Thursday, December 01, 2005

The Fall Of Grease, or: A Short History Of Pop Artery

I had a long chat with Bob last night in which the subject eventually turned from books and bootlegs to our latest medical news, so I brought him up-to-date on my experience with the flu and pneumonia shots.

It turned out that he has a flu shot every year and that, yes, even though they make you feel awful for a few days, they really do seem to ward off those long winter illnesses. So I felt as if I had done the intelligent thing.

Now let me bring you up-to-speed with what I told him.

During this entire inoculation effort, during which we lost some good men I don’t mind telling you, some blood was drawn for a long-overdue peek at my cholesterol situation. I’d had it looked at before, but the doctor wanted this particularly fine-tuned test done to see what was what.

So a couple days later I come home to a message on the answering machine. It’s the doctor’s office.

The nurse says, “Uh, Mr. Getz? This is Dr. ****’s office calling regarding your test results. Could you call us back at your earliest opportunity so we could discuss them with you? Thank you.”

Gulp.

I never get these kinds of messages from my doctor’s office. I just show up every few months and he usually tells me how all the results were fine, etc., and here’s a free sample of Apoplexocon, let us know what it does to you, if you wouldn’t mind.

For the first time, I tasted real fear in connection with a medical test. As many things as have gone wrong with me, they’ve never been anything terribly serious or mysterious. This made me very, very nervous.

I grabbed the phone and called the office, getting the same nurse who had left the message. She told me, “Oh, hold on, please!” and disappeared, no doubt to get the doctor who would deliver the crushing blow personally. I waited. And I waited.

What was going on? Did no one have the courage to tell me what was wrong?

Finally, the voice returned. “It’s about the results of your cholesterol test. They’re a mess.”

“What? Do you mean someone messed them up?”

“No, no. I mean, they’re a mess. They’re a long way from where they should be and the doctor would like you to come in to discuss it.”

“Um, can you tell me exactly what’s wrong?”

“Well, your total cholesterol, which should be around 150?”

“Yes?”

“It’s closer to 300.”

Jesus.

“And your LDL, which we like to see around 130 or less, is around 150, while your HDL, or what we call ‘good cholesterol,’ is 35, as opposed to the 45 or more we like to see.”

“So all together, it’s not a very good picture, huh?”

“No, so the sooner you could get in here, the better.”

So I made an appointment for next Tuesday. All of a sudden, my jokes about My Inevitable Coronary or being a Heart Attack Waiting To Happen didn’t seem so funny anymore. All those cheeseburgers felt suddenly lethal.

Somewhere, somehow, I’d have to find the will power my wife found this year when she decided to lose weight and eat decently. How was this going to happen?

“Well,” said Bob as we wrapped up, “I’ll let you go put your mask on and get some sleep,” referring to the mask connected to the CPAP machine that allows me to sleep without being abused by Sleep Apnea.

“My god,” I said, suddenly feeling overcome with age, “I’m going to be one of those people who walks around wearing a mask and wheeling an oxygen tank around with them.”

“Hey,” said Bob, “you can always put a ‘Ramones’ sticker on it.”

2 Comments:

Anonymous Uncle Cleetus said...

Don't let them put you on the usual battery of cholesterol lowering drugs- the side effects are deadly! Heart attack, liver damage to name a few. Go to your local Health Food Store and ask for Red Yeast Rice and Policosanal. Natural and effective. Diet is the big thing and the toughest to get on track. Cut out the crap 6 days a week- save one day a week to eat a cheeseburger and fries. Moderation is the key...Over eating and eating garbage is just as bad as a alcohol/drug habit. Food can be quite a narcotic- yum....Pork Rinds!!

If you can't change your diet for yourself- do it for Mrs. Screwloosum! I think she would be very P.O'd at you if you check out early.

Thursday, December 01, 2005 9:28:00 PM  
Blogger Count Screwloose said...

I really appreciate the advice, Uncle Cleetus. I need to educate myself quickly about this whole thing.

The diet and exercise will be the key, as you say. Diet will be the hardest as I'm a big believer in "comfort food." Comfort in general, come to think of it.

And weight loss would really help a lot of the other stuff as well. Hard to bite the bullet when it's so easy to bite into an Egg McMuffin, though.

Looks like the gravy train is over now, literally. I'll keep ya posted!

RG

Friday, December 02, 2005 3:57:00 AM  

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