Most of my family members, including myself, and my friends have their annual physicals during the last two months of the year, the holiday months.
My doctor, looking through her bifocals and scanning the screen of her little handheld computer, said, “Well, the bad news is that your cholesterol has climbed again.”
I levitated from my chair. “That is not possible! I eat no meat, no butter and drink soy milk!”
Unperturbed, she said, “Well, it has. Blame your parents.”
At home I fired off an email to my brother, “Are you on cholesterol medicine?”
“Yes,” he replied.
My brother brags on his cholesterol levels. That’s what you brag on at our age — how good your blood is doing, or how well your knee replacement went or when you’re getting your second cataract surgery. It’s like competitive health reporting.
I was fuming inside. It’s doesn’t count, bragging on cholesterol levels if you’re on drugs. For Pete’s sake, anyone can win the discus throw if they’re on steroids!
At least I wasn’t on meds yet, so I tore through the pantry checking labels and trying to figure out what I was supposed to be looking at and what I could or couldn’t eat.
Some items had no cholesterol but had saturated fats; some had polyunsaturated fat and monounsaturated fat but no cholesterol. The Fruit & Grain bars had no cholesterol, .5g of saturated fats, no trans fats but 2.5 grams of total fat. Now figure that out.
Sam came home from his doctor’s appointment with virtually the same report, adding a little weight gain. He said, “I guess I thought since I was walking I could eat anything I wanted; so I did.”
I sent an email to my dietitian friend questioning all this cholesterol stuff.
She replied, “It’s all very complicated. Just eat healthy, exercise and thank your parents.” Basically what the doctor said.
Shirley, my walking partner, got the same report. “Better cholesterol count than last year but not as good as two years ago.”
It’s starting to feel like pulling the lever on a slot machine. “Two apples, no banana.”
A lifelong member of Weight Watchers, Shirley went to a meeting to find out about the new program. She said they recommended eliminating processed foods, and they cut way back on treats. Looks like Shirley and the rest of us are going to celebrate Christmas with “Cutie” oranges and seedless grapes.
My sister-in-law texted her report. She’s been balancing on the diabetes beam for a few years, then found out she had fallen over into the diabetic-needing-medicine side. Her words were, “Diabetes … on meds, no more candy/sugar. Cold turkey!”
She seemed a little depressed to get the news so close to Christmas. Bardwells were born loving sugar. It might have been a little more palatable to have gotten the news in January.
The brother-in-law reports that he can’t have salt. Well, who gives a fig about salt when Christmas morning your stocking is filled with oranges and grapes.
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