Let them eat cupcakes!

by mantis-philes

Monday I am going to the doctor for the first time in well over a year, maybe even two. Yes, I can hear the coming admonition about doctor’s visits and women “of a certain age”. I know. It hasn’t been because I haven’t had some complaints. For three months or so I have fought a running skirmish with sinus issues that have been cyclically debilitating, a few muscle problems to work through. Nothing serious.

No my absence of medical advice has been primarily due to my current employment situation which is “self-employed” and the saga of the health care portal. I was a bit anxious to expose my healthcare to a system that might pull the rug out just as I was getting to the good stuff. For the record, while the healthcare marketplace website was a debacle of no small order, once I actually got it working it was pretty slick. (To my Obama hating public: I don’t want to hear about it!)

This will be a new doctor for me. I want someone who will look at me and my life holistically. I am going to ask her about her relationships with pharmaceutical companies and other suppliers so I know I will not be subjected to medicines and procedures based upon some quota that sends her to Cozumel for a week.

I am hoping this isn’t going to be like some medical relationships past, one which tried to blame an impending gall bladder explosion on the fact that I just had too much weight pressing on my internal organs. Seriously, that is what is causing your reflux, indigestion, and heartburn, Mrs. Smith. You can pay at the window, next please.

I am a short, round woman. I have commando gardened for long enough that while I look like a cupcake, the cover can be deceiving. This past summer I unloaded and deployed over 250 bags of 3 cubic feet of mulch around my acre of heaven, some totally saturated with water. And that was just part of my gardening season. Am I a little slower with less stamina than in the past. Indeed. There has been too much water under my bridge in the last couple of years for me to retain my past commando crown, but I pull my share.

Four years ago I decided to work with a personal trainer. I was working out at home in addition to my commando time and just wanted to make sure I was not doing anything wrong, causing more problems than I was solving. Before I could even begin, I had to have a sign off by my physician. Check. Then they had to do a physical assessment. Check. I was tested for strength, balance and flexibility. They were astonished at how strong I was, how flexible, how good my balance. Honestly, I had to keep from laughing. I guess it suspends belief that a short round woman can actually be in decent shape.

A couple of months ago I attended a drop in yoga class. I arrive in my baggy ancient sweatshirt and sweats into the spandex and midriff bearing crowd. Oh boy. The young instructor sidles over to me and starts the conversation, “You’re new?” Yes. “What do you hope to gain from coming tonight?” Well, I’ve been doing some yoga at home and want to make sure I am doing it right. “Okay. Well, don’t feel like you have to keep up. If at any time you need sit it out, please feel free. Work at your speed.” Sure, says I with a cheshire grin.

The workout was intense, more so than at home. I have a bum knee from a 15 year old hiking/climbing accident that doesn’t allow certain positions, or at least not easily, so I gingerly worked through those. For the most part, I kept up throughout the whole hour and half. Not bad for a first timer I thought. After class, the instructor sidles up to me and says, “You’re really strong and flexible.” Yeah, I know, I look like a cupcake.

Over New Year’s I accomplished a life goal. I’ve always wanted to see a Mayan ruin. I am totally an archeology geek. If I had one reason to bring back my cable service it would be so I could watch archeology shows on History and Nat Geo. On the Riviera Maya is a lesser known Mayan temple called Ek Balam. Not as touristy, still accessible, indescribably wonderful. And I was able to make the climb. I didn’t climb over a short wall at the top not wanting to subject my knee to potentially more trauma than what I was going to need going down. The height is giddy-inducing. I have a love-hate relationship with heights that sometimes makes me experience a free fall feeling when on the top-side. So I took a few iPhone shots and started down. Yeah, I know. Cupcake.

So Monday is the doctor. I am hopeful that I won’t be compared to a bunch of sanitized statistics managed and massaged by the insurance industry. I don’t desire to live into longevity. Long life doesn’t necessarily mean a good one. I have friends in their 80s and some past 90, and the crowd is evenly divided on how well they view their lives. I want to live well, make my own choices, rattle a few cages. Go down without living in a forest of tubes and monitors and medications. I have already beaten the abysmally poor infant mortality statistics of the modern American health system. I want to have some honesty and dignity in my health care relationship.

Geez, I hope this doctor ain’t a cupcake.

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