Sunday, October 22, 2006

Health Update

As my 2 or 3 loyal readers know, I quit smoking recently. I've been completely smoke free for almost 3 months now. Thank you for the polite but subdued "golf tournament clap".

In addition to being smoke free, I've also been trying to eat better in an effort to stop the inevitable weight gain. I'm currently packing around about 25-30 pounds of extranneous XO that has GOT to GO!

A couple of weeks ago, they have this Wellness Fair at work. You go there and they give you apples and perform all sorts of free screenings, hand out pamphlets, you know the drill.

Well, in the past, I would never go to one of those things. Why go and subject myself to more brow-beatings about how I should quit smoking. Blah, blah, blah, heard it all before. If I enjoyed being bitched at I'd still be married. Fuck off.

But since I've taken a turn towards the Healthy Side, I decided what the fuck? Maybe I should establish a benchmark. Find out just how much damage my 30+ years of smoking have done and see what I can do to fix things.

Now mind you, this is an incredibly revolutionary change in my point of view. This would be akin to Dubya waking up and realizing "War on Terror? What the fuck was I thinking? Like someday we are going to kill or capture The Last Hostile Muslim and be able to celebrate Victory Over Terrorism Day? I'm such a fucking idiot! Stoopid, stoopid, stoopid! I never should have quit drinking and snorting coke! I could have saved lives!"

But I digress.

You have to remember that until now, my "retirement plan" was pretty much to die before I got old enough to retire. I got no investments, no plan, nothin'. So if I live long enough to retire, I'm fucked. I'll be greeting people at Walmart instead of laying on a beach with a Trophy Girlfriend sipping fruity umbrella drinks.

The Walmart greeter job will only last a couple of days because I just don't have the fucking temprament for it (surprise, surprise).

"What the fuck are you doing here again, lard-ass? You were just here yesterday? Those 6 bags of Ding Dongs and Ho-Ho's gone already? Bad news; we're going to have to start charging you for the electric cart usage because you've already burned out the motors on three of the sonofabitches hauling your ginormous ass up and down the fucking cookie aisle."

But I digress yet again.

So not only do I pop my Wellness Fair cherry, but I even pony up an extra $18 bucks and make a special appointment for something called a Total Heart Risk Assessment. Apart from the damage I know I've done to my lungs, I was very concerned about my heart as well. So much so that when my daughter, young Galadriel Tanqueray Onassis, was travelling in Australia this past summer I actually started carrying around an In Case Of Emergency card listing her return flight information in case I should just drop dead before she got back.

I wish I was making that up.

I'm imagining that at this Total Heart Risk Assessment, they will have me fill out a questionairre telling them about my smoking, drinking and eating habits. Do I excercise? Very detailed stuff.

Nope. They take my $18 bucks and some blood and I'm done.

For the next few days, my latent hypochondria kicks into overdrive. I start getting chest pains. I'm short of breath. I'm dizzy. My feet hurt. I get a zit. I'm a fucking mess. I have to wait 4 days before I can log onto their website and get the results. I figure when I do, I'll get an error message saying "Account Access Restricted Due To A 99.999% Probability That This Patient Is Already FUCKING DEAD".

Why the pessimism? Not only do I have 30+ years of smoking, but I also don't really exercise much. Unless you consider spanking the monkey to be "aerobic". My "default meal" is meat and potatos. When I don't know what sounds good and can't decide what I want to eat, I'll just throw a well-marbled rib-eye on the grill. Nuke me a big potato and top it off with butter, shredded cheese and some sour cream. Bake me up some nice butterey crescent rolls to go with. Wash it all down with too many glasses of Kentucky's finest, small-batch, sippin' whiskey. Or I'll just cook up a cheeseburger and some fries. I could eat something like that 3-4 nights a week.

So imagine my SHOCK when I log onto the website and see the following test results:

Fasting Glucose: 91 (Normal Range 65-100)
Random Glucose: 96 (Normal Range <140)

Cholesterol: 246 (Normal Range <200)
Triglycerides: 66 (Normal Range <150)
HDL Cholesterol (the good kind): 138 (Normal Range >41)
LDL Cholesterol (the bad kind): 95 (Normal Range 0-99)
Total Cholesterol to HDL Ratio: 1.8 (Normal Range <4.5)

Apparently, I'm just fucking indestructible. I'm like Keith Richards. Both of us should have been dead years ago, yet here we are, still walking the earth while the orginal running/jogging guru Jim Fixx has been dead from a heart attack (which occured while running) for nigh on 22 years.

I rawk!


Spyder said...

