Adventures In Cholesterol

Written By: J.S. Roth

My arrival on the east end was fraught with details. It was a must however. It was time to leave behind the banality of the western burbs, and embrace something more organic, rustic, and rich in history. My inner bohemian was chomping at the bit of my former life. Maybe it was the moon, the other planets, but something was driving me east. I had already long embraced the concrete jungle of manhattan, and having grown up and returned to nassau county, I had had enough of familiar territory.

There were several experiences and events – oh the drama of it all – which necessitated an extrication of sorts. But of course, my mother always told me, “Geography solves nothing”, so I wasn’t exactly running from anything any longer, but rather longing to embrace a more expansive natural vista which coincided with my own deep inner yearnings for a new life.

Middle age is a misnomer. It’s more like an imminent and inner wake up call that upshoots from the recesses of the mind, spirit, and heart which may or may not mark one’s own personal chronology. My inner lotus blossom was highly agitated. Perhaps this was all divinely designed. The only thing I knew for sure was that I had high cholesterol. Which brings me to Hannah and Her Sisters. Did you ever see the film? Well, there’s a scene where Woody is convinced that he has a fatal brain tumor as he gets called back to his doctor after a customary physical. He works himself into a state of imminent death and virtual hysteria only to find out that he is completely normal.

Well, I had just had one of those moments. Holy *()&^%$$. I had my annual physical and had to return for my bloodwork donation under separate cover, as I had to fast for 12 hours and didn’t get it right the first time. This was my own personal heroic sacred sacrifice of food and drink in the name of health. I’m a food writer, I can’t help it. It was extraordinarily difficult for me. A few days later I received several calls from a doctor who I had not heard of saying “We have your test results, and we’d like you to come into the office.” I was tenacious about returning his calls; I tried from 3 different phones and could not get through. The doctor was simultaneously calling me back, but was not leaving a message. Each time, I reached for another phone, the alternative one would ring. It was like a Marx Brothers episode without any siblings. I stepped out onto the front porch and began pacing.

I was officially in deeeeeeeeeeeppppppp imagination about my health. First, it was leukemia, then HIV ( it was going to be an exceptional bizarre case), then it was cancer cells all over the place. Then I tried to calm myself down as I thought the universe was sort of “acting out”. I got into the car and drove over to the medical center. I went to the front desk and the receptionist had to have seen the panic on my face. His eyes opened wider than normal as he figuratively lurched over the desk. He explained that any intern could be calling me back as they all work as a team. In addition, the medical center has a caller id scrambling program built into the phone, so the number that appears on your phone is erroneous AND when you call it back it is automatically busy. He paged Dr. Munir and he came forward and we went into a private room. He wants to put me on cholesterol medication immediately as my bad cholesterol went up 50 points since last year. He said my liver enzymes were getting a little fatty but that the medication itself can affect liver enzymes. NFW.

So, I was jolted with the reality of my mortality – a gift – and had to begin to eliminate certain foods from my diet. The good news is my resting heart rate is a 68 and my blood pressure is 106/60 — both are very low for a heifer like me. I have got that going for me. On a humorous note, who knows maybe when I pass, they’ll turn my liver into a tasty pate and serve it on crostini…I kept thinking about ducks when he was talking about my liver. Considering how terrified I was, this should be simple. Be grateful for your health. Jumping for joy!