For example: “Ned, unless you lower your blood pressure, you’re going to die.”
Though I’m well within my optimum weight range (190 lbs.) for my age (48) and height (6’1″), am active and have a relatively low-stress lifestyle (when our three teens aren’t home), my blood pressure is still high.
Apparently, it’s something that runs in my family. Which is ironic considering my family isn’t known for running.
Because I don’t really need to lose weight and my heart sounds fine, my doctor has started me on a very mild dose of blood pressure medicine. “Just take 10 milligrams each morning at breakfast,” he said.
“Can I wrap it in bacon first? Ha! Ha!” I joked.
You should understand that when my doctor takes his glasses off, whatever he’s about to say is never good. He removed his glasses the time I had walking pneumonia, and also right before telling me I needed hernia surgery. So as I watched him slowly pull his glasses forward from the bridge of his nose, I was ready for something bad.
Nothing could’ve prepared me for what he said next. As the words left his mouth and echoed in my ears, the world turned gauzy. My sense of reality shifted. And I struggled to fathom what he was telling me…
“Can you say that last part again?”
“I’m sorry. I wish I had better news,” he said, crossing his arms. “I know how much bacon means to you.”
“Don’t patronize me, doctor!” I snapped. “How could you POSSIBLY know how much bacon means to me? Do you have a bacon-scented pillow case? Do you cook with bacon salt? Have you submitted a recipe for bacon Cheerios to General Mills? I don’t think so!”
There was an uncomfortable silence as I tried to regain my composure.
“I’m just saying there are options…” he began.
“HA! Really? Like what? TURKEY bacon?!”
“I realize it’s not ideal but people have been known to live happy, productive lives eating turkey or veggie bacon.”
“Happy… Productive… And veggie bacon,” I muttered. “I’m no mathematician, but that equation doesