I’m not dying just yet

CTALK By Cito Beltran

Barring an unforeseen fatal accident, there are no indications that I am dying or suffering from a terminal disease. It has come to my attention that there is talk about me having a “Bone problem.” That’s really funny because having a “bone problem” at 60 is par for the course. It’s called degeneration or commonly referred to as part of growing old.

I remember how some people assumed I had a stroke just because I was walking with a cane for a while due to a compressed sciatic nerve. When I opted to lose a lot of weight after my double angioplasty, people kept asking if I was “sick” while others kept telling me I looked sickly and should get back to my original form! Now that I have gained the weight back, my 80-year-old mother keeps telling me “You’re getting fat.” I do know that we will all kick the bucket at some time so I have started to number my days and not assuming that I have many tomorrows, but that does not mean I’m dying.

The only drawback to numbering my days is that I have become pushy in terms of work and deadlines. I now hover and hang around any workplace of concern and make sure things are being done right by the right people. “When ever” or “in a few days” kind of deadlines are no longer acceptable. There is no truth to the saying that you will get more patient as you get older. If we’re really going to be honest about it, most of the elderly people I know are more “impatient” not because they are “Grumpy old farts” but because they know and accept that they don’t have all the time in the world which is probably what gave way to the saying “Youth is wasted on the young” who live on the phrase “Mañana” or “Mamaya Na.”

In any case, the rumor of me having a serious “Bone problem” that spread faster than The Plague gives me a springboard for my original topic that I meant to title: “False Negative.”

Most people relate to or know about false positive reports as in false alarms particularly of a medical nature such as a false pregnancy. But the False Negative I’m referring to is that false sense of well being or confidence people have after their annual medical exams show their numbers to be normal especially in the standard CBC or Complete Blood works. Never mind the fact that they are overweight, drinking too much alcohol or sugar spiked sodas and juices, ignore the one or two packs a day cigarette addiction and yes they hardly get four hours of sleep but they defensively say “I power nap” whenever I can.

Why am I writing about it? For starters, I just observed the passing of four friends/acquaintances in less than a month. Three out of four were convinced that they were young or strong, their medical tests were normal or merely indicated a need for lifestyle management and there were no serious indicators or flags to tell them they would promptly die. Well they are all dead now!

Don’t try to talk your doctor out of putting you through a thorough check up even an Angiogram and the likes. If you have the time and the cash and your doctor allows you, go ahead and opt for a “precautionary screening” such as a stress test on the thread mill because some doctors are so conservative in their protocol that you could be at risk of missing a red flag. Don’t fret about the cause or inconvenience because dying will be far more costly and inconvenient for the family and friends you leave behind. A former official of the Department of Transportation should still be alive now if she did not evade an angiogram procedure at the very last minute when they were about to bring her to the operating room.

A friend of mine went for his annual physical and he was obviously not in the best shape. But because he had a reputation for being hard headed, argumentative and tended to self medicate, I suspect that his good doctor gave him the choice to “elect” for a procedure by undergoing an angioplasty or change his lifestyle. That makes no sense to me. The patient was responsible for creating or causing the medical condition he had. Why give him a choice on a matter with very serious and possibly fatal consequences especially if the patient had medical coverage and clearly rich enough to afford the procedure.

Given the choice, my friend actually convinced his doctor he would be a good patient. He has been very good lately, while patiently waiting for the rest of his gang to join him in heaven. An associate of mine is now visually impaired and paralyzed after a heart attack that he mistook for asthma. I could have gone that way except I listened to the suggestion of the pulmonologist to see a cardiologist. That saved me from an impending heart attack. The latest casualty I heard was a young and talented cardiologist who failed to listen to his own advice and probably missed or ignored serious stress indicators resulting in a one time big time massive stroke.

I recently opted for a stress test and complete blood works and I had really good scores. But every time I take off my shirt and stand before a mirror, I get POSITIVE indicators that I am OVERWEIGHT. Some people don’t even have to strip down before a mirror; they are fat on sight. Most people don’t have a bone problem, some are not even overweight, what kills them is denial and avoidance and convincing themselves they’re fine. That will kill you.

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Email: utalk2ctalk@gmail.com

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