Monday, August 08, 2005

Doctor's Orders

Went to the doctor last Friday. Not a big deal - just a routine physical......

Alright, so maybe it actually was a big deal. Friday marked the first time I'd been to see a doctor in two years. Before that, it had been at least ten (with the exception of an emergency room visit when I severely sprained my ankle whilst jumping over an airborne vacuum cleaner cord at work... long story.) Two visits in twelve years.... so yeah, I suppose each visit becomes a little more important when you look at it that way.

This lack of checkups might make one think I'm afraid to pay a visit to the local shaman. Far from it, actually. So, why the hesitancy? Well, I'm a healthy lad. I was always told yearly physicals were unnecessary for healthy people in their teens and twenties. But really, I'm spoiled... and I already know what the doctor's going to say anyway.

Including myself, my immediate family totals six. Of those, there are two nurses and a doctor. So you might say I've hit paydirt when it comes to free medical advice. Slight twinge in the back? Ask my sister. Chest pains? Talk to the other sister. Violently ill and unable to keep food down? Emergency room. You certainly aren't going to convince my mother anything is wrong. (Note: This is my own fault. Throughout childhood, I tried everything to stay home from school - ipecac, finger down throat, thermometer to lightbulb (which gives a reading of 172 degrees, by the way), whatever... she was on to all of it. I even had to go to school a few times while legitimately sick because I had cried wolf so often in the past. To make matters worse, she's creatively frugal. So, instead of getting canned fruit and juice in the usual thermos and tupperware for lunch, our daily grub was lovingly packaged in sterile (and thankfully unused) urine specimen cups stolen from the workplace. Let me assure you, what was saved in money was lost in her beloved children's self-esteem.)

But yes, with such a murderers row of medical knowledge at my disposal, I (foolishly) didn't feel it particularly necessary to go see a doctor in my late teens and twenties. Plus, I smoked... a lot, and I'd be damned if I was going to have the following exchange with some quack:

Doctor: Do you smoke?

Me: Yes.

Doctor: How much?

Me: Between half a pack to a pack a day.

Doctor: You need to quit.

Me: Really, doctor? Thanks.

Nah - I wasn't having it back then. Nowadays though, it's a different story. I stopped smoking 3 1/2 years ago (the first Christmas present I opened that year was a box of nicotine patches. It was addressed, "To: Eric From: Surgeon General") and am more health conscious. I've recently hit 30, and as such am getting on in years. So, I figured it was high time to go back and see what the good doctor had to say.

I arrived right on time and was greeted by a surly nurse.

"On the scale...... OK - get off..... Put this over your left eye...... Read line 6....... Now line 7....... Right eye...... Six...... Seven....... Follow me....... Change into this and wait for the doctor....." Door closes - bursts open again as I'm taking off my pants, "Oh I forgot.... go into the bathroom and pee into this."

Jesus Christ, Nurse Bitch. Are your shoes too tight?

OK - I didn't actually say that, but this is my blog so we can make pretend. In truth, I was very cordial and chalked the 'tude up to her possible lack of morning coffee.

Thankfully though, the doctor was much more pleasant. I had already seen him once before (marking the first of the whopping 'two in twelve') at my sisters recommendation so I kind of knew what to expect - or so I thought. Once you hit 30, the physicians attitude changes quite a bit. He went through the usual rigamarole (I'll spare you the detailed explanations.... but yes, the words 'Cough please..... aaand again' were heard.) Midway through the examination he said, "So... you having some trouble with your eyes?" I swallowed (instinctively) and told him yes. Going in, I had planned to ask him about making an appointment with an opthamologist. Several years of staring at a computer screen does funky things to the baby blues. For the most part I'm OK, but every once in awhile my left eye gets blurry. No biggie. The doctor didn't seem to think so either, as he chicken scratched a note for me to bring to the opthamology department.. No - he saved the bullets for the next round.

"What type of exercise regime do you have?"

"I don't"


"THAT'S your next project," he said somewhat demeaningly. "Do anything. Walk, run, join a gym, but make sure you get the exercise. Trust me, you'll pay the price later if you don't."

"Yes, doctor."

"Really, I can't stress it enough."

"Yes, doctor."

"I see it time and time again......"

"YES, doctor."

Then later, as he was testing the sturdiness of the padded table I was lying on by pushing on it through my stomach he said,

"Here, you see? Most men start to gain weight right in their belly. I can see it starting to happen with you."

A this point I just nodded and kept saying "Uh Huh." Hard to do much else when your diaphragm is being wrung out like a sponge. For the record though, I'm skinny. I only weigh 148 lbs, for God's sake. Hell, I eat organic produce from Whole Foods. In short, Fatty Arbuckle I am not. Still, there wasn't much point in arguing. He was right. I don't exercise. I need to, and that's that. It was a tough pill to swallow, though. Between my gut and my eyes, it was the first doctors appointment I can remember (not that there've been a lot) where something was "wrong."

But, I'm determined to remedy this. I've already started looking into gym and YMCA memberships, and resumed my morning walks. Next time I go back, I'll have a pair of contacts and a stomach of steel. The good doctor will have to eat his words and say, "Well.... I'm sorry.... I, uh..... I guess... I guess I was wrong", and I'll laugh heartily and say, "Too wrong indeed, doctor. You may apologize now," and he'll feel ashamed and give me my money back, and Miss Surly Nurse will be cowering in the corner at my awesome strength, and the entire office will be in awe and start to bow in unison, and this sentence will go on and on and on and on and on....

Ah yes. The next time I go back....

As I was walking out the door the doctor said, "Oh yes, and we'll need to start seeing you once a year from now on."

Two in twelve, huh? Why mess with a bad thing....


Anonymous Anonymous said...


Brett here, carbs are carbs, fat is fat and sugar is sugar, whether purchased at Hippie-Mart or Store24. Processed sugars are out, that means all of them. Sugar intake creates a insulin spike that tells your body to stop burning and start storing fat. Complex carbohydrates like oatmeal, whole-wheat bread and fiber cereal are in. At your current weight, you should consume 1480 to 1776 calories per day, 40% from protein, 40% from complex carbs, 20% from mono- or poly-unsaturated fat. Also, consider adding oil supplements (flaxseed and sunflower oil) and drink 2-3 cups of tea per day to increase metabolism. Running is hands down the best exercise for fat burn, but don't run too fast, speedy. You want to keep your heart rate at 60%-70% of max, which is a slow trot which allows for reasonably comfortable conversation while exercising. Finally, for that spite-filled six-pack look, do three sets of 15 ab crunches very-very slowly, three times weekly. Next year for your appointment, your doctor will be able to shatter a tongue-depressor across your midrift!

12:29 PM  

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