Wednesday, January 05, 2011


Today I went to see the doctor and get my test results back. This wasn't for anything intimidating or scary; I'd just finally got round to taking the annual free health check that my company pays for all its employees in Hong Kong.

They ran an awful lot of tests when I went to the medical centre in December; ECG, X-ray, blood, urine, a stool sample, a rather lax vision test, and weighing me. I wasn't quite sure what they were going to find. I also hadn't been sure how you go about providing a stool sample: for the days beforehand I'd been racking my brains about how to transport a bag of crap to work, but it's rather more prosaic than that. You get a plastic jar with a spoon in it, shaped a bit like the ones you find in small-but-expensive tubs of ice-cream at the theatre, and then get to scoop some matter out of the lavatory bowl when you find it convenient.

Mine is 'pasty', apparently. I knew I was pale and weak looking, but it's a bit much when they disparage your waste products in a medical report.

Otherwise, most things were working as intended: I have a liver, I have kidneys, I have ribs (as the X-ray demonstrates quite clearly) and they even got my height correct. But then the doctor got on to my cholesterol levels, which are sky-high - well above the threshold for being risky. I knew I was getting a bit chubby after Christmas, but this was ridiculous. By the sounds of it, my veins ran with purest cheese. Perhaps that diet of burgers and total avoidance of exercise for the last 6 weeks wasn't such a good idea after all.

I was rather upset at the idea of being full of cholesterol. I'm not sure why that should be: apparently all I have to do is gobble statins (for possibly the rest of my life) and the level will go back down, and as a side benefit I won't keel over from a stroke or heart attack prematurely, but I suppose the thought of having to be pharmacologically enhanced for the rest of my life is a reminder that I'm gradually approaching sensecence, and that it's not so much the cheesiness of my body that is the problem, as the reminder that I'm not young and carefree any more.

And whether that's rational or not, irrational worries about not being eighteen years old any more are hard to deal with evidence. Instead, I decided to not eat any more fat today, in the hope that a single day of not eating fatty things will miraculously make my HDL divide in half and vanish.

With this command of medicine, I should surely get a Nobel Prize (although as I'm living in Hong Kong, probably it will never get delivered).

I also walked up the stairs to the flat twice this evening, once to drop off a bag of hummus, and once after I'd walked back down stairs to buy some apples. So at least there's some good coming of the lift being broken. Of course, if that goes on for much longer I'll probably give up walking up the stairs and just sit on the floor outside, weeping and drinking fortified wine, and I don't think much good will come of that.

But anyway, I can't get depressed. I've got "I've A Horse Outside" by the Rubberbandits on constant repeat on my ipod, and when that happens, nothing feels that awful after all.


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