If you follow me on Twitter, you might have noticed that I went to the doctor the other day. Apart from very occasional trips to get the baixa/alta when I had flu, and once when I broke a rib, I generally avoid doctors. In fact, this was the first scheduled appointment I've ever had in Spain… the first, certainly, for more than 10 years.
The reason for my appointment was simple enough: my ears are blocked up, to the point where I've lost quite a lot of hearing in one of them. Having assumed that this issue would fix itself, in the way the body generally seems to, I arrived at the point where I could hear nothing in my right ear when I got up in the morning. Not good. So I went online and booked an appointment. Everything was going very smoothly.
Until, that is, the nurse called me in to answer some questions about my health and lifestyle. Physical dimensions baffle me: I never remember how tall I am or how much I weigh. Similarly, I've no idea when I last had a tetanus shot. I told the truth about how much wine and beer I drink, and how many cigarettes I smoke (about 5 or 6 a day, to which the response was "well what's the point, then?"). Then she said she'd take my blood pressure. Ah….
The truth is, I was pretty sure I had high blood pressure anyway. I'd probably been avoiding medical checkups partly because I suspected I'd be told something like this. So, yes, she took my blood pressure and frowned. "Have you had your blood pressure read recently?", she asked. "Not for ten years or so," I replied, "Why? Is it very high?". "Not very. But it's high". She took it again to confirm the first reading. It was the same (I'm so bad at this kind of thing, I have no idea what the reading was). The upshot is that I have to go next week and the week after, to properly confirm the result… not that there's probably any need.
The funny thing is that this coincides with a general feeling since I turned 30 that I probably ought to be taking better care of myself. A tasty sandwich every morning, as much coffee as I could stomach, bread and salt as staples… I knew I'd have to knock all of this on the head sometime. But I hadn't really bothered to do anything until the nurse told me what I already knew. So here's my resolution: less salt and bread, more exercise, healthy cereal or yoghurt for breakfast, bacon and eggs (and any type of fast food) only an occasional treat, pâte, foie and embotits in minuscule quantities, decaff when possible, tea without milk in the morning, etc etc.
My ears can be cured with boric acid and some other drops (and yet another visit to the nurse and her pliers). My blood pressure is something I accept that I should manage better now, rather than suffer from later on. My youth, an age of carelessness, is replaced by a bit of responsibility. The worrying thing is: I'm quite happy about it. There must be something wrong with me.