Thursday, November 07, 2013

everything on black

I wish I were a betting man. 

No.  That's not right.  What I wish is that I could find someone to take my bets.  Like trivia based on events in the Punic Wars.

And here is why.

I told you yesterday I tried to convince my doctor to bet that I could guess my triglyceride number.  Being a professional, she demurred.  It is a wise woman who knows her limitations.

And I know mine.

First thing yesterday morning, I walked to the laboratory to pick up the results of my blood test.  And because I do not need the PriceWaterhouse accountants to deliver the tally, I opened the envelope on my own.

And the winner of Supporting Actor in a High Number Lifestyle is -- Steve Cotton.  I had guessed my triglyceride number to the digit.  If it had been a year, the fall of Rome would have been a mere 26 years away.  You do the math.

On the brighter side, my cholesterol numbers were disappointingly low.  But my cholesterol has always been an underachiever when it comes to health warnings.

My doctor was not as pleased with my prognostic talent.  "Shocked" seems to be the right word.

And not the Captain Renault "shocked" of "I'm shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here."  Hers was more like the shock of an American worker opening her year-end IRA statement in 2008.

It was the same look many a teacher has given me over the years -- preceding the "We expect more of you" lecture.

So, I was braced.  I could see the Big Three gathering in a thunder cloud above her head.  But I forgot the "This is why high triglycerides are dangerous" lecture.

I have heard it before.  And she was correct to be concerned.  My triglycerides were high enough that I could sell my blood to Pemex to fill its production gap.  My last doctor told me I should not stand near an open flame -- for fear I would go up like an old tire dump.

Hearing alarming news from a female doctor is somewhat reassuring.  The dangers pass by quickly to be replaced by a coda of hope and promise.

Instead of the exercise-weight-diet recitation I was expecting, she prescribed a magic medication (clopidogrel) to reduce my blood fat.  Fast.  She wants a followup blood test in two days.

Whew!  Said I.  That was easy.  Bless the American drug companies.

But she was not done.  My weight?  Not a big deal.  Exercise?  None.  Well, not just yet.  She needs to see some of my test scores decline before I start training for the next Iron Man event.

Good, so far.  But then the third shoe dropped.  Diet.  Food is dearer to me than almost anything else in life.  And thus began the list of don'ts.

No bread.  No tortillas.  No carbohydrates.  No fat.  No eggs.

So, you ask: What's left?  I did.

Well, leafy vegetables.  That is a phrase doctors use thinking they can confuse us into believing we get to eat some form of exotic food, when they are really taking about lettuce.  Or Spinach.  Or cabbage.  Or, in Mexico, nopale.

You can imagine my joy at that news.  I have not eaten a salad as my sole dinner item in years.

I have an easier answer.  I will abandon Melaque's
café society, and return to my wok.  Plenty of stir-fry vegetables with the occasional picking from a chicken carcass.

At one point, I am certain I was told I had a positive test for Dengue antibodies.  Meaning I had been exposed to the virus without suffering any of the nasty symptoms. 

But I was not certain.  So, I asked Beny at the lab to run a test.

It came back negative.  I was a bit disappointed.  That means I am still vulnerable to all four strains of Dengue fever that are transported from human to human through the saliva of
Aedes aegypti -- one of our more common mosquitoes.

That matters because my ankles currently have 20 to 30 bites -- mostly from mosquitoes.  When Dra. Rosa saw the bites, she showed more concern than she showed about my triglycerides.

For good reason.  She told me that Dengue fever is once again making its way through our community.  A young man, stricken with a dose, was leaving her office when I arrived.

Now, there is a bit of irony weaving its way into another sardonic observation.  I have long been convinced that I would be pushed under the heart disease bus.  Now that is is a real possibility, I could just as easily fall prey to a virus and its sidekick vector.

Who says God does not have a sense of humor?

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