Friday, January 15, 2010

Adventures in personal health

Being a responsible global citizen involves taking care of one’s health. I am a responsible global citizen. I floss. I take my vitamins. I got my flu shot and my H1N1 shot. I use the Ped Egg®.

And I made an appointment this week for my annual physical. Which is never a bad thing—I’m in relatively excellent health and my company gives me embarrassingly good insurance—but when you have a physical the doctor drains gallons of blood out of you to make sure things like your kidneys and liver and HDL and LDL and VCR and prostate are working properly. (Which is WAY better than the old way they used to check your prostate … though they still haven’t found a way to check for testicular issues without squishing your balls.) And the doctor doesn’t want the information he extracts from all that blood to be altered by a gutload of fresh nutrients. So you have to fast for eight excruciatingly long hours before your appointment.

Now, a smart person would schedule a physical first thing in the morning so he could roll out of bed, put on some clean underwear, head to the doctor, get leeched and then run right to the nearest IHOP for breakfast.

But! A vain person wouldn’t want to miss his morning leg workout with his alarmingly muscular trainer. So he would schedule his physical for late in the afternoon after he could gorge himself on eggs, toast, pre- and post-workout shakes, two bananas, a bowl of oatmeal, two Greek yogurts, a chicken breast, and a ton of steamed broccoli and then struggle mightily to stave off an afternoon of ravenous hunger emanating from his two freaked-out, food-demanding quads.

Completely out of character, I took the vain-person option on Wednesday. Though I did my own math and decided that fasting from noon until my 3:45 appointment was equal to eight hours. I survived the afternoon and got my grumbly tumbly and my rubbery legs to the doctor’s office without eating anyone on the train … only to learn that my doctor’s office had lost power two hours earlier and I had to reschedule my physical. For Thursday night. Which meant another morning of pre- and post-workout gorging, another afternoon of fasting (this time from noon until 6:30), another grumbly tumbly/throbbing delts train ride … and eventually a physical. Followed by a staggering loss of blood. Followed immediately by the Normandy turkey burger with a side of steamed vegetables and a Diet Coke at Nookies. Followed immediately by two giant, delicious cookies at a Project Runway party. (Don’t you just love the cryer? I haven’t learned her name yet, but she’s gonna make for some quality television. And apparently some puckered pleating.)

I also left with a referral to an otolaryngologist to determine whether there’s anything I can do about my glacially gradual but increasingly frustrating hearing issues. I’ve discovered over the last few years that I just can’t hear people talk when there’s a lot of ambient noise. And I’m not talking about deafening bar noise (which causes the same issues but I never go to deafening bars so who cares?). I’m talking about the background din you’d find at a small party. Or the noise of tires on pavement when you’re having a conversation on a sidewalk. Or the hum an aging DVR or laptop makes when it’s busy spinning its little innards. With these noises in the way, I can hear that people are talking. I can hear that other people can understand them and respond to them. I just can’t understand a damn thing anyone’s saying. And I can’t participate when all I hear is aaeuuiiyyaiinooeeeouu.

So I called the otolaryngologist this morning to make an appointment. And while I expected to be routed through a whole maze of number pushing, I was a little alarmed to discover that the instructions in their voicemail system are set cruelly at the “death whisper” level on their volume control. With a layer of static on top of them. So it’s a very good thing I wasn’t calling from a bar or party or sidewalk. And that I’d eaten so my rumbly tumbly wouldn’t drown out the fact that the scheduler asked me if I wanted the hearing test or the whole hearing test but couldn’t really tell me the difference between the two or how I should pick the best option for me. So it’s a good thing I hadn’t let all my blood grow back. Because it might have started to boil.

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