informed me that my blood test had come back. He picked up a sheet of
paper, frowned, and shook his head as he perused my blood's evaluation. He
then passed the test results to me, while pointing out, with words and gestures,
my cholesterol reading was 8
millimoles per litre.
rarely see my joke-loving doctor wearing a frown and shaking his
head. I knew something was wrong. Another big
hint in the "something is wrong" category was the word
"ouch!", handwritten with a emphasising exclamation
mark, jumping out from the otherwise type-written page.
"Ouch!" and the already mentioned number "8"
were coupled together.
guessed that "8" was not a good number to have received
in this sort of test. I guessed that a hand written
"ouch! on a type-written medical page was not a positive
"What does 'ouch' mean?" I
Bit of A Shock
Dr Nick, who has never learnt the fine
art of mincing words, informed me, "It means that if you don't lower
that count back to the safe area of 5.5 millimoles per litre, you could die."
"Oh." I said, before sinking
into a stunned silence. My father had died of heart disease when he was only a few years older than
my present age. I was looking down the barrel of a similar fate.
being a doctor and feeling the need to do some doctoring, then advised me to start taking
tablets to lower my cholesterol. I was to take them forever. I
would be dependent on them ... forever.
Is A Long Time
I didn't like the
idea of being dependent on tablets. I don't like being dependent, and I
don't like tablets. I don't like hearing the words "medical
condition" and "forever" in the same sentence.
"How about we give me 6 months of
exercise and improved diet before I start on a life-time course of
tablets?" I asked.
"Of course", said Dr Nick,
"You're not dead yet so you're unlikely to be dead within the next six
months." Dr. Nick's big smile had returned. "Anyway it's your life so you do what you feel is right."
I go to
Dr Nick because he respects my personal rights ... and he's a
good doctor ... and he has that great sense of humour. He
looked like a mischievous, little boy as he waved me goodbye with
these parting words, "Now don't come back dead. It
would ruin my reputation."
didn't die. I thought about, and researched, my
situation. I started walking everyday. I cut out dairy
products and fatty foods. I studied labels, and stopped
buying the obviously "bad" and started buying the
obviously "right". I ate well. I drank lots
of water. I changed my vegetable oil to extra virgin olive
oil. My wine of choice was suddenly red. I did Deep
Breathing and Relaxation exercises and meditations every
day. I became relatively fit, in a relatively short period
Not Dead Yet.
Nick was already grinning as I walked into the consulting
room. He immediately asked, "Are
you trying to put me out of business?"
no idea what he was talking about, but was immediately presented
with my latest blood test results. My cholesterol count was 5.5
millimoles per litre. I was "safe".
Nick ensured I understood the necessity of maintaining my
healthier lifestyle and, then, brought me up to date on the happier
aspects of his own life.
our time was done, Dr. Nick wished me well and dressed his eyes in
a winked twinkle while saying, "So I guess you're going to
live a bit longer after all. ... Just make sure you don't get run
over by a bus ... or bitten by a snake ... or taken by a
aware, as a continuing litany of potential disasters assailed my
back, that it was just as well Dr. Nick and I share a similar sense
of fun. We're both very aware that a good laugh is very good
for the heart.
in February 1976 your assistance benefits will be discontinued ...
Reason: it has been reported to our office that you expired on January 1, 1976.
from a letter, Illinois Department of Public Aid
Unison of Many Hearts/Hearty-Har Laugh
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