Today would be no exception to my rule that men really don’t see a world that has consequences until they are old enough that they see the consequences happening to others their own age, or even to themselves.
I spent part of yesterday evening in the emergency room with my nephew who had finally conceded that three hours worth of rapid heart beat (85-110) and high blood pressure (160/110 as measured at Walmart) was reason enough to see a professional. He is 38 years old and by his own admission, inactive and at 6’3, 250, overweight.
I cut him some slack last night, but today let’s discuss his experience. His self admission of being overweight was actually cutting himself some slack. He knows about body mass index (BMI) as well as I do and he knows that his build puts him solidly in the obesity category. “Overweight” is a way many of us use to gloss over the fact that obesity carries with it a number of potential health issues, only one of which became all to real to him last night.
As we waited for lab results and talked, he admitted that he hadn’t been to a doctor in three years. This is a guy who reads my blog and knows my opinion of guys (yes, including me) and their stupidity about their own health. He confessed that his real concern with the labs that were being worked on was that he would be found to have type 2 diabetes, one of the risks of obesity, a risk he knows about all too well because he is also a life insurance agent who works with diabetics frequently. He admitted that he has had concerns about his blood pressure because of his lifestyle. All that is to say that he was aware that he was probably due for some health problems.
My nephew was no different than my average client laying in the emergency room last night. He knew he has been heading down the wrong road for a while. He knew that, at some point, his lack of attention to his health could hurt him or kill him, yet he did very little to change that direction. He bought a bike that he doesn’t ride. He doesn’t like to walk, so he doesn’t. The only thing last night that set him apart from the average guy is that he went to the ER knowing that he has an adequate amount of life insurance in force.
So, why regular checkups? For my nephew, one good reason would be that he would be hearing from a professional that he was treading on thin ice with obesity, a recipe for disaster. For all of us it could well give us that advantage of an early diagnosis of something that can be serious left undetected. If we flip through life with our immortality shield up, never getting checkups, a heart attack could be how you find out you have heart disease or diabetes. A stroke could be the way we find out about hypertension, the silent killer. Regular checkups are wake up calls that don’t hurt.
Bottom line. Prayers were answered last night and my nephew, with a fresh look at life, should be fine. We should all work harder at being proactive about our health. There are people that would miss us.