The doctor frowned a bit when I said that I saw it as a relief that I’d spent the last 25 years ‘caning it.’ I took note of her precision symmetrical bob, her perfect nails, her bright eyes and the framed pictures of the two beautiful young clones perched on the windowsill and wondered that perhaps she didn’t know what ‘caning it’ was.
“Do you know what I mean?” I asked.
“I think I do,” she offered.
“Like, the fact that I’ve been so debauched up until now means I’ve just got to be less debauched from now on.”
“That’s right,” she smiled. “You are going to need to make a few lifestyle changes. And I suppose the first of those would be…” she paused and looked at the computer screen, “I suggest you…”
“Stop caning it?”
“Stop caning it, yes. Or at least cut down a bit.”
So, the bad news is, less partying until the early hours; less booze; less pies; less burning the candle at both ends then scraping up the wax to form another candle and setting light to that as well.
The good news is, the fact that I have been doing all that stuff, consistently, over a prolonged period of time means that less is just…less. Not none at all. And at least I have stuff to give up. Some people end up in this condition through no fault of their own. Just bad luck. Or bad genes.
This condition, thanks for asking, is a condition of dangerously high blood pressure, high cholesterol and low functioning thyroid. I had gone to the doctor’s to request a couple of regular standard blood tests for a project I’m working on and came out with a request for half a dozen blood tests, two urine samples and an ECG.
Now, I have to admit I’d have to be a complete idiot not to have known I wasn’t going to skip out of the doctor’s surgery having been told “Everything is fine. Just keep eating the way you eat and drinking the amount you drink and you’ll live to a ripe old age. In fact, you could snack in front of daytime TV more often – it’ll do you good…” And If I’m honest I was kind of hoping for some sort of ‘diagnosis’ – some sort of a something wrong. Not just as a kick up the arse to encourage me to make changes, but I was desperate to be given a reason for this sudden massive weight gain I seemed to have suffered recently. Please, tell me there’s something wrong, doctor. Then it won’t be all my fault. It won’t just be because of all the pies.
Of course, I couldn’t hide my delight when the doctor mentioned ‘under active thyroid’. That was the condition I was hoping for. Bullseye. Now I could look concerned, turn my eyes to the ceiling and say, “Hmmm, yes, I thought there must be a reason for this sudden rapid weight gain. Right, so what shall we do about it doc?” Now I could say to people, “Yes, I have gained a few pounds. Under active thyroid. Not my fault. Terrible condition. Awful.” Of course, it would sound more like “Yesfh. Hmmf nnd few pounds. Unnd acc roid hmf. S’terrible. Hmfawf.” Because I’d have a mouth full of pie.
“It’s all reversible,” my doctor smiled. Sensing I had become a bit upset. Even if it’s what you hoped for it’s still a bit of a worry to find out there is actually something wrong.
“I’ll give you some pamphlets. Cut back all you can in the next few months, then we’ll do all the tests again and see where we’re at. And as you say, the good news is, you can make those changes.”
She made it sound so easy. I thought of my brother and whether he might have similar issues, what with us both sharing the same genes and all. Last time I told him I might have high cholesterol he suggested I try eating granola. But it’s not a gene related issue. And granola is full of sugar isn’t it? I thought about him anyway and that made me tearful. That and the fact that I’d have to stop caning it for a while.
“So, let’s just get you weighed before you go shall we?”
“Er, no. Let’s not.”
There are few places, no, strike that, there are no places that weighing oneself as an overweight person is an enjoyable experience. At the gym (in between hefty workouts); in the bathroom (after squeezing out every last drop of liquid and every last ounce of solids); at a weigh-in (after lying about what you’ve had to eat all week). But the worst, the absolute worst has to be in a doctors surgery. Especially when the doctor is slim and blonde and glowing and healthy looking and really nice and likely to ask me to ‘just pop myself on the scales’. No. Please don’t.
“Just pop yourself on to the scales.”
I go for the knee jerk natural action of kicking off my shoes.
“Don’t worry about your shoes, I’ll make an allowance for those,” she smiles.
I close my eyes and step on the scales. I don’t want to see the dial. I open my eyes. I can’t see the dial. My tummy is in the way.
“What does it say doc?” I don’t actually call her ‘doc’. That’s for comedic purposes. Or it would be, if it were funny.
“Well, what did you weigh last time you weighed yourself?” she asks brightly.
I tell her. I don’t even lie. Then I ask…”has it gone up? Do I weigh more than that now?”
“Well,” she sits back down and starts typing the data in to her computer. “Not unless your shoes weigh two stone.”
They must do. That must be it. Heavy shoes. I hate these shoes. I’m going to throw them straight in to the bin. After I’ve been up Sainsbury’s and bought myself a bag of granola.