For some stupid reason, when I turned 50, I decided that I should get an official physical. Not only had I lived half a century, I felt super-duper! The doctor poked everywhere, made me pee in a cup and sucked the marrow of my veins with waspy-looking hypodermics. The nurse measured and weighed me. I was certain I’d be found the absolute picture of health.
Well, not exactly. Two hours later I was told I had, “advanced degenerative arthritis in both knees.” In addition, I had “scoliosis of the spine,” which, “could be corrected by surgery,” but there would be, “a risk of paralysis.” During the EKG, a heart murmur was discovered, along with “mitral valve regurgitation,” meaning the heart flap didn’t completely close with each beat. Oh, and my cholesterol was 281, with absolutely NO good cholesterol and lots of super bad. Finally, an echocardiogram determined that my left carotid artery was 60% blocked.
In all, a stellar report? Well, not so much. But know what ticked me off the most? My chart said that I was 5 foot 6 inches!!! THAT made me mad. I had been 5 foot 7 for as long as I could remember. In fact, I made the nurse measure me a second time just to be sure. “5’ 6”” she announced in a snippy, starched voice.
So, after the doctor droned on about what meds I needed to take and how I should consider surgery, all I could think about was, ‘Where did that INCH go?’ When he finally shut up, he asked: “Now, is there anything else I can do for you?”
“Yes,” I replied. “You need to measure me again. I think there is something wrong with your nurse’s eyesight. She said I was 5’ 6” and I know for a fact that I am 5’7.” He was not pleased. Reluctantly, he stood me on the scale and raised the metal bar. I stretched as high as I could with my physical body and then stretched even higher in my mind
“Five foot six,” he confirmed. “We get shorter as we age.”
So, here’s MY diagnosis as to where that inch went: work, travel, marriage, childbirth, mothering and a lifetime of memory-making. Know what? I am a medical marvel!!: Think of me as a 115-pound bundle of valuable assets: all 5’ 6” of them.
You have validated my reasons for not having a physical exam – to the chagrin of my daughter who is a doctor, married to another doctor. Time and time again, she asked me to book a schedule with a diagnostic clinic. Time and time again, I just answered her, uh, um, until she finally stopped.
And, at 66 (67 this May), I am doing better than you. You lost a full inch while I only lost half. I used to be 5′ 6.5″. Now only a tip toe can make me reach that.
So I, too, found myself diagnosed to the hilt. My doctor prescribed the usual meds for blood pressure and cholesterol. Then, I left for a hiking trip in Bhutan. After a month of healthy exercise, a simple diet and NO STRESS, I came home with no need for medications. (Amazing what getting away from ‘civilized’ demands can do for body and soul.) Now, I’m following a miraculous diet of Dr. Stephan Gundry. After almost 3 years my heart health is perfect; all inflammation is gone- arthritic joints pain free; weight naturally settled to healthy level; and at 74 lots of energy. I may be an inch shorter, but lots healthier and smarter!!!!! Happy Day Helen.
You’re just a glass-half-full-kind of gal, Helen,
That’s a good thing. I was in Kings last week and the lovely young clerk asked me if we’re doing a senior discount today. That was a first. Oh well, she was sweet to ask.
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