Yesterday I underwent a three hour medical check up. I am always somewhat apprehensive for two reasons. The first is the conclusion “I’m sure it’s nothing we need worry about, but just to be safe we suggest you have this checked up in hospital. I would go immediately”. Secondly is the inevitable “You really need to make some lifestyle choices.”
In the questionnaire I doubt if anyone answers the alcohol intake truthfully nor the question “How would you spend an extra hour if there were 25 hours in a day?”
As for the check-up, I first underwent various checks: blood, urine, heart, body mass, posture. The conclusions of the physiologist was that I needed to reduce weight. People have been saying this for most of my life but I recall my father, a medical practitioner for over 60 years, saying he is yet to be convinced by the relationship between obesity and cardiac problems. Nonetheless my classification of “morbidly obese” was a bit chilling. Oddly enough the one time I was seriously ill with human flesh disease some 13 years ago my obesity saved me or as I put it “The dreaded bug has bitten off more than it could chew.”
I then spent half an hour with the doctor. She was a lively sort and we soon had a banter going. I told her my definition of an alcoholic was someone who drank more than their doctor. She stuck her finger up my jacksy, felt my balls and generally prodded round for 15 minutes or so, at the end of which she fed various elements into her computer: weight, body mass, blood pressure, address and asked me to guess my likelihood of a heart attack. I guessed it at 75 %. She replied 26%. I could live with that. Given a reduction of the sauce and a more sensible diet, she predicted the risk lowers and I could go on for at least another 15 years. It would certainly feel like it, I replied. To my surprise my vital organs were all functioning satisfactorily, as was my cell count.
In the afternoon I had a surprise visit from a actress and celebrity I had in fact met in a health farm over 30 years ago. She arrived more or less unannounced with a handsome woman who, despite her age, was of considerable beauty. I was not surprised to learn that she was once a model, more astounded that after a couple of hours conversation she revealed she was the wife of John Snow the legendary Sussex and England fast bowler and bit of a rebel who took over 200 Test wickets. I mentioned to her that I was at Lords when he bowled over, rather than at, Sunil Gavaskar. She said the Indian legend actually saw the funny side, though the authorities did not share the joke and Snow was dropped. A most entertaining gossipy conversation took place on my verandah as the sun set over the sea below. I’m sure the doctor will be pleased to note I only had the two small glasses of prosecco and after badoit with my grilled fish.