Doctor’s appointment inspires me to be healthy

I’m dying to get back into mankini shape for Trump boat-parade season.”

Matt Labash

I don’t know about you, but the one thing that really motivates me to start watching my diet and get into decent physical shape is having an upcoming medical appointment. And it just so happens I have one early this summer. I’m not sick or anything, and probably not in line to have a disease or a cure named after me like Lou Gehrig’s disease or Tommy John’s surgery, but I have been working out a little and have lost a little weight and am therefore anxious for someone other than my wife to see me naked. Just kidding. Not even my wife considers seeing me naked to be a highlight of her day. Even the dog seems unimpressed, but then she never wears clothes so what does she know?

I’m also anxious to see the result of my blood test. I‘ve been eating pretty well since Thanksgiving and getting more physical exercise than I usually get before Memorial Day, so I expect to get nothing but smiley faces and thumbs up on my bloodwork chart. I don’t claim sole credit for my above-average physical health. I do take a statin to help control my cholesterol which, at one point some years ago, was higher than my SAT scores. I also now take a pill to help regulate my blood pressure. It works like a charm so long as I don’t turn on the evening news or read a newspaper. The only other medication I take is one called annipurol, which helps regulate my uric acid levels. Some years ago I suffered occasional attacks of gout, which is a crystallization and build-up of uric acids in your joints. It’s a disease usually associated with rich, portly old men. I have not had a gout attack in years, and could probably stop taking the pill, but I hate to break such a longstanding habit.

Besides my Triad of medications and my enthusiastic, if sporadic exercise regime of intense yard work, long walks at Fort Ward, and active rounds of golf, I also practice meditation from time to time. I’m not sure it does much, but it beats sitting around doing nothing. I’ve thought about taking up fly fishing to get me outdoors. But my early forays into it have not been particularly successful. Also, I am acutely aware that there is a very fine line between fishing and just standing on the shoreline looking like an idiot, and you can well imagine which end of that spectrum I generally inhabit.

From a mental health standpoint, this past winter and spring were harder for me than any in recent memory. The combination of post-COVID re-entry into the world and the clouds and wet weather felt particularly oppressive to me and many others who don’t usually suffer from seasonal affective disorder. I found myself longing for sunshine and warmth. I know I am hardly alone. You may not have noticed it, but we’re living through one of the most unpleasant and dispiriting presidential campaigns in our history. I read somewhere that 80% of the world’s population suffers from signs of depression. I’m pretty sure the other 20% cause that depression.

Closer to home, I also read that 41% of American millennials believe they have “money dysmorphia,” or unfounded feelings of financial insecurity. I think I have money dysmorphia, only in my case I think my feelings are not just well-founded, but well supported by reams of persuasive personal empirical data. Wendy and I visited a financial advisor a couple of years ago, and I asked him if he thought I was in a strong enough financial position to retire. He looked over our financial statement and records and said that if I were his mother, he wouldn’t let me retire based on our numbers. I asked him if it would change his opinion if we were to cancel our cable package, switch to two-ply toilet paper and give up alcohol except on days ending in the letter “y.” From that experience, I learned that financial advisors don’t have much of a sense of humor.

So I guess I’ll keep working and getting into shape in preparation for my annual wellness visit, much like the way I engage in rigorous daily flossing the week before my semi-annual teeth cleanings. In the meantime, I’ll remind myself how lucky I am to have a good job, a great wife, family and friends, and the good health to be working and playing at my advanced age. And by the middle of November, I’ll be able to turn on the TV news again. I hope.

Tom Tyner of Bainbridge Island writes a weekly humor column for this newspaper.