My goal in life is not to be rich or wealthy
Cause true wealth comes from good health, and wise ways
We got to start taking better care of ourselves, be
Healthy y’all . . .
Dead Prez – Be Healthy
I am a lanky, skinny guy. My metabolism is impressive. I can fully digest food faster than a bolt of lightning, thereby earning myself the title of Metabolic Miki.
Fast and furious is the best way to describe my consumption of food, which is not something I am particularly proud of. I am not shy of salt either, which could have contributed to my recent bout of high blood pressure.
I went to the doctor after noticing that the glands in my arm pits were swollen and painful. Of course, I turned to surfing the Internet to self diagnose my condition, just like a young guy that came into my office a while ago asking about testing for Sexually Transitted Infections (STI). As I told him, and had to have my partner and colleague convince me, getting an appointment with a doctor was and should always be the first step.
This appointment would be the first since my arrival in Antigua, so I was surprised with the results of the visit. “Do you have high blood pressure?”
“No … It was low the last time I had it checked.”
”Hmmm …. well it is high but the doctor will discuss it with you,” the nurse reassured me.
I was happy to learn from the doctor that my glands were swollen because of the use of anti-perspirant deodorant. However, the bad news was that I needed to have this high blood pressure thing checked again.
“What’s my blood pressure?” I asked like I would understand the reading. “150 over 100,” the nurse responded. Two days later it was 140 over 90.
The physician prescribed I go on treatment. I called another doctor because I needed a second opinion, but I would need to wait four days to get an appointment.
His reading was 120 over 84. I breathed easily. The doctor said to cut the sodium and come back in six weeks to have the pressure checked again.
Both the doctors and I were really concerned about a 33-year-old having such a high reading. So my mind went into full speculation mode – aka I was really worrying. Was it because I hadn’t been exercising for as long as one week? Was it because I was under some stress? Maybe it was my poor preparation of the salt fish or red herring?
The Mighty Sparrow says, “salt fish sweeter than meat,” but you better boil the salt out. In my case I was also using fine sea salt, not the coarse sea salt for preparing meals. I don’t have an answer for where the high pressure came from, but it served to remind me that I am not getting younger, and that I need to start seriously looking after my health.
Men can easily neglect their health, illness and pain. In some cases, we can even delay visiting the doctor until it’s too late. Our health is the perfect indicator of one’s true wealth, but in many ways we are most negligent of the bodies that get us through this life of ours.
While I was dealing with my health issues, my good friend and colleague from CariMAN had some surgery done on his cardiovascular system.
He was warned by the doctor to look after his heart’s welfare. Judging by his facebook broadcast, “This time there was a clear warning – few episodes round the Savannah and in the pool, cardiologist cousin concerned re significant blockage (of arteries), surgery scheduled, two scary days spent mostly on my back then angioplasty – new stent successfully inserted, heart pumping away, discharge from the hospital. Thanks to Ronnie and excellent team … and loving family! Quiet weekend. New life. Take care of yourselves.”
He’s heeding the expert advice he received. When we spoke on the phone, we both shared our insights into life and living well. As minor as my problem was, I realise how important it was to have the support of colleagues and my partner, reassuring me that all would be OK.
We all know of at least one man who is living an illusion out there. Some men think that modern medicine can solve any problem, but they ignore that biggest message of medical practitioners, “prevention is better than cure.”
Prevention is about self-discipline, eating a balanced, nutritious diet, taking daily exercise, and most importantly maintaining our mental wellness.
Our minds are constantly polluted with news that is generally irrelevant, but capable of making us just as unhealthy as eating greasy food and few fresh vegetables.
Last week I mentioned that 47 Antiguan men had met back in 2011 to discuss a number of issues, one of them being men’s health. Obesity and prostate cancer were at the top of the list. The men believed that the faith-based approach of living by the example can encourage males to support each other. Male bonding was considered influential to motivating men to seek out health care and service.
The group also suggested that health and wellness forums in churches, community groups, sporting groups and schools were important spaces to reach different boys and men with the message of good health. Sustaining men’s consciousness of their health is the long-term goal.
What is evident now more than ever is that tuning into my body and consulting a professional is no joking matter. I was never very interested in becoming a statistic, so I am making a list of health issues that I want to get addressed more sooner than later. From that niggling pain in my big toe, to the bigger one in my back, I have got to get my body working at an optimum level.
We only have one life to live, so let’s live it to the fullest. Be healthy ya’ll.