not that I want to overdo it, because then he’ll think that I have caved in, but in secret I am now taking more of his advice.

I even have switched to Egg Beaters, which are pretty good, by the way.

I read the nutrition labels on everything now and stay away from all that saturated fat. And I am in the gym at least a couple of times a week. Hey, that’s good for me. I’m working on three times, but it’s hard.

I can’t help but to wonder if my parents would have been into cholesterol counting and doing just sensible things like eating right and obviously not smoke, would they still be alive today?

Yes.

No doubt in my mind that they would be. If they would have had the information I have and could have made the adjustments, they’d still be alive today. That is too important to fluff off.

So, what’s next? I have crappy insurance since I am self-employed, and the policy does not spring for a colonoscopy. So, I am asking Santa to bring one this year. That’s going to be my birthday/Christmas present to myself.

And after I do it, you can bet that I’ll write about it.