Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Day one hundred and eighty nine ... The doctor will see you now.




Ahem ... .

I don't really know where to start.

I usually begin with a short sentence, but I've already blown that opportunity.

I don't have an analogy to stretch and smooth out until it is almost unrecognizable, even to me.

I don't have a remembrance of a special day or time in my life, or even a person whom I feel needs to be paid homage to.

I'm just excited as hell because--as of the last few days--it has become increasingly apparent to me that the changes I have made in my life have become truly, undeniably, unequivocally, and monumentally beneficial, and I'm just about ready to faint because of it.

I know. Doesn't sound too healthy now, does it?

Check this out.

I had a physical yesterday.

I have a new primary care doctor, his name is Steve, but I call him "Doctor." 

I've seen him three times since March. Each time I see him we discuss my desire to someday be able to abate all prescription pill use.

I've been on some seriously high levels of cholesterol and blood pressure meds, as well as som that I don't have to take anymore--stuff which was related to my back problems, which was related to my weight problems, which was related to my drinking problems, and so on, and so forth.

My former PCP did what he had to to keep this old locomotive from having a meltdown in the middle of its run. I didn't question him too much because what he prescribed me seemed to be working (until, of course, it stopped.). My numbers were showing close to normal levels of various enzymes and lipids and other yucky sounding stuff, regardless of the fact that I was continuously shoveling garbage and battery acid into my engine.

Suffice to say I wasn't the best smelling locomotive on the track.

And right around the time I decided to clean up, the state of Massachusetts told me I had to switch doctors. See, only the richest people and the poorest people can actually afford health insurance, and I'm definitely not in the former category. So I had to start seeing who they wanted me to see.

Doctor Steve.

So, when I saw Dr. Steve in March, he told me--seeing my bp was reasonable--that I could cut my dose in half from 20 mg. to 10 mg.

On that visit I weighed 228 lbs. and my bp was 110/90, which is pretty good, but still high on that all important bottom number.

I was only three months into my sober kick and hadn't started eating better.

But I continued to abstain from drugs and alcohol and, in May, I saw him again.

This time I weighed 220 lbs. and my bp was an impressive 106/68. This is a fantastic reading, but I had to consider that I had the help of 10 mg. of Lisinopril every morning. That loss of 8 pounds was nice, but I put five of them back on in a matter of days, prompting me to begin my weight loss program.

I knew I had this physical on the books. 

I knew it would be an important check-up.

I knew it would be a defining moment for me to see what six months of sobriety and exercise could accomplish.

As I sat in the waiting room, I was calm.

I had the proper forms which I had filled out the night before.

I was even early.

I sat there, in the waiting room, and relaxed.

I didn't do what I normally would do.

Normally, among other things, I'd be sweating. Winter, spring, summer, fall--no matter. I just used to sweat all the time.

But I was cool. I was placid. And I felt good.

I didn't stare at my calendar trying to minimize the damage I had done.

I didn't have to count up all the days I was sober, and then count the other days and try and come up with a ratio to show my doctor how hard I was trying.

And I didn't have to come up with yet another excuse for why I didn't feel right about trying AA. 

Because this time was different. This time, when I strolled into the office in a tank-top, shorts, and sandals, my calendar stayed in my bag right next to my telltale, green, Western Mass. "Where and When" AA guide. And when I gladly stepped up on the scale for the nurse to take my weight, and confidently looked at the digital readout on the super-accurate medical scale, it filled me with a great sense of accomplishment to see the readout: 214 lbs.

And I smiled and sat and waited to see my doctor--Doctor Steve.

And when he finished my physical he told me something that just floored me. 

He told me that I had the blood pressure of a teenager ...

... 98/68. That's no typo. That, my friends is a reading of ninety eight over sixty eight. A personal best.

And I just sat there and smiled, because I knew what he would say next.

"Mr. Johnson. Why don't you go ahead and stop taking the blood pressure meds. Come back for a check-up in a few months and we'll see about lowering the cholesterol meds then. How does that sound?"

And I sat there and cracked my knuckles and smiled.

"I think that sounds great Doctor. I think that sounds just great."

I thanked him and got my things together and left and went home.

I went to the gym.

I practiced my guitar.

I wrote and recorded a song.

And you can listen to it if you like by just clicking play on the little gray arrow below. 

Right now it is 1:17 in the morning. I'm tired, I'm hot, and my house is a bit of a mess. But all of those things would prove to be entirely irrelevant to me ... if I wasn't around to notice.

Good night and thanks for reading.


The song is called "Down The Stairs." It was recorded using only one vocal mic, and my guitars and bass (both direct) into my MacBook. 

I hope you like it.

If, for some reason, you are unable to open this player on your computer, try going to While you're there, why not hit me up as a "friend." I'm easy. 


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