Thursday, July 22, 2010
And In the End He'll Always Be A Numbers Guy
And I don't care what Reality thinks. This isn't Reality's blog.
Yesterday, MathMan learned that, despite his best efforts to reduce and manage via diet and exercise, his cholesterol numbers have remained stubbornly high. He is now a card-carrying member of the Zocor Club.
He is ever so pissed about it.
Last year, during his annual check up, his doctor used the dreaded phrase that begins with the words medically and technically and ends with --ese. While the doctor meant well and, like lots of bad people of yore, was merely doing his job, this information and the specific use of that phrase cut MathMan deeply.
In response, he became an exercise machine. He took up running and weight training. He took on a greenish tinge from eating all those salads. He's consumed enough steel cut oats to cleanse the Gulf. Lots of times, when I accuse of him of wasting time on Facebook, he's actually poring over information on realage.com.
The overall results were spectacular. He shed twenty pounds, ran a (something)K race and now has what is commonly-referred to around here as Lisa-like blood pressure. See, I was like a vampire before being a vampire became cool. I have the kind of numbers that spur confused doctors to retake my blood pressure themselves. The midwife who delivered the kids used to hold a mirror under my nose to ensure I was breathing. She didn't care that she couldn't see my reflection. She just wanted to see that silvery glass fog!
So MathMan has some seriously positive items in the "win" column. I'm incredibly proud of him. He looks better, feels better and he's staved off some of the worst aspects of heredity - high blood pressure and heart disease. But genetically, he's been unable to beat the high cholesterol bugaboo.
He hasn't said much about the one thing I know he's thinking even if he doesn't say. You don't live with a person for 537 years without gaining a little insight. Or, if you do, shame on you. Here's a karate chop for being daft and self-involved.
The truth is, MathMan's parents - both of them - passed away before the age of sixty. His father died of a freak aneurysm while he was being hospitalized for something else having to do with a series of heart attacks he had starting in, I believe, his late thirties. Born in the mid-twenties, he'd suffered damage to his heart during a childhood bout of Scarlet Fever.
We don't know what killed MathMan's mother because there was no autopsy performed, but she died in her sleep one night after feeling ill. There are still bad feelings, I think, about the fact that he doesn't know what ultimately killed her. She was both an alcoholic and borderline diabetic. Looking back at the photos taken between 1988 when we married and 1992 when she died, it's clear that she was ill. She lost of a lot of weight and her hair had lost its sheen. Sadly, it was so gradual, she was so stubborn, already a widow and her whole family was pretty wrapped up in their own lives. No one noticed until it was too late.
So I don't think any of this is far from his mind now that MathMan has been given the word - some things can't be dealt with through diet and exercise. As we get on, we are going to have to make little concessions to Big Pharma.
Last evening we made a foray into the grocery store. It took us four and a half hours because MathMan was more like Rain Man. He stopped and pulled random things off the shelves and read their nutritional content. Oreos, potato chips, frozen Skyline Chili, Krispy Kreme Donuts, butter.
He was definitely reassuring himself that by forgoing most of those items, he'd been doing the right thing. Yes indeed, they did have very high numbers. Four hours in, I finally lost my patience.
"Honey, let's go. You don't even eat Scrapple."
"I know, but look at the cholesterol count. Holy shit."
Like that. And then we forgot the stupid cat food on top it.
So now every decision I make about food prep is fraught with suspicion. She's serving cheeseburgers and french fries. She's trying to kill me! She's making meat loaf! She's trying to kill me! She brought home some ice cream from the store. She's trying to kill me!
It's more likely that I'm trying to kill me, but right now his perspective is a little skewed.
Those of you who know me on Facebook might have seen that I'm trying to convince him that we need to drink more red wine, not less. He just rattles his long list of Things You Need to Know About This Medication at me and shakes his head.
"Besides. I'm not going to enable your alcoholism like my father did with my mother's."
Oh. I see how it is now.
Time for me to go fry some bacon.....