Friday, October 23, 2015

Blood Work

I didn't know the difference between triglycerides and tricuspid valve regurgitation until I looked them up and learned they are vaguely related if you eat too many potato chips and cause your heart ventricles to leak.

CBC is for Complete Blood Count? The only three-letter abbreviations I am aware of are NFL, NHL and NBA. And I thought all cholesterol was bad; I didn't know there was a good-cop, bad-cop version of the stuff.

Needless to say, I'm not the most savvy person on my own health. I roll APBA games most of the time. How strenuous is that? If I can wake up, drive to work, head home after the appropriate 8-hour shift and be able to work a remote control, then I'm fit as a fiddle. Never mind if I'm as big as a base fiddle, or as out of tune, metaphorically, as a Friday night fiddle at country jamboree that features flashing neon advertising.

So, when my doctor asked me to do my yearly blood work a while ago, I ignored it. And, to be honest “a while ago” was about two years ago. I seem to have a habit of procrastination. Once, the doctor refused to give me a refill for pain medication until I walked over to the lab and had blood drawn immediately.

I returned to see him recently about some sinus infection I was dealing with and he asked again about my blood work. “I'll get to it,” I replied, filing the request in the recesses of my recall where I keep things like remembering to buy bathroom supplies, getting a hair cut and sitting through oil changes at the garage on Saturday mornings. Necessary, but not enjoyable.

But then life happened. I met someone recently who restored the feeling of my really being loved and cared for and, for the first time in a decade, I felt reciprocating emotions (see Leaving the Swamp, Oct. 6, 2015 ) It's hard being motivated to do something on your own, when your only reward is self-satisfaction. It's much easier when you can envision a bright future with the person helping and encouraging you. She has been a major influence on me.

She asked me to stay healthy and be around a long while so we could continue growing in this relationship together. Guys, if you're not motivated by that, you may skip the doctor visit and head directly to the mortician.

She suggested on a Wednesday night that I think about checking all the blood work and doing the yearly thing, albeit two years later than I should have. On Thursday morning — less than 10 hours after the initial request — I went to the clinic. Motivation, I tell you.

I was greeted in the lab by a tech who handed me a small cup and pointed to a bathroom. I had forgotten I was to provide another sample and, like any good traveler, had gone just before I left. But, gee whiz, they needed thee whiz.

I won't get into too many details here, but providing a sample is not the easiest thing in the world to do. And the bathroom door lock was broken. So, I did the deed; one foot on the door to keep it closed, the other in some spread stance to provide some semblance of balance. I didn't want someone barging in on me while I looked like I was doing a yoga maneuver. Urinating Dragon? Tilted Bass Fiddle?

Since I had already given my sample earlier to the city's wastewater system, the process was slow. Add to it that I was going to write for the newspaper I work for a story that day about a rapidly growing drought in the state, and it was tough. I began thinking of Niagara Falls; rainy days; and TLC singing “Waterfalls," in which Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes urges us not to chase waterfalls, but instead stay with rivers and lakes.

When I left the bathroom, I made some joke about “needing another beer or two” to give them a decent sample. It wasn't funny. The techs looked at me as if I dropped the sample jar on their shoes.

I then went to the section where they suctioned the blood out. I took a photograph of the needle in my arm and the blood draining into vials and later sent it to my motivator as proof that I did, indeed, follow her urgings. The tech took four small vials of my blood, taped a bandage on my arm and sent me on my way.

It took all of about 30 minutes. Now I'm waiting for the results. I am sure they will be better than previous tests. I have reduced those pesky triglycerides by quitting potato chips and other starchy things and I've not noticed any valve regurgitation of late. This girl may be a life-saver. At least, I'll be able to roll the APBA dice with more confidence that I am well, as soon as I get this bandage off my arm and my back muscles heal from that yoga workout.

No comments:

Post a Comment