Adventures in Low-Maintenance Health

6 years ago

I went for an annual checkup recently ... three years overdue. I kept meaning and meaning to go (during my last visit, my cholesterol levels weren’t that great), but then life got in the way and it always seemed like I had a good excuse not to -— the kids, work, season premiere of Modern Family, whatever.

I’m a generally low-maintenance person when it comes to taking care of myself. I get haircuts a couple of times a year, go for pedicures maybe twice annually, can’t bear to sit still for manicures, wear minimal make-up most days (powder, lipstick and mascara if I can spare 15 seconds to put it on in the morning). I’ve always been this way, but having kids transformed me into a low-low-low maintenance lady. (Though I’m not sure my husband would completely agree with that.)

I’m similarly low-maintenance about my health, which is definitely more of a hazard than being laid back about beauty routines. I go to my annual ob/gyn appointment, get a mammogram, and that’s about it. Eating right: Hit or miss, depending on whether cheese, Pringles or anything bread-like lies in my path. Exercise: Whassat?

Basically, I’ve been procrastinating dealing with the crappy news I knew I was going to get going to the doctor. Which is so mature of me, especially given the two kids I need to stay healthy for, one of whom has special needs (I blog daily about him and family life over at Love That Max).

The doctor visit itself went fine; she was smart, friendly and we talked about lifestyle improvements I could make. Ones I definitely need to put into play, because the blood tests came back with scary news: My “bad” cholesterol (LDL) is out of control. And the “good” kind (HDL) is AWOL, probably snacking on Pringles.

“You’re going to need to go on medication,” she said when she phoned to tell me the news.


“Right away?” I asked. “Is it dire? Am I going to keel over from a heart attack anytime soon?!”

I get a little melodramatic sometimes.

“Well, no, it’s not dire,” she said. “But you need to deal with your cholesterol in the near future.”

We agreed that for the next six months, I’d try to eat better and exercise more start exercising, and if that didn’t work, I’d go on meds.

It’s been a few weeks, and what have I done? Well, I’m trying to be more conscientious about food, and I’m squeezing in walks when I can. “Are you sure you want to eat that?” is my husband’s favorite new phrase.

It really would help if someone was standing by my side with, like, a pitchfork to prod me. Until I am able to find that service on Craigslist (and even if pitchfork-prodding was offered, I suspect it might not be quite the service I am thinking of), it’s up to me to kick myself out of this low-maintenance health rut I’ve been in for most of my adult life.

How about you: Are you low-maintenance health? Medium? High? Got any good motivational tips? Got a pitchfork?

Original to OwnIt

Ellen Seidman is a mom of two, a magazine editor and writer, a do-er, a dreamer, a professional snacker. In her "spare" time she writes a blog, Love That Max, about raising kids with special needs who kick butt.

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