WILSON: I went to the doctor the other day

I went to the doctor the other day ­— and when I say “the other day,” I am talking about seven months ago. I did not see the doctor because of traumatic injuries from an automobile accident, the unrelenting and tortuous itch of poison ivy. Instead, I went to see a doctor because I had recently retired and several of my friends and loved-ones (along with Medicare red-tape) were jumping all over my case about finding a primary care physician.

In the previous several decades, like so many of my male brethren, I only saw a doctor under dire circumstances — specifically, the two aforementioned situations. “Now that you are getting older, you should be seeing a doctor on a regular basis,” well-intentioned (but kinda’ bossy) friends and family kept saying. Instead of going to the doctor because something was wrong with me, I was being forced into medical obedience due to a birthday!

I felt fine – except for two episodes back in the spring. I couldn’t get out of bed, felt physically spent, and any movement required more effort than it was worth. However, the next day (or, maybe, two), I was absolutely fine (for the most part). A week later, it happened again, and my loved-ones intensified their efforts to get me into a doctor’s office and submit to a 50,000-mile tune-up. I begrudgingly did a quick search of primary-care physicians in my network, and made an appointment with the first doctor accepting new patients.

Two days later, I got bit by the wanderlust bug, cancelled my appointment, and pointed my pretty red truck down the Natchez Trace. That didn’t set too well with the aforementioned loved-ones, but it sure made me feel good. My kind of medicine.

Fast-forward a few weeks and I am finally sitting in a doctor’s examination room. My height, weight and blood pressure had been duly noted, and I was prepared to get my tires rotated, fluids flushed and exhaust inspected. A young whipper-snapper came into the room, introduced himself, and told me that he would give me a thorough exam and suggest whatever course of action might be applicable. What I did with that information was up to me. He wasn’t going to be my babysitter.

I liked this guy. He spoke my language.

I explained about the two episodes. He said, “Hmmmmm…” (which I assumed meant, “I just found my next boat payment”), and took my blood pressure for a second time. Words like systolic and diastolic meant nothing to me. Numbers like 220/110 were equally meaningless. But when I was told my blood pressure was higher than Freddie the Stoner, I got the message.

That day, I joined the fraternity of folks that are committed to taking a cocktail of Losartan, Amlodipine, Metoprolol Succinate, Atorvastatin, and Eliquis for the rest of their days. I was perfectly fine before I saw that ding-danged doctor. Sure, I had aches and pains, experienced a few off days. But, all-in-all, I felt better than most guys acted. These days, I gobble up a bucket-full of blood-pressure medications, haven’t been through a fast-food drive-thru in six months, and have lost 12 pounds. Other than that, I’m fine.

The up side is I am sitting here, today, writing this essay. If it had not been for those meddlesome loved-ones and Dougie Houser’s older brother refusing to be my babysitter, that might not have been the case. Thanks, everyone – it’s really great to be here.

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