Geri-Antics: The doctor is in

Published 12:00 pm Friday, May 12, 2023

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By Anne Carmichael


As I devoured a nutritious spinach and beet salad, I decided the time had come to update my resume.

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For the past ten years, when anyone inquired as to my profession, I’ve replied “Writer”; and while I’m still pecking along in that pursuit, I’ve decided that since the dawn of 2023, my resume might be more accurate were I to add “Dietician, Diabetes Researcher, and Cardiac Specialist.”

No, I haven’t returned to college to work toward a medical degree. It’s just that since landing in the hospital in January of this year with what was purported to be a mild, symptomless heart attack, I’ve found it necessary to spend the majority of my time on the internet researching the myriad of maladies that seem to be cropping up at a perplexing rate.

I am determined to get healthy and to put to rest any inference that I might be diabetic, have a heart condition or that I am chronically out of shape and overweight.

I’ve fought the Battle of the Bulge my entire life.

While I am adopted, I had the good fortune to get to know my biological family on both the maternal and paternal sides, and in all honesty, I have yet to meet a single family member with my propensity for gaining weight simply by looking at a photograph of food.

In my defense, I was unintentionally taught from the time I was an infant that food equals security and comfort; and I seem to require a great deal of both.

So, during those two and a half days in January when my blood sugar, blood pressure and heart decided to manifest highs and lows the likes of which my aging body had never known, I committed mind, body, and soul to what I have dubbed “The Fear of God Diet & Health Plan.” I have not waivered from the new regime for three months.

But Mother Nature seems not content to allow me to exercise my usual strong will and determination to meet my goals. She keeps throwing gauntlets in my path that require me to perform a fair amount of due diligence to resolve.

Well, dear Mother, I am up for the challenge Babe, but you’re not making it easy!

Thus far, I have learned how to calculate and juggle macros (protein, carbohydrates, sugars and fats) to trick my body into believing it should no longer look to carbs for energy. I’ve not so gently coaxed my system into consuming the fat I have carefully stored in every pore of my being for the past 72 years.

Oh, there has been rebellion. Every cell has protested with headaches, nausea, muscle cramps, and heart palpitations. However, when I failed to relent to my old way of eating, my body finally got the memo. More than 25 pounds acquiesced to the new regime in just two months.

Learning the finicky and often mysterious diabetes management protocol was more difficult. I’m still scratching my head and seeking advice from Google, Alexa, my doctor, and my healthcare professional daughter.

I must be doing something right because, at my recent Medicare Wellness Visit, my lab work revealed that my efforts to lower my A1C (the acronym for the blood test that measures blood sugar) had dropped from 8.5 to 6.1. Likewise, my previously high cholesterol is teetering very near the normal range.

I prepared to kick back, continue toward my 50lb weight loss goal, and look forward to living happily ever after.

Then I forgot to duck as another curve ball came speeding towards me last week.

If you ever are asked if you’d be interested in experiencing the norovirus, run. Do not pass go.

You’ve undoubtedly heard the term norovirus in connection with viral epidemics on cruise ships. When passengers contract one of the noroviruses, it spreads throughout the crew and passengers. Often the ship must be quarantined for days or weeks, after which every surface must be sanitized and disinfected.

When such a virus (aka stomach bug) infiltrates a community, it can close schools and workplaces and make life a living hell.

Always looking for the silver lining, I lost another 8 pounds during the siege, but keeping my insulin levels from rising and falling has been a challenge going forward.

Again, Mother Nature, I am not defeated.

My dearest dears, if you too are firmly ensconced in the Geri-Antic segment of society and faced with challenges we never dreamt could happen to us, hold onto the brass ring on the merry-go-round with all your might.

Set lofty goals. Shoot for having your photo on a Smucker’s jam jar as a centenarian. No matter what obstacles in your path, resolve to overcome and persevere.

We are the last of the greatest generation. Leave your mark for future generations to aspire to and emulate.