It is about time for my annual physical exam. Like most of you I go through this every year. I don’t look forward to it but I recognize its importance and its value. A friend of mine from out west once told me that he never went to the doctor for a physical. He said that if there was something wrong with him, he didn’t want to know. May he rest in peace. Would he be alive had he known of his condition? I don’t know but why take a chance. To be forewarned is to be forearmed.
I am a veteran and as such am enrolled in the VA Medical system. They make sure that I know when it is time to come in because their computer tells them and they set me an appointment.
The lab will draw blood for testing and then the nurse will weigh me and take my blood pressure. Then she will ask, are you in any pain? On a scale of one to ten, where is your pain? This is where it starts to get sticky. Like most seventy year old men, I always have some kind of pain. Having never been seventy before, I don’t know how I am supposed to feel. I can remember when I wasn’t in pain but that was years ago. So what is normal? There is no doubt as I have grown older, I have slowed down. My body objects to sudden movement and sometimes any movement at all. It takes a while when I get out of bed in the morning to get everything going again. I guess that is my new normal. I know that feeling little aches and pains beats the alternative, that of feeling nothing at all. Mickey Mantle said on the occasion of his retirement, I still run as hard to first base, I just don’t get there as quick. That pretty much sums up my new normal.
So now I see my Doctor. She has been my Doctor for about six years and has seen me through some ups and downs. The first thing she will do is frown when she sees my weight. She will express concern about my blood sugar and my blood pressure. I believe she sees her job as keeping me alive as long as she can. Good for her. I hope she continues to do her job well. We have the same objective. I’d like to say a brief word here about my care at the St. Cloud VA. It has been superb. They treat me as if I were the only patient they will have all day when I know that there are many, many waiting in the lobby. I am never rushed or kept waiting. One of the reasons I tell you these things is that I know my Doctor reads this column and I don’t want to get her mad at me. Seriously though, the VA has provided me the best of care and I am always amazed at the quality of the care I receive.
I hope and believe that the physical will prove to be a normal exam. I know, however, that someday one of those pesky little tests will come back with an abnormality. I hope that is many years in the future. This physical is a present I give to my body. My body has served me well for these seventy years and I look forward to the next seventy.
How long has it been since you have had a check up? Do you owe your body a present? Do yourself a favor. Make an appointment with your doctor and get an exam. Think of how much better you will feel when you learn that everything is normal.
Ron Scarbro January 16, 2011
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