“Great”, I exercise every day,” I responded.
Then the doctor looks at my recent blood work on his computer screen and responds, “Excellent. Your blood pressure is perfect. Gold. However, there’s an 18% chance that you’ll have a coronary attack in the next ten years.”
It really didn’t click with me. As soon as I heard that, instead of panicking, (remember I have great blood pressure), I start comparing it to other odds in my life.
Let’s see, there’s a 1 in 13,983,816 that I would win Lotto Max. That’s no good. However, if I flip it around, I could say there a 99.99% chance that I’m going to lose. What about being hit by lightning? 1 in 56,439 chance. Still very broad. According to Babymed.com there’s a 5.6 to 1 chance of me getting pregnant during my monthly ovulation…which the closest to that I’ve come is getting a standing ovation, so that’s no good. Then I convert the 18% of my arteries clogging up into odds, which is about 4.5 to 1 that my heart is going to give out. So if there were 4.5 of Vinces standing in a room, one of us was going to have a heart attack in the next ten years. That’s like playing musical chairs and I always sucked at that. Now I panic!
So Doc says that it’s possible to lower the 18%, being that my cholesterol is 6.9, which apparently is high. I’ve always had high cholesterol. It’s a family thing. Tried the pills for a bit but they made my muscles ache. So I’m doing the diet thing. Going to lose 15 lbs which is kinda ridiculous considering I’m no where near obese. But if I do that then 18% can easily go down to 5% which translates into…If there were 19 Vinces in a room, one would have a heart attack…which still sounds scary, so I better make sure I’m not that one Vince!
When one comes under a health threat, we suddenly become an expert, especially with Google so close. So I go online and start to review my eating habits. First thing, what’s in my fridge? No red meat, only fish and chicken. Lots of salad, no prepared, sugary dressings. Tofu, vegetables, 1% milk, fresh fruit, a bottle of vodka. (Ok, but that’s occasional) No beer, or desserts. Then I turn around and look in the cupboards. The first thing I see is pasta, bags and bags of it. “No, not the pasta! It’s the only lifeline I have to the roots of my heritage!” And it’s white, not whole wheat! I hate whole wheat pasta. Might as well put cardboard through my paper shredder and call it linguine.
I know what my problem is. I eat big portions and much too fast. I need to slow down. Pace eating so that I can allow myself to feel full then I won’t go back for seconds. I also need to eat breakfast and cut out, okay down on, beer and wine.
So now that I have 18% imbedded into my mind, it’s a good thing, especially with a milestone birthday coming up. I pledge to change my habits, cut down on the carbs and quit doing stupid things (like when I discovered a can of real whipping cream from Christmas in my fridge the other day and decided it would make a good snack.) Not a good thing, Martha. Not a good thing at all.