This will be the day that I die...
...because I just got a clean bill of health from my doctor.
Not to brag, but I put up numbers the likes of which I haven't seen since high school, before the slacker years of college when you thought your bad habits wouldn't catch up with you, prior to the onset of full-time work and no time for exercise.
Blood pressure 102/62, Pulse 60. Triglyceride 71 (down 100 from last winter). Cholesterol 174 (once peaked at 300+ before making Lipitor part of a healthy breakfast). HDL and LDL all fantastic. White and red blood counts are spot-on. PSA: 1.56. Championship, top-shelf, Olympic-gold-metal numbers, I'm told.
And, it all could mean squadoosh tomorrow.
When you get to be my age, you start doing what my good buddy Jim Peck calls "the organ recital": meetings with friends always include updates on the health status of acquaintances, from the recently passed to those who just found out they have gout or some other middle-age affliction. You start sounding the way your relatives did back when you were a kid, when the adults would bust out the cards and regale each other with horror stories about what happened to so-and-so after a recent visit to the doctor. "Just closed 'em back up," I remember one of my kinfolk saying about an acquaintance who'd undergone exploratory surgery, only to have the doctor discover something within the poor soul's gutty-works so heinous that further surgery would be useless.
Those kind of stories leave a mark.
Then there are the otherwise healthy folks who'd just gotten clean bills of health from their doctors, only to wake up freshly dead a day or two later. Maybe that's why my mom avoided physicians as if they were radioactive. She went some 16 years plus without a checkup, her last coming right after I was born. The only reason the streak ended was because of a broken ankle suffered while running to the phone. Even at that, it took more than a week for my sister and I to convince her it was something more than a sprain.
And, when you get to be on in years, you grow your own bunch of sad stories about friends who seemed to be in the peak of health one day at the corner bar, only to be diagnosed soon after with a serious--perhaps terminal--disease. I can think of three buds right off the top of my head who fall into that category without even having to conjure very hard.
What's the takeaway here? Enjoy good health while you have it, of course, and be your own best advocate the doctor's office. If something doesn't seem right, keep fighting for answers until you're satisfied. Be pro-active: take care of yourself. Don't deny yourself, but remember that thing called "moderation". Honest, it works. A little exercise doesn't hurt, either. Get regular checkups and do all those unpleasant things (prostate exams and colonoscopies, among others) that find small problems before they become life threatening issues. A little discomfort is one thing, but it's nothing compared to, well, being that guy who "they just closed back up."
There are no guarantees. A glowing showing in the examination room and world-class blood work is no guarantee that you'll make it to 90. I could get a gripper before I hit "publish" at the bottom of this blog, or a blood vessel could go ka-blooey by the time the alarm goes off tomorrow morning. That's not being glum.
That's just having a healthy sense of reality.