Body maintenance: My car gets a checkup, so why shouldn’t I?

January 2017 Posted in Columnists & Opinion

carl-sampsonI try to take good care of my car. Every 3,000 miles or so I have the oil changed. I used to do it myself, but I find crawling under a car is less inviting as a I slip past the cool side of 60-something.

So I take the car and my wife’s to the dealer, whose experts change the oil and scout other oddities that need fixing. Taking good care of our cars has paid off in a big way. Nearly every car we’ve owned since we got married has lasted 200,000 or more miles. A couple lasted more than 300,000 miles and are still rolling.

Recently, the starter in my car began making a funny noise. I described it over the phone to the service representative. “It does this,” I said. “Rrr, rrr, rrr — then it goes ah, naa, naa, naa.”

With that expert description, she asked me to bring the car in. They fixed it and I was on my way.

As I did that, it occurred to me that I take a certain amount of pride in keeping up our cars, but I totally ignore my most important “vehicle” — my body. The last physical I had was 12 years ago, even though under Obamacare and my insurance plan an annual check-up is already paid for.

It occurred to me that this was crazy. I’ll admit I’m prone to doing crazy stuff, like the time I decided to become a stockbroker and worked for the most evil company ever. I think the CEO was Darth Vader. I mean, this company actually rented its employees the computers they needed to do their work, an inspired but totally bonkers way to do business.

I survived that, but I learned my lesson: minimize the crazy in my life.

I decided to get a check-up, this time for me, not my car. I sorted through the list of doctors that I found affiliated with the local hospital and made an appointment.

On my way there, I made a mental list of what I figured he would tell me including lose weight, stop eating like a 12-year-old boy at a baseball game and get more exercise. I also had some questions about some other things that had been bugging me.

In the old days, doctors did some pretty weird stuff to patients. I won’t go into detail but it involved rubber gloves. I found that’s not the case anymore, thank goodness. A major part of the check-up was getting my blood tested for cholesterol — good and bad — triglycerides — bad — and testosterone — good — and a few other things that I don’t know what the hell they are.

I went back to the doctor and we went over the results and talked about what to do about it. In layman’s terms, they were lose weight, stop eating like a 12-year-old boy at a baseball game and get more exercise.

But along with that, he offered a way to do that, and was encouraging. He also helped resolve the other stuff.

I even agreed to get one of those colonoscopies, just to make sure everything was OK in the pumping department. It should be noted that health plans also pay for that, so there’s really no reason to chicken out.

So as I get ready to tackle what remains of the new year, I have a certain level of confidence that it’s going to be a good one health wise. I’m hitting on all cylinders, and even though I don’t go as fast as I used to, I’m on track to keep rolling for a long time.

And I won’t have to call the doctor in a panic some day and tell him, “It does this: Rrr, rrr, rrr — then it goes ah, naa, naa, naa.”

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