Relative Something

*this* John W. Hays' take on things and experiences

Posts Tagged ‘annual physical

Heading Somewhere

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Apparently, if my recent dreams are any indication, there is somewhere I’m trying to reach, but circumstances keep delaying my readiness to depart. But, isn’t that just an inherent existential dilemma? Why are we here?

It’s the journey, right? Not just the destination.

I love a good adventure, but the truth is, I’m not all that fond of traveling. One common thread of people’s stories about their travels are the hassles and struggles faced along the way. Getting through airport security, navigating the unknowns of destination ports, communicating through language barriers.

It’s all part of the package of traveling. Choosing to see those parts of the journey in a more positive light than as just being hassles, goes a long way toward helping a person accept them as pleasurable, as in, a puzzle to be solved. If you like puzzling, I mean.

If you are not traveling, you are still headed somewhere. Are the everyday challenges being navigated, hassles? Or are they puzzles being solved?

Are we trying to get ready to depart, or are these little conflicts actually the journey, itself?

Where the heck are we heading, anyway?

To a better place. Free from pains, both physical and mental. We are looking for peace and love.

Don’t just be a consumer of those commodities, though. Be a distributor, as well.

Yesterday, after my well-health check-up physical with my doctor, I needed to visit our local pharmacy. To my surprise, I was offered the option of trying out a short-term regimen of an oral corticosteroid to see if it would settle the lung congestion left over from my recent cold. This, in contrast to the usual long-term (and much more expensive) daily inhaled asthma treatment.

Without thinking fast enough, I let them transmit the prescription to an Ellsworth pharmacy that Cyndie recently discovered was not functioning well. They are understaffed, overburdened, and may be headed out of business.

We phoned to see if they had my common prescription ready for pickup. So far, so good.

They’ve closed the drive through (because it’s too cold outside?), so I had to go in. I was not surprised to see a queue of visibly frustrated customers waiting. The angst in the vicinity was palpable.

Armed with prior warning, I was not flapped by this. I brought love and peace. Calmness. Understanding. Smiling. My energy smoothed some of their rough edges, while I accepted the process of waiting.

I enjoyed an added bonus of being able to find someone on my way out, and tell them they had forgotten their insurance card, which I had witnessed the staff fretting over.

Where are we heading?

Oh, yeah. To peace and love.

And better health, too. What an adventure!

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Twenty Years

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Six months into 2019, I will reach another decade milestone of birthdays. It will mark the entrance to my fourth life span, as measured by my twenty-year segments of life. My perspective goes like this: From birth to age twenty, it seems like a mind-boggling amount life experiences.

We know almost nothing when born, basically starting with little in the way of consciousness, then progressing to a fully functioning adult –give or take a few/some/many skills; individual results obviously vary. Using those first twenty years of life as a benchmark, the changes in the next twenty years aren’t so dramatic.

But here’s the key: It is still the same span of time in number of years.

If it felt like a lifetime of experiences to get to twenty-years-old, then use that same reference to view life from twenty to forty. Don’t devalue that second span of twenty years just because of how much you already knew when it started.

Same thing again when reaching sixty. You have lived from zero to twenty, three times by sixty years old.

Young people may naturally perceive small differences between people in their sixties or eighties. But considering it from the twenty-year reference, that difference is another lifetime.

Last fall, my health insurance provider mailed me a notice that it was time for my annual physical. You know, that annual physical that I get around to every four years or so. As the calendar rolled over to the new year, the one where I will turn sixty, I felt motivated to make the appointment.

Now that I’ve survived that nuisance cold I picked up over the holidays, I’m in great condition for a well-health check. Problem is, I don’t want to bring up any symptoms of aging for fear the doctor will want to sell me a battalion of pharmacological solutions.

Among nuisance details like age spots on my skin, and declining testosterone induced nose/ear/eyebrow hair growth, I’m recognizing new and increasing signs that my oft-sprained ankle from years of sporting activity is sending very arthritic aching signals lately.

The ankle pangs provide a compliment to the arthritic thumb pain that my hand doctor discouraged me surgically treating when I sought advice on it after the family trait showed up in my left hand about a decade ago.

Being uninterested in long-term prescription treatments, I would like to delay a standard routine of osteoarthritis pain medicines as long as possible.

I’ll focus my next twenty-year life span toward optimal hydration, controlled sugar intake, healthy meals (portion control!), regular planking and stretching, clean air, positive mental focus, regular dental checkups/eye exams, interacting with our animals, and sending love to everyone, in attempt to manage the ravages of time.

Who knows? Maybe in another twenty years, they will have perfected the art of genetically re-engineering epigenetic changes or senescent cell management, and aging will be a thing of the past.

Twenty years seems like a lifetime of experience, though, doesn’t it?

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Not There

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It has been 15 months since I began paying attention to how much sugar I was consuming on a daily basis and trying to achieve a level closer to the World Health Organization’s recommendation of limiting sugar to only 5-10% of my daily calories. Prior to that time, I was consuming the daily total and more by the completion of my breakfasts. By the end of the days, I was likely hitting somewhere around quadruple the recommended amount.

dscn5149eFor more than a year I have been measuring the amount of cereal and yogurt I serve myself to keep the serving size small enough to provide no more than 10 grams of sugar per meal. Based on a 2000 calorie per day diet, I was aiming to stay below around 200 of those calories to come from sugar.

One gram of sugar contains 3.87 calories.

One trick with my plan is keeping the total calories at the daily target of 2000. The average American diet all too easily exceeds that amount. So, by wanting to reduce my sugar intake, I found myself also bringing my total calories down. That is not something I ever bothered measuring before this effort.

I simply knew that I should aim for a balance of obvious healthy choices. At the same time, an addict will respond to urges that exceed what they know to be healthy. I was addicted to sugar.

Not only were the lab results for my blood work revealing I was pre-diabetic, I was uncomfortably pudging out. The love-handles and belly bulge, the flabby arms, and my usual full face were ever present and slowly expanding.

My main goal was to appease the pressure from my doctor to get my numbers down for glycosylated hemoglobin, or HbA1c. After a year of working on it, I was looking forward to this year’s physical to learn the results of my efforts.

Much to my surprise, I’m not there yet.

Two years ago, my HbA1c reading came in at 5.8. My clinic seeks a level of <5.7, so I was just barely outside their “normal” range. Thus, the diagnosis of “pre-diabetic.”

My results this time, after a year of attention to my sugar intake, came in at 5.9.

Humpf.

Doc says there may be some genetics involved, as well as the fact that as we age our pancreas function deteriorates. I figure it’s because I had eaten so many of Cyndie’s sweet caramel rolls over the years, it will take me longer than a year to purge the glucose from my system.

So, my HbA1c may not have come down where the doctor wants to see it, but in the past year I have pleasantly reduced most of that flab that I never liked and I’ve dropped 8 pounds since my last visit to the clinic.

I’ll claim that small victory and keep measuring my sugar grams in search of a lower number for the level of my hemoglobin-bound-to-glucose next year. I want to keep my diet below the daily amount of recommended sugar to help my body as much as possible.

My poor pancreas isn’t gettin’ any younger.

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