Wednesday, May 7, 2014

The Personal Epiphany of Health Care

The Merriam Webster online dictionary defines "epiphany," besides the obvious Judeo-Christian meaning, as a moment of sudden understand in a new or clear way.

Sitting at the pharmacy drive-through window, hearing that the doctor's office had failed to call back to confirm a refill request on my blood pressure pill, I came to a moment of sudden understanding in a new and clear way.  I had ceded responsibility for my own health.

At 46 years old, I'm about 5-10 and right at 190 pounds.  That's a little heavier than I like.  In fact, it's a lot heavier than I like because I can remember being much younger, a shade taller and about fifty pounds lighter.  Granted this height at 140 is pretty skinny, but this height at 170 felt great.  I could run, jump, lift heavy things, all that stuff.  I could fit into 34-inch-waist pants.  There haven't been any 34" pants in my bureau for a while now.

Now that I'm in 36" pants and sometimes sucking in a bit to get them snapped, I have been feeling a bit depressed.  It takes extra effort to get off the couch and walk around the block, it takes a certain amount of will to say "no" to the second bowl of chili that is just so good but I don't actually need it.  It takes a certain combination of pessimism and optimism, pessimism that even though I am happy in the moment of the second bowl, in the morning I will be unhappy when I cannot get the pants snapped, optimism that nothing is irreversible.  I don't have to be stuck at 190, I may have trouble snapping the pants now but that doesn't have to be permanent.

One day, I can get back into 34" jeans.

I am certain that a fair portion of my need for a prescription medication to control my blood pressure is, at least in part, my weight.  And there I was, fuming at the back of my mind that for whatever reason, my doctor hadn't called in the refill.  Now, I know that weight isn't everything and that skinny people have high blood pressure, too.  But I also know that weight is a contributing factor in a lot of cases, and it's a factor over which I have complete control.  But I wasn't controlling it, and harboring a quiet anger toward my doctor when, in fact, I could actually take positive steps to eliminate my doctor's influence on my health and, by extension, my peace of mind.  It doesn't feel good to have something so basic held in control by someone else.

So here I am now, stating these facts:

Day 1 (Monday 05/05/14)
Weight: 189 pounds.  I had a ham-egg-cheese sandwich for breakfast, missed lunch, cold cut sandwich for dinner.  Spicy pickle relish on the sandwich, big flavor, small calories.

Walked around the block, lifted a few modest weights.  15-lb dumbbells, 3x10.  Sit-ups and push-ups.  I hate push-ups.  But I'm not keen on man-boobs either, so push-ups it is.

Day 2 (Tuesday 05/06/2014)
No weight.  Scrambled eggs for breakfast, large hoagie at lunch.  Green beans, onion, corn on the cob and smoked sausage for dinner.  Tasty!  Went easy on the butter, counter to my instincts.  My big thing about the butter is the salty taste, so I salted the corn instead.  That worked great.  Walked around the block.  No workout at all.

Day 3 (Wednesday 05/07/2014)
Weight 188.  We're on our way!  Breakfast at Chick-Fil-A.  Skipped the fries.  Lunch was leftover from dinner, no corn.  Delicious.

That's it for the moment.  It's the middle of my workday so I'll follow up.  I'm determined to actually beat this thing.  I'm not grossly obese or in terrible condition, but I can feel myself becoming more complacent.  More than anything else, that complacency is the most dangerous part.  I don't think it's good to be comfortable with having surrendered so much of my own life to the control of others, and I intend to take it back.

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