Congrats! But it's sooo unfair to me! I don't eat meat ( feel sorry for the hubby), cottage cheese, yogurt, or eggs. I don't drink milk (unless with Tia Maria, or Kahlua). So my cholesterol is from genetics. Thanks Mom & Dad! The hubbie's triglycerides are too high and the Doc told him to control his eating. She should have told him to quit breathing that would have been easier for him.

Xavier Onassis said...

spyder - Both of my ex's suggested on more than one occasion that I should quit breathing.

Guess I won those arguments.

Dan said...

XO - glad to see you're healthy. I'm in the midst of a reconstruction phase for my body, which sucks because I am by nature lazy.

Tony said...

Good news my man. Now if you decide to go running, be sure to pick me up some donuts.

been there said...

I'm impressed with your honesty, XO. The part about the note on picking up your daughter shows real anxiety in that bald head of yours. I know .. I've been there. Well, I'm not bald, just But, you were able to overcome your fear and go ahead and get the tests. I think that's a really big deal as I suffer from the same fears but had to learn my lesson the hard way.

I had that dreaded heart attack. For 2 years I had a pain that came and went in the top part of my stomach. I fooled myself into believing it was my hiatal hernia which I had for years and years. I never went to the doctor. One particular night I woke up and the pain was particularly bad. After drinking half a bottle of peptobismal it went away but the next morning my stool was black as coal. Right then and there I decided I had to go to the ER as I must be bleeding internally.

The ER doctor thought it was a GI situation as well but just to be on the safe side she did a little blood enzyme test and the next thing I knew they were slapping a nitro patch on my chest. The test was borderline but she admitted me for observation. The cardiologist came in, listened to the pumper and said she really thought it was GI too but several hours later I was informed that the tests had come back and shown that I did indeed have a heart attack. By the way pepto turns your stool black folks ..

I had open heart surgery two days later..double bypass...fortunately for me no major heart damage. That was 4 years ago. I go to the doctor regularly now and get pills for blood pressure and cholesterol. My cholesterol was around 200 when I had my heart attack. Today it's 164 and the ratio is good as well.

Since you've gone this far XO, why don't you go ahead and climb Mt. Everest and see a cardio just to be sure. Your cholesterol is a little on the high side. Perhaps it can be brought down with diet and exercise but see what a cardiologist has to say. And, maybe even the dreaded stress test would be good as well.

If all is well after all that, begin to train for the marathon man cause you're indestructable!!!!

Xavier Onassis said...

Tony - You want "glazed" donuts? 'Cause I can arrange that.


Xavier Onassis said...

been there - I imagine I'll be seeing a cardio soon. Especially given my update to the update.

Echele said...

Good for you dude! People might say your cholesterol is on the high side but you have to look at the HDL and the LDL and the ratio and ultimately let your nerdy doc decide.

You are doing awesome and that's what matters!

Oh and hey! If you've gained 25 to 30 lbs in such a short time, your body could be reacting with an increase in pressure, it's not use to that shit - walk everyday for like 30 minutes - I swear, it'll help - it's also your body's natural stress reliever and it releases all kinds of feel good do good shit -

I friend of my just brought down his pressure through eatting and exercise and your pressure isn't horrific.


The 157 (Systolic) is your artery at your hearts fullest pump - thats the most pressure exserted on your artery. That number is important but not as important as the bottom.

95 (Diastolic) is the pressure of your artery when your heart is in a relaxed state - when it isn't exserting pressure on your artery. The higher the number means your arteries are not relaxing or losing the capability to relax or it could be tension and stress or white coat syndrome.

I had a major problem with my pressure a while ago. I knew my norm was 110/55 and I was getting pressures of like 125 or 130 over 80 or 85 and it was wigging me out. I was stressed constantly - my job was tough, I changed jobs - I moved - the day before I moved my pressure was 140/95 and my heart rate was 125 - I had mild chest pain all day b/c I was working a 12 hour shift until midnight - was crazy. This lasted for a good 6 months. Any doctor would have diagnosed me with Hypertension b/c it take 3 times of a high blood pressure for 3 consecutives months or visits.

After all was said and done, I returned to normal.

Xavier Onassis said...

I wish I could blame all of my weight gain on not smoking.

But most of it came before I quit.

Which negated one of my reasons for continuing smoking.

I'm just trying to not only STOP the weight gain, but reverse it.

My bp numbers will probably leave me no choice.

I imagine my doctor is going to take away my alcohol (my last, real vice!), my caffiene, my red meat, my salt, my fried foods...basically everything that makes life worth living.

But not before I have myself a big 'ol bowl of chili with shredded chesse, sour cream and some corn bread on the side, baby!

Gotta go!