HEALTH CARE CAN
4 January 2003
When I began my lifestyle change (nearly a year ago now!!), I did it for the obvious
reasons--to lose weight and to learn healthy eating habits.
As the year has progressed, unexpected perks have popped up. When Joan suggested that I
check out her health club, I had no idea how much I would enjoy not only the morning
workout, but the camaraderie of the "pre-breakfast club." I've cut
back on my club time lately and have discovered in the last couple of days how much I
missed it. I've come to care about some of the people in that group and I'll probably
return to daily attendance, even on the days when I bike.
Biking. There was a perk. Whoda thunk I'd enjoy it so much. Kicking and screaming, I
bought and got back on a bike again and....well, over 1,000 miles later, I'm still
The first hint that it all was working was when the first lab tests came back, showing
my blood sugar in great control and my cholesterol significantly lower.
But the real fun came about halfway through the year, when it was time for an annual
exam. I have avoided doctors (well, except for the ones I work for) like the plague for
years--not out of any fear of medicine, but out of embarrassment for my weight and my bad
health habits. I had seen too many patients come through the office, looking sheepish and
hearing the same things I knew I would hear, about diet and exercise.
So when I saw my new primary care physician I was happy to hop on the scale, which at
that time recorded about a 40 lb weight loss. As he went through all of the
"shoulds" I was able to say "doing that" and when he checked the labs,
he could say "well, everything looks fine." Words I'd never heard from a
doctor--at least not in recent memory.
They got me set up in a diabetes program, so I've been going to periodic classes, each
one preceded by the battery of lab tests.
When I met with the Pharmicological Doctor a month or so ago, he had nothing but good,
assuring things to say. "You're doing all the right things," he
Today I met with the Clinical Health Educator (hi,
Tracy!) and, as with my appointment a month ago, everything was positive. I love
going to all these medical appointments.
Today's focus was on foot care, an important part of the daily routine of a diabetic.
Tracy kept looking at my numbers and telling me that I fell in the low, low, low risk
category, but that she would go over everything with me anyway.
Each check of the lab numbers was positive. What's more, I had somewhat intelligent
questions to ask...I cared about what was going on with my body and had become one
of those pro-active patients, not the kind I used to be, who sat back, feeling guilty,
wishing the whole thing would just end so I could rush off to McDonald's.
What's more I asked her to weigh me so I could get a feel for how bad my
binging over the holiday was. This wasn't a WeightWatchers scale, so I won't count it
here--but let's say there will be a lot of green in my next few days! I was not kind to my
body over Christmas. But it really didn't matter, because I was there, not to shirk from
anything, but to check it all out.
Tracy showed me their BMI scale, which records both weight and body mass index. We
appear to have broken the printer, she and I, but we did get a reading for a baseline and
she showed me how I could drop in to the clinic and continue to do weigh myself on the BMI
scale at regular intervals.
I left armed with a book on foot care, a new bottle of medications for high blood
pressure (since the original prescription was giving me a cough), and a pat on the back
for all of the good work I've done this past year. At one point, we passed the
Pharmacological Doctor in the hall, and he greeted me by name. That was nice.
So I've become what every medical person wants: a compliant patient. I've taken charge
of my own health and am working to stay healthy. And what's more, I'm lovin' it. This
"health business" ain't such a bad deal after all. If only I'd started it