Thursday July 6, 2006
“You’ve nothing to worry about, John. These results are excellent. You’re in great shape.”
“Right, Andrew. Thank you. I shall go away and stop wasting your time.”
Except I didn’t, of course. When you meet up after three years with the only doctor you’ve ever known that you trust completely, and like, and who likes you in return, catch up time is plucked out of thin air. We both of us regret that my return to the Williton practice will be of limited duration and that, sooner rather than later, I shall have to shift to some other doctor, in Bridgwater.
All too soon, though, my appointment slot with Andrew was done and I stalked out into the blessedly cool, rain-washed air in Williton feeling pretty good with myself. My cholesterol count is down to a steady 4.1 from a high of 7.8 back in 2001, my blood test results are good, my blood oxygen levels and pulse readings are excellent. Life is good.
See, as I discussed with him, the visible, tangible things, you can cope with them. Arthritic pain is a tangible, as are the limits it places on your mobility. Body weight is a tangible, too. The scales don’t lie and you can see the problem in the mirror. But you can deal with these things, and learn to live with them. In a way, if you adopt a positive attitude towards them, they are like old friends, always there, not always comfortable companions but familiarity can make them part of a good, worthwhile life.
Things like cholesterol levels, and blood readings, though, are invisible. You can’t see ’em, and you can’t feel ’em. All you can do is follow the advice of the medics and, periodically, submit to tests that will, with luck, tell you how you’re doing.
I can’t honestly say that in the three years since I last consulted Andrew I’ve encountered a bad medic. Somehow, though, they don’t seem to have communicated the case with me the way he does. I’ve missed the way he looks me straight in the eye and tells me the way things are with me. I believe him. I trusted him when he said that things were bad, and I trust him now, when he tells me that I’m doing fine. I doubt he’ll ever read this but I’m not bothered about that. I think he knows.
So, after a side-trip to the bank, I jumped back in the car and took myself off to the new house in Bridgwater.
For the first time since we bought the place, it smells right. Clean, airy, and with that familiar aroma of honest cleanliness that says home to me. I sat down with a mug of coffee to do my daily journal upload, packed the laptop back in its bag with a promise that, very soon now, it’ll be connected to the Internet properly, with a new, even faster broadband link, and returned to my interrupted task of preparing the study for repainting. I worked my way happily enough along the first wall, stripping the paper border that divides the lurid blue of the upper two thirds from the even more lurid blue of the lower third.
Then I sat back on my haunches, and came to realise that I was feeling a little hot and bothered. When I stood up I felt just a little dizzy so I went back into the kitchen where I had my lunch while listening to a little Mozart on the radio.
Although it was nowhere near as hot as it had been, the sun had burned through, and it was too hot for me once more.
So, sensibly but with considerable regret, I called it a day. I’m not fully back to strength yet and I know full well that if I over-do it I shall regret my foolishness.
I drove back to West Quantoxhead and down to the caravan floating happily on a cloud of contentment. My medical condition is good. I’ve restarted the project. And, above all, I feel pretty good in myself.
I’m managing. I’m surviving. I’m enjoying life. And you can’t say better than that.