Two weeks ago, I went for a yearly check-up and of course, heard those words. My sweet doctor was quick to point out that I was certainly not old yet, just well on my way there.
Thanks for that, Doc.
When his receptionist called to remind me of the appointment, she suggested that I fast so they could do some blood work while I was there. I agreed and starved myself from that point on.
There were two reasons for this fast - one medical and one personal:
Medical - They would be checking my cholesterol and
Personal - I would be stepping on the scale.
Unlike Lily, stepping on a scale is the only time I feel the need to strip myself naked but since it's frowned upon in the busy hallway of the doctor's office, I have to satisfy myself with wearing extremely lightweight linen while only removing shoes and any heavy jewelry.
I couldn't help but think of the first time I ever had my cholesterol checked.
It was about 18 years ago and no one mentioned that I should be fasting or doing anything special at all. So on the way to the doctor's office, I ran through Taco Bell.
I completed my check-up, blood work and all, and headed back home. Bright and early the next morning, my phone rings. It's the doctor's office. And the conversation went a little something like this:
Nurse - "Mrs. Rush, we received your blood work results and your cholesterol is extremely high, especially for someone as young and fit as you are."
OK - She didn't actually say that last part. I just added it for dramatic effect because as we get older, our memories start to fail and we can remember things the way we want to!
Me - "So what does that mean?"
Nurse - "Well, it's so high that we are considering having you come back so we can talk about options, including the possibility of medication."
Me - "Wow. I thought only really old people who don't eat well need cholesterol medication."
Because Taco Bell before a doctor's appointment is the epitome of eating well, am I right?
Nurse - "That's not necessarily true. Much of cholesterol is hereditary."
I was feeling quite relieved by now because I could totally blame this on my mom and dad and not Taco Bell.
Nurse - "Let me just ask a few questions and then we'll set up the next appointment for you. When was the last time you ate before arriving at the office?"
Me - "Well, the appointment was at 1 PM so I ate about..... oh, 11 AM, maybe."
Nurse - "Wait a minute. Let me get this straight. You ate one or two hours before having your blood work done, you moron???"
Again, not exactly what she said, but now that I am older, I know what she was thinking.
Me - "Ummm... yes. Why? Did I do something wrong?"
Nurse - "This blood work was supposed to be done while you were fasting. You shouldn't have eaten anything since at least midnight the previous night."
Me - "I didn't get that message. And I didn't just eat, lady. No yogurt or bran muffin for me, no ma'am. I had a taco and a big honkin' bean burrito and I washed it down with a Diet Coke. Do you think that might skew cholesterol results just a little bit?"
I was feeling a little defensive at this point because even though I was young and fit, I had figured out by now she thought I was a moron.
Nurse - "Never mind. We'll just check your cholesterol when you come in for your next yearly appointment. And we'll be sure to remind you to fast. Good-bye."
I'm sure she hung up the phone and ran to tell all the other nurses loitering around the water cooler about the moron she just talked to.
So this time, I did everything right. I didn't eat from about 10 PM on. I was going to ace the test this time.
But like I said before, I'm older now. I have things working against me, like gravity and slow metabolism and a general hatred for all things exercise related coupled with a deep love for all things chocolate.
I didn't exactly ace the test.
Granted, I didn't alarm anyone so much that I got a phone call in the wee hours of the morning this time.
But it is a little higher than it should be. Which means doing things like eating steel cut oats, upping my Omega 3's, and looking into the American Heart Association Diet.
Oh, and in the words of my doctor, continuing to exercise.
I love that man.... he always thinks the best of me and doesn't say mean things like "How about you get off your lazy butt, start an exercise routine, and oh! Here's a novel idea.... stick with it!"
While these are all wonderful suggestions, I think I'll go with the nurse's advice from 18 years ago.
I'm just going to blame my mom and dad.
Taco Bell, anyone?