This is going to be a kind of melancholy entry.
A week ago or so, I started having some pain in my chest. It felt like heartburn, but lasted a long time. Like multiple days.
I let it go for a few days, then started thinking about it: the one thing my family didn’t need right now was me in the hospital. And then I started thinking about heart attacks. And of course once I started thinking about heart attacks, I couldn’t think of anything else.
Finally, I went and saw a doctor. They asked me a barrage of questions, and I answered enough of them "no" (Have you been nauseous? Have you had pain in your arms?) that I started realizing that my big fear — that I had had a heart attack — probably wasn’t something to worry about.
They did an EKG and said my heart’s great.
Then they did a blood test and said they’d phone me with the results.
I was embarrassed over the fact that I had worked some chest pain up, in my head, into a heart attack, and decided not to say anything about it in my blog.
Today, though, I got the results back — in the form of a phone call from the receptionist — from the bloodwork. I have high cholesterol. Really, really, high cholesterol. Except for the good kind, which is low.
I asked if I maybe should come in.
"No," said the receptionist. "We’ll write you a prescription, and you should start a low-fat diet and start exercising."
"You mean, lower than the 20-25g of fat I eat daily right now, and more than the two hours of exercise I do right now?" I asked.
"Do you eat a high fiber diet?"
"Yes, I do. Quaker Oats sends me a "thank you" card every year," I said. Actually, I just made up the Quaker Oats thank you card part just now, which is too bad, because that’s a good line.
"Well, we better set you up with an appointment," she said.
"Better make it a long one," I said. "I never did my 40-year checkup, and my left wrist has been hurting for four months now. Let’s take care of everything in one shot."
"Four months? Why haven’t you come in before now?" she asked, not unreasonably.
"I don’t know," I said, cleverly. "I keep thinking that it will get better soon."
So, anyway, I have an appointment with the doctor this Monday, where I expect I will get a Lipitor-ish prescription. Which I assume I will need to take for the rest of my life.
I have no illusions about my age — I know I’m 41. I knew that I had high cholesterol (though I didn’t know it was this high). But I’m still bummed about what feels like the first step of a slippery slope.
I’m about, I assume, to start taking a pill every day for the rest of my life. Not something to cure me, but to fight off one of the effects of age.
From here on out, I can only expect to have the number of daily pills increase. One for my cholesterol now. Next up, something for arthritis. After that, I’m sure, the prostate. And after that, something else.
This must be what a midlife crisis feels like. I’d better go buy myself a really, really nice bike to help me feel better about myself. And pronto.
PS: You kids get offa my lawn.