• December 5, 2019

A SHARP LIFE: Welcome to the Dark Ages - Odessa American: Local Columns

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A SHARP LIFE: Welcome to the Dark Ages

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Posted: Sunday, December 1, 2019 5:00 am

I have rather unfortunately reached that point in life that we depressingly refer to as middle-aged. As if it isn’t bad enough to be at this point in life, we have chosen one of the more disheartening ways possible to refer to it. “Middle-aged” just makes me think of the Middle Ages, or as they are also referred to, the Dark Ages. Any part of your life that makes you think of the Dark Ages is sure to be a downer. I would suggest that perhaps being middle-aged just needs better marketing, but my yearly physical has a way of reminding me that perhaps thinking of this part of your life as the Dark Ages isn’t too far off.

This is the time of your life when the doctor seems to furrow his brow more than in your 30s. When things like blood pressure, cholesterol, and some mysterious substance called lipids are suddenly not to be ignored. You know they are serious business because the doctor tells you they are, and also because every time he talks about them he uses his “this isn’t to be taken lightly tone.” This tone is similar to the one I use with the kids when I want them to listen, but it’s not exactly the same. Well, I don’t think it is the same. To be sure he’d have to say things like, “Where are your pants? How many times do I have to tell you to go to bed?” and “In this house we don’t use corn dogs for swords!” The point is one day you’re a free-wheeling, anything goes person in the prime of your youth, the next day the doctor is talking to you about good cholesterol in somber tones reminiscent of the way geometry teachers used to refer to the hypotenuse, but without all the fun.

Doctors do all of this and then they have the guts to be disappointed when your blood pressure is “a little high.” I get it, blood pressure is something to be taken seriously, and if there is a problem, it needs to be dealt with. But I have a full-time job, I write on the side, I have a wonderful wife (with whom I had just had a “discussion” prior to this appointment), I have four children under the age of eight.

The news flash isn’t when my blood pressure is high, just let me know when you’re surprised at how low it is. Remember, we’re in the Dark Ages now.

Odessa, TX

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