I’m taller than you’d think. “Just a little bit more than five foot eight inches,” the nurse told me, which is just a little bit more than what I’d thought. And, better yet, it isn’t any shorter than I’ve been, which is something I think I should celebrate for the time being. And I weigh less than I used to. My blood pressure is back where it should be, though I’m not sure if that’s due to my exercise or the fact that the nurse didn’t scare me or the fact that I hadn’t had any coffee yet.
Once the doctor came in, he put a stethoscope on my back. I took deep breaths, and after that he checked for heart murmurs and other complications that might be reverberating against my chest wall. I always wonder what it sounds like, and I never ask. I’m not sure if it would be reassuring or if it would give me an anxiety attack.
All was fine.
I told him I wasn’t sleeping well. He said that he wasn’t either. He paused, maybe to see if I’d suggest anything to him about what to do. You could try this or that, he suggested. There are prescriptions, healthy routines, or simple resignation.
Mostly, I’m in good health. There’s some family history that justifies another check on my heart, but this seems to be out of an abundance of caution and the fact that it’s convenient enough to spend an extra 30 minutes at the hospital. I was also due for a tetanus shot, which I accepted enthusiastically, new prospects to walk among rusty nails. They drew small vials of blood and sent them somewhere I’d never see.
Later I’d see in the doctor’s notes and lab results that I can access on the screen—one of those conveniences that prevents me from sleeping, I suspect. These confirmed that my good health is well documented. The expert opinion of the medical expert is that I’m a “very pleasant 45-year-old.” Also, my “neck is supple,” I have “no worrisome addictive habits,” and my “oropharynx is clear.” I suspect these are all good things.
“You should take up smoking, maybe start drinking more,” the doctor suggested. He didn’t, actually; but I’ve imagined that there should be some room for such things based on good behavior and good health. He did suggest those few things for sleep, though, which is enough. He and I are both working on this.