Mens’ Health

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.

18 thoughts on “Mens’ Health

  1. What’s wrong with having milk in your tea?

    Even whole milk is typically only about 4% fat, semi skimmed is 2%. The are about 250 calories, 10 percent of you daily allowance in a whole pint of semi skimmed, a cup of tea has maybe 20 mils if you take it really milky, that’s about twelve calories per cup of milky tea. Spoil yourself.

    1. Joe, actually the milk is more to do with my ears. I should have made that clearer. The doctor wants me to avoid milk for a couple of weeks to see if that makes any difference to my ears/sinuses.

  2. I wonder why the doctor recommended that. There’s a myth linking milk consumption to mucus production, but it is a myth, as a quick google search will reveal. There have been scientific studies which have demonstrated that there is no link.

    Obviously though, I do have some vested interests in the dairy industry.

    1. I’m glad to hear. Any children to worry about now that you’re getting mentally settled with your own health issues?

      Man, I’m just pulling your leg for good measure.

      But the wish for “salut” was serious.

  3. Glad they cleared up the ear problem. As for the blood pressure, sometimes these shocks remind us the importance to eat and live more healthily which is easily forgotten nowadays. Good luck with it.

  4. What doctor did you go to? I had a blocked ear this summer, actually two blocked ears, and finally had to make an apointment with the Social Security for the first time in ages. The only problem is I had to wait three weeks, but other than that everything went hunky dory. The nurse was a real stunner and she didn’t ask me anything about blood pressures.

    1. Went to my GP, as stipulated on my CatSalut card. Appointment booked online, 3 days wait, and it has all gone very smoothly.

      The nurse is not a stunner. But as Larry David found out in Curb Your Enthusiasm, you don’t necessarily want hot nurses around when your BP/heart rate is being checked.

  5. Tom, as you know I’m quite monotematic, so it might be understandable that I wonder if you will continue your series of questions for a Catalan independentist.

    Count on my understanding if you just cancel the whole idea. Without the fights about that issue this blog is a much happier place.

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