A look back to the beginning....
I really hate sterotypes. But then again there would be no stereotypes without stereotypical behavior, so I guess I am guilty as charged. In regards to my health and Doctors, I have proven to be the very stereotypical male. Doctors were for broken bones or sucking chest wounds. Well, earlier this year I was proven wrong in this regard.
So it's late February here in Western PA and typically gray and blustery. I am on my way home on about an hour commute. I notice that I am feeling a dull but constant pain in the back of my left shoulder and a little numbness in my left forearm. With the exception of some infrequent sinus congestions/head colds, I tend to have been pretty healthy over my fifty two years. Last summer I had thought that I could lose some weight as 226 was a little soft and flabby for my 5 foot 11 frame.
That turned out to be a pretty easy task and I was pleasantly surprised. It was all about my diet and just a slight adjustment at that. My job as a field service technician for a photofinishing equipment manufacturer has me in my car 10-12 hours. I did not know how to eat if it wasn't out of styrofoam from the dollar menu, steering with my knees, talking on my cellphone, on the way to the next call. (Actually that behavior would be strictly against Company policy, but I have seen it on the highway)
I made the simple lifestyle change of avoiding the fast food drive in window at all costs. Double cheeseburgers from Mickey D's were replaced with turkey wraps with all the veggies and none of the dressings. No salt, thank you very much. Deep Fried anything? I'll pass. Coke? How about a water or some OJ.
I never got on a scale over the next few months but that 38" waistband was showing the changes pretty well. About two months into my little effort I finally check my weight. I had gone from 226 down to just about 200 even. Wow! That WAS pretty easy....
But something about this pain in my shoulder was different. Wasn't this the classic sign of a heart attack? But this has been going on for an hour or more...should I not have gotten worse, or WORSE???
I had to get a new Primary Care Physician as my previous three over the past five years or so had either moved, retired, or quit medicine completely. I found a good ole fashion family doctor in a nearby town that was the fourth generation in his "Family" practice. I was able to get in to see him on his "Wild, Wacky, Walk in Wednesdays".
Called into his office, he looked up from behind his desk as I walked in and said, "I want you to take a low dose aspirin everyday...it'll keep you from having a stroke or heart attack."
I replied "Hi Doctor, my name is Mark.....do I look that bad?"
He laughed and said "No, but you are a married, working white male over the age of 50...you haven't got a chance..."
He took my BP and it was about 150/95, about 30 pts higher than normal... He checked my shoulder and said that it felt like I may have some arthritis in my shoulder and it felt somewhat loose. As far as the potential heart issue he said that he would take some blood and check the numbers but he wanted me to cut back on coffee and try to lessen the cigarettes. He prescribed an anti-inflammatory and asked me to come back in two weeks.
My return found my BP back down to around 125/78. All of my bloodwork was good with low cholesterol, no bad prostate numbers, no diabetes threat....all those delightful things men over 50 should watch.