Opinion

Personal health not forgotten | The Latte Guy | March 26

Even though we are in the midst of NCAA March Madness college basketball championship, I won’t bore you with my stunning prognostication prowess nor dazzle you with a peek at my prescient perspicacity in picking winners.

Like picking double-digit seeds Washington, St. Mary’s, Northern Iowa and Cornell to make it to the Sweet Sixteen. Nope, you won’t hear any of that.

Instead, I’d like to focus for a moment on health care. And I’m talking about my own personal health care, not the national health care reform effort that Congress is honking and braying about these days

Now, I would be the first to admit that when it comes to taking care of my own personal health, I am not a very good patient. Part of my problem is that I have an unrealistic view of my own capabilities and infirmities.

I still pretty much believe, despite copious quantities of clear and conclusive evidence to the contrary, that I am only about four or five sit-ups and a bottle of Grecian Formula away from being in a hot tub with Paris Hilton and Angelina Jolie.

Overall, my health has always been very good, and my only recent medical shortcoming that I am aware of is that my memory is not as sharp as it used to be. Also, my memory’s not as sharp as it used to be.

Perhaps I’ve also been a tad bit slow to accept the fact that my metabolism has slowed down ever so slightly since I turned 50, and that I should therefore adjust my eating habits to reflect this new reality. My parents and all three of my siblings have a history of high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

Many people looking at such a familial pattern might think it advisable to have their blood pressure and cholesterol checked. I haven’t done so, partly because I know that one of the keys to a happy life is a bad memory, and partly because I am of the view that just because something looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, doesn’t mean that it’s not an elephant in disguise.

Relying on the power of positive denial, I was fully prepared to continue my dubious strategy of avoiding seeing a doctor for a check up indefinitely.

However, better judgment finally prevailed, by which I mean that the woman who is my wife scheduled an appointment for me without telling me. She also got me into the car to go to the appointment by telling me that we were going to a Pabst Blue Ribbon Customer Appreciation Sale at the grocery store.

In any event, I finally had a long overdue blood test. And since I was already there anyway, the doctor went ahead and checked under the old hood. In addition to the blood test, the doctor also checked my blood pressure, listened to my heart, estimated the size of my prostate, measured my carbon footprint.

I passed most of the tests with colors that, if not exactly flying, were at least not cowering below deck either. The one thing I learned is that I have high blood pressure and elevated levels of bad cholesterol, which, despite my family history and spotty eating habits, I find surprising because I hardly ever eat bad cholesterol, except for the small amounts of it I occasionally sprinkle on my bacon, eggs and potato chips. And occasionally on my donuts.

I may eventually have to go on medication to help control my cholesterol, but in the meantime I plan to eat healthier and progress from thinking about doing more exercise to actually doing it. My immediate goal is to eat more vegetables, or, failing that, at least eat less beef, which should reduce both my cholesterol and my carbon footprint.

I’m glad I got around to seeing the doctor and grateful for a wife who cares so much about my health. If I could remember where she is right now I’d thank her personally. Did I mention that my memory is not as sharp as it used to be?

Tom Tyner is an attorney for the Trust for Public Land. He is author of “Skeletons From Our Closet,” a collection of writings on the island’s latte scene.

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