I’m a lot better about getting blood tests these days. Growing up, I had a real fear of them. The needles are much smaller now, and you usually feel nothing more than a minor pinch. Not like in the old days when the bore size of the needle made it feel like a harpoon going in, and I’d be woozy until the nurse removed the needle.
If you have read my last post, you know about my annual physical; I mentioned that the doctor told me to schedule a blood test, which I did. These days, it’s all about the online scheduling, so I booked the first day with open appointments (3 weeks later!). When the time arrived, I got my test and was in and out quickly. Apparently, a gaggle of nursing students was onsite to practice drawing blood. Luckily the clinic didn’t ask me to volunteer because I would have felt like a dick turning them down, but I would have — I had no desire to be someone’s practice voodoo doll.
Getting my results
After the test, I kept waiting to hear from my doctor about my results, but as of the present, still nada. I saw the lab’s website had a My Results option, so after a week-and-a-half, I signed in, and sure enough, my results were in. I watched a brief animated instructional video where a helpful narrator explained the user-friendly interface with 13 different tiled categories to explore, and then I dived in.
Turns out, I have five “out of range” readings, but at first, it looked like there were a ton more of them and I was like “Jesus Christ, I’m a wreck!” However, as I mentioned, there are 13 categories and I soon discovered the same results will sometimes show up in multiple categories. Phew — that was a relief.
All hail the Vampire King
To begin, apparently, I have the Vitamin D levels one might expect of a vampire — i.e., non-existent. Vitamin D has a lot to do with bone health, which is concerning. My parents had osteoporosis, and I’m not keen on ending up humped over. How low is my Vitamin D? Let’s put it this way — I’m surprised my skeleton hasn’t crumbled under its own weight, particularly with the Pandemic Pounds I’m lugging around.
Being white, one would think I could take advantage of my pale skin’s evolutionary advantage of generating Vitamin D through sun exposure — but for those of you who don’t know me, I have an intense aversion to Arizona’s blazing sunlight; the moment a sunbeam contacts my exposed flesh, it feels like I might combust at any second. I vaguely remember having a mild tan during the summer as a kid but only after painful sunburns. But those days are long gone. By college, my sister, Bridget, was out tanning like she was a melanin salesperson/floor model, while I was reduced to skulking in the shadows. As a grad student, I often went to bed at 5 a.m. or later and slept till the early afternoon, which resulted in a pasty appearance. My sister began using me as a base to judge the deepness of her own tan.
“My God, you glow like a ghost! she exclaimed once as she ordered me to extend my leg while I was clad in shorts so she could compare her own coppery limb against it.
As a possible solution to my Vitamin D shortfall, in addition to consuming more dairy products and taking a Vitamin D supplement, the Houseguest suggested I go stand in the sun for 15 minutes, which I find to be culturally insensitive to someone who is a translucent white. With things heating up in Arizona, she might as well have told me to go stand inside a nuclear furnace.
The rest of the story
When it comes to my cholesterol levels, my good and bad cholesterol are out of range. I don’t think it’s that bad, but I’m just guessing until I discuss it with my doctor. But I’m skipping burgers for a while. And maybe I’ll just eat half the pizza – or perhaps a third.
My glucose is slightly out of range too. A doctor previously told me I was bordering on pre-diabetic, so I’m not surprised. When I mentioned my results to my co-worker, a Type 1 diabetic, he asked what my score was, and I told him 105.
“Oh, that’s fine,” he replied. “When I was diagnosed, mine was 678.”
So, I’m not in any immediate danger of going into a diabetic coma or having a foot amputated, but I still need to get my eating sorted out to reverse the trend. As a first (baby) step, yesterday, I only ate 2 Reese’s Big Cup peanut butter cups (the ones with potato chip crumbles in them to maximize salt and sugar excess) instead of my customary four. Of course, the Houseguest and her boyfriend just ruined my plans by returning to the house with an apple fritter the size of a small plate they bought for me (so delicious, yet so bad for me), and of course, I ate it.
I’ve got some other dietary changes to make. Fewer frozen meals and cutting back on pizza and eating out. I eat a store-bought salad every day at lunch, but now I’m only using one-third of the dressing, which I used to do.
I may have to adopt the diet of Charles Barkley, the former basketball star. When Shaq asked him about the diet he followed to lose weight, he responded, “It’s easy. If it tastes good — spit it out.”
But like I said, baby steps.
Photo by Klaus Nielsen: https://www.pexels.com/photo/cheerful-tattooed-doctor-with-syringe-in-uniform-6303777/