Back in the spring of 2010, I got a letter from my doctor saying that he was retiring.
Around this time last year, I stared thinking to myself that I haven't had a physical since then (actually, I think my last physical was in 2009). I might be seriously ill and not know it. This suddenly became a source of considerable stress for me. Still, time constraints are a powerful motivator to keep pushing off seeing the doctor.
Until one Friday night this past August, when I had to drive myself to the emergency room of Marlborough Hospital. (It wasn't as serious as it sounds. It was just one of those things where, something happened and I needed to be seen, it's after hours and hell, I didn't have a doctor anyway.) They prescribed some medication to take and a list of primary care physicians in the area who are accepting new patients.
It's time, I said to myself.
So I called up one of the doctors on the list, and we scheduled an appointment for early November. I told him it's been four or five years since I've had a physical. And, because of my family history of certain conditions (diabetes, heart disease), he scheduled me for two other appointments. Fun. I got my arm shot up with a needle to give a blood sample, and then a few days later got myself hooked up with electrodes and spent about 20 minutes running on a treadmill for an EKG/stress test.
After a battery of tests for blood sugar, cholesterol and bad cholesterol, blood pressure, resting and active heart rate, triglycerides, and other stuff I can't quite think of right now, the end result: as best as the doctors and nurses can tell, I'm in pretty good shape. The only improvement they wanted me to make was to lose some weight (I've lost quite a bit of weight over the past year since joining the gym, and we have a slight disagreement on how much I need to lose, but on the whole I could still stand to lose a few more pounds).
Testing isn't foolproof. They could have missed a terminal disease. Or, no matter how good my health is I could walk outside tomorrow and get hit by a bus. But around this time last year I wasn't happy with the kind of shape I was in, I wanted to do something about it and I've made great strides. There's still some work to be done. But I'm happy with myself.