January 30th, 2003

abstract butterfly

the picture of health is larger than portrait length

This morning I drove to the doctor's office to get a physical. The traffic was unusually light, and my wait for my appointment was particularly easy. My doctor is a nice fellow, reassuring but not condescending.

When I stepped onto the scales, I discovered that I now weigh far more than I thought I did. Not surprisingly, my blood pressure was also a little high. Since we moved back to Texas, I have been too willing to enjoy fried foods and enchiladas. Now my middle name will once more be pronounced "broccoli". Starting Halloween Day 1995, I got with a nutritionist, lost substantial weight over the next couple of years, and changed the way I eat considerably. It was effective--within a year, I did not miss the "bad" food that much, and natural sugars in food became more apparent to me. Somehow, though, I've slid back into poor dietary and exercise patterns. I don't plan to stay in that groove long, though. It's just not that much trouble to do things the right way.

I don't have a lot of self-esteem baggage about weight, because I'm one of those people who doesn't look really thin when I am really thin, and doesn't look too awful even when I am quite overweight. But I do value my health. Life is short enough without developing weight-related health conditions. Besides, the main remedy--massive exercise--is a welcome one, as this will prompt me to take far more walks and hikes.

As I waited in the "lab" for them to draw a little blood from me, I remembered how deathly frightened I was of shots when I was a kid. My dad had a nurse who was one of those gruff on the outside, heart of gold types who routinely would have to wrestle me onto the table to get a dose of penicillin for a cold. She was wiry, capable, and made it quick and painless (rather a combination of good medical and greco-roman technique) but I cannot forget the sheer terror I felt at the idea of getting shots, and how much I fought against them. Today, the little bit of blood drawn was quick and easy.

Lately, a few relatives on my side of the family have experienced increasingly worse health situations. I don't journal about them beyond the once in a while oblique reference, because I really don't want to invade their privacy. This morning, though, brought an e mail of very much less than welcome news. Is this what getting old will be like? I'm not afraid of aging and dying, so much, but it's hard when relatives are ill. It's just a part of life, though, I know, although saying things like that to myself do not really solve anything.

I notice that I'm slowly getting things like medical and dental appointments, auto repair work and the like done. I hope this productivity extends to a number of minor leisure chores I've been setting aside. Progress is always so incremental for me, that it almost doesn't feel like progress at all.

Speaking of progress, though, I wish to get more work done today.