Doctor, Doctor!


Had the yearly doctor’s visit today with my GP, Dr. Alberto Lopez, MD. He is the second of the grand total of two doctors who have taken care of my general physical well-being for my entire life, having taken over my care upon the death of Dr. James Monroe, who was the last of the great country doctors this part of the world will ever see.

Dr. Lopez was aggravated with me yet again. Just like Dr. Monroe and I always did,Dr. Lopez and I have a running argument going about my weight. I’m 5’9.5″ in my maroon Crocs, but I weigh in at 343 lbs. Apparently, that’s about 143 lbs too much for Dr. Lopez’ comfort. He’s given me blood test after blood test and sent me for stress tests and other lab work for years now.

That’s where the problem comes in . . . nothing’s wrong with me. Nothing. Nada. Zippo. Zed. Zero.

Other than more mental / emotional issues than Carters has liver pills, I am healthy as the proverbial equine. For several years, I had a touch of hypertension that lisinopril twice a day managed, but since I no longer have to deal with crazy school superintendents or bitchy assistant principals, my blood pressure has settled down quite nicely and I only have to take a fourth of the dosage of lisinopril that I was on. My cholesterol is 50 points below the desired threshold and my “good” cholesterol is through the roof. The only spot of concern is my A1C numbers. I’m in the “metabolic syndrome” area of that particular scale of diabeticness, but my numbers have been trending down the last few visits.

All of this drives poor Dr. Lopez barmy.

I’m morbidly obese, I am a sedentary as a boulder on the bottom of the Challenger Deep, and my four main food groups are fried, red meat, chocolate, and ice cream. The most exercise I get is feeding my two outside boys and tossing their ball to them for a bit each day. By any reasonable medical opinion and measure, I should have one foot firmly in the grave and one on a Teflon coated banana peel.

But I don’t.

My arteries are clean. My heart is strong — despite being broken so many times — and my numbers are good. Dr. Lopez says the only explanation he has is genetics. He thinks I must have good genes. That’s what I’ve been trying to tell him for 15 years. The men in my family — especially on Daddy’s side — are vigorously healthy right up to the point where they drop dead of a massive heart attack somewhere between 73 and 78. Up to that point though, they were all the picture of health.

Mama’s side of the family has a much similar story among the men. I have several great-great uncles who lived well into their ninth decades and dear Uncle Monroe was 102 when he died and the week before he passed away he was chasing nurses up and down the halls of his nursing home in his wheel chair. His brother, my great-grandfather Grandpa Bussler, was 90-something when he died — well, technically he was murdered, but that’s a really good story for another time.

The long and the short of it is I come from a long line of men built to last for an allotted amount of time before keeping an appointment with the Reaper and our bodies can handle a lot of whatever makes us happy until that day comes. Understand, PLEASE, that I’m not bragging. I’m very lucky and I know it. However, I also know the truth Hank Williams, Sr put down in song years before I was thought about — “I’ll never get out of this world alive!”

I know there’s a reckoning waiting for me out there in about thirty-five years, if the Lord should tarry and I avoid accidents and jealous husbands — unlike dear Grandpa Bussler — so I’d rather concentrate on living and let dying take care of itself. From what I hear, it doesn’t take a lot of practice. As Edmund Gwenn famously said to his friend George Seaton just before embarking on the journey into the great cloud of unknowing, “Dying? Dying’s easy; now comedy? THAT’S hard.”

Love y’all and keep those feet clean!

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