Get ready to stick a fork in me. I’m closer to being done and now there’s professional medical evidence to back it up.
Late last summer I went to have a check up. The result of that showed that my cholesterol numbers were not very excellent at all. Beyond that, I passed the treadmill stress test. The medical world decided that it would be in my best interest to start taking cholesterol medication. I wondered – out loud – if there were any other options. I’ve lived this long without drugs so why start now (besides the fact that I have bad cholesterol)?
Well, perhaps there are some measures I could take… like eating better. I cut out a great deal of beef, most processed meats, mayo, butter, unclear-at-room-temp-oils as well as cutting out the grilled sandwiches I would usually make for lunch. I started eating way more fish and chicken, vegetables, fruit and nuts. I replaced most butter and mayo with plain non-fat Greek yogurt. In the spring, I would go back and we would check the results.
On the 9th, they sucked a little blood. A day or so later I received a message from the clinic saying my numbers were not much better. I’d have to go talk to the doctor on the 15th.
March 15th came along and I made my visit. Here’s how it went down…
I arrived at the clinic ahead of time. The receptionist took my name, asked my birth date and confirmed my address. There would be a $40.00 co-pay and the receptionist kindly informed me OUT VERY FUCKING LOUD that based on the form I had filled out online prior to the visit, it looks like “X IS THE ONLY MEDICATION YOU ARE ON”… thanks HIPAA.
I was called by a nurse, weighed and measured. My weight is hovering around 160. My weight for most of my life was around 140. My blood pressure was taken and it read a little on the high side. I was then informed that the doctor would be assisted by a medical student and was asked if I had any problem with that. I figured that some soon-to-be doctor person would just sort of sit in on the appointment. The nurse left the room.
23 seconds or so later, there was a tap on the door. Imagine my surprise when “Dead Owen” came into the room. He was the 3rd year Med student. Only some of you would get the “Dead Owen” reference… he was a character on the Dr. Who spin-off, Torchwood. Whenever we see this guy on anything else, I always refer to him as “Dead Owen”… my med student looked like the guy a little.
We talked about my numbers and he asked to perform various tasks like listening to my heart and lungs. When I would agree to those tasks, Dead Owen was very pleased and asked to check a few more things. The great portion of my visit was with Dead Owen. He left the room. I waited several minutes and then D.O. and my doctor came in to discuss things. Turns out that my numbers had not dropped significantly enough to make a difference. In my mind, I figured they would look at me like I was something amazing and no doubt would want to take me on tour as some sort of miracle man who beat high bad cholesterol with some diet and very little exercise. No such luck.
In fact, what I heard next was the equivalent of me going out into the hallway, dropping my pants and bending over so that everyone in the clinic could walk by and kick me in the balls…
Paraphrasing a little – If I start taking cholesterol as well as high blood pressure medication, there was no reason to believe that I would not live to 70 years old. Wait, what the fuck? That’s 13.5 years from now.
Okay… I do realize that old people die. I also realize that there’s no way anyone gets to cheat death. But here were two people kind of confirming an expiration date. 13.5 years. Holy shit. The only good thing they had to say was “at least you are at a good weight.” Yeah… I had to buy fat pants this spring.
The plan now is to take drugs like an old fucking man. Other than some ibuprofen, I’m not much of a drug guy. I was told that the blood pressure medicine may cause me to feel light headed or pass out when I get up and out of a chair. The cholesterol med may cause me to “have a slight persistent cough that I would not notice but others would.” Why can’t side effects be something more positive like “you now may be able to speak French” or “you may experience bouts of being charming and handsome?” A couple of prescriptions were send to my local pharmacy.
And things get even better. I drove home feeling like kind of a loser, like I had failed a test that could have passed if I would have just studied a little harder instead of just living my total reckless lifestyle of fiddling and listening to politics. I arrived at the pharmacy and they had my stuff ready to go. I whipped out my shiny new Blue Cross – Blue Shield card and waited for info on what my drug co-pay would be. Oh… based on this info, there is no co-pay, perhaps there is another card for that. In fact there is but we just had not received THAT card yet. The next day we discovered that we would receive that card at some point and there WAS co-pay on the drugs – but get this… the co-pay is actually higher than the amount of the drugs WITHOUT the co-pay.
What the hell kind of deal is that? Why even have the damn insurance? Someone needs to look into that situation… I think I need to FEEL THE BERN on that plan.
As I move along in my final 13.5 years, we’ll re-visit the doc in 3 months to see how I’m doing as a drugged up old fart. Perhaps I can push it out to 15 years. We’ll see.