Welcome to Big Old Goofy World . . . a place where I can share my thoughts, hopes, and dreams about this rock that we live on and call home.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Better Living

At times I have been known to procrastinate.  At the start of June I had a few health check and blood analysis done through the university where I work.  I got the results back by mid-June.  There were some red flags in the results concerning my health.  I was a little concerned, but I did not panic as the results basically stated that I would live.  About a week ago I finally went to my doctor to go over the results, discuss the red flags, and see what his recommendations would be.  Nothing like dealing with issues as they arise . . . a month and a half later!  Hey!  If I wasn’t dying, what was the rush!

Primarily there were two issues—thyroid and cholesterol.  The thyroid (which I have been on medication for a couple of years) was low and not working as well as it should.  The cholesterol—which I learned there are three reading for—was high in the two “bad” readings and low in the one “good” reading.  The company that did the blood tests basically highlighted these in bright red, described the worse possible scenario, and scared the bejeebers out of me.  Again, there was no mention of dying, so why rush?  Besides who wants to go to see their doctor only to hear “bad news”?  Not me!

Knowing that my doctor was going to probably recommend some drastic life style changes I decided to take the offensive.  I prepared my case: “Yeah, Doc, I know I need to lose some weight.  I need to exercise more.  Take better care of myself.  Eat better.  Sleep a little bit more. Yada, yada, yada.”  I wanted to beat the doctor to the punch, but . . . you know what?  It didn’t happen.  Doc did an end around on me and caught me completely off guard.  He told me that it wouldn’t hurt for me to lose a little weight, but that I was still well within my limits.  Told me that it never hurts to exercise.  Stated that I was taking pretty good care of myself and getting plenty of sleep.  Even stated that the wife was doing an excellent job with our eating—the right balance of everything.  Not a single condemnation towards diet and exercise hell.  I was shocked.  I wasted a good speech.

Years ago I somehow burned out my thyroid.  At that point a doctor prescribed medication to jump start it.  For several years I took the medication and did not feel that anything had changed . . . so I stopped taking the medication.  Felt fine . . . in fact, felt better not taking it than I have since I have resumed taking.  Yeah, I went back on it when I moved to Montana, took one of those health screenings at the university, and discovered—surprise, surprise—that my thyroid was working and my cholesterol was all screwy.  At that point my present doctor decided that my getting back on thyroid medication and getting that regulated my cholesterol problems would go away since they were basically border line at the time.  That was about a year ago . . .

. . . guess what!  It didn’t work!  The thyroid still was not quite up to snuff and the cholesterol numbers went up to a point that they actually concerned the doctor.  Assuring me that, yes, losing weight, eating right (meaning low fat and cholesterol foods), and exercising would probably lower the two bad cholesterol numbers and raise the one good number, he didn’t think it would be enough.  He did not think that it would make enough of a significant change despite my best efforts.  Then he recommended Lipitor—the number one selling legal drug in the world.  He said this would begin to show results in no time.  The option was mine he said.  In the meantime he raised the thyroid medication to turn up the old metabolism flame.

One of the reason I quit taking the thyroid medication in the first place is because I don’t like to take medicine of any type.  The other reason is that I couldn’t see or feel any major differences.  Since going back on the stuff I have seen all sorts of changes in my body—most of which I don’t like.  I liked the way I felt pre-medication, now it seems that I have body functions and parts working that I didn’t know even existed.  Doc assured me that that was a sign that the medication is working . . . except for getting rid of the cholesterol issues.  Which brought us back to the decision he was waiting for me to make . . . better living through chemistry or keep on at the same rate and let nature run its course.  He reminded me, that at my age, nature would win out sooner than later.  But, hey!  It was still my choice!

So, I jumped into the chemical pool.  For a week now I have been taking increased medication for the thyroid and a generic brand of Lipitor.  The thyroid medication has no real side effects that I can discern, but the generic Lipitor had a few surprises for me.  One, which it was stated could happen, is stomach discomfort.  This isn’t so bad—I just feel hungry all the time.  When attempting to lose weight, one should not feel hungry all the time because it has the tendency to make one want to eat.  When one eats, one gains weight.  So I drink a lot of water.  Water fakes the stomach out, except that my stomach isn’t stupid . . . it wants real food.  I imagine that in time this will disappear into the background.

Another issue is that since I started taking the generic Lipitor . . . I wake up at 3:30AM every morning—like clockwork.  I feel like one of those cartoon characters whose eyes pop open and bright lights shine up at the ceiling.  Every morning at 3:30AM I am awake.  It takes me fifteen minutes to get back to sleep . . . that is only an hour before I normally get up.  This disruption in my sleep then makes me sleepy at work.  I have become a nodder at work . . . of which I disguise by saying “Amen” whenever I get caught at the desk nodding.  Everyone at work just thinks I am super religious and pray a lot.

Lastly, it was stated that it would have an effect on my body’s plumbing.  Mainly the issue was that since the medication effects the liver that my urine might change.  I never realized that urine could change, but the doctor said it could happen.  It has added color to this otherwise colorless task—literally.  Looks like I have drank a case of Mountain Dew and I can’t stand the stuff!

Basically the issues are not that bad.  I honestly don’t feel that much difference than prior to adding this additional medication.  In another five weeks I get my first blood test and will supposedly see the changes . . . which both Doc and I hope are for the better.  For the time being I take two little pills a day—one in the morning, one in the evening.  This is probably the biggest hassle of all.  As I am getting older I am getting more forgetful—especially with the tininess of the two pills.  I just forget!  Now if the pills had been the size of a jelly bean I might be more apt to remember . . . in the meantime I scramble to remember.  So far, so good.

This is what they call better living through chemistry.  This is supposed to make my life better.  Two little pills a day . . . I don’t know, but we will see.  The alternatives are not so great—especially now with one grand-daughter and another on the way.  I’d like to be around for a while to enjoy them and the ones yet to come.  The time has come to quit procrastinating and taking this living stuff serious.  A good diet, a little exercise, and two little pills—who would have ever imagined . . . until now, not me.  But if this works I will be a new convert!

No comments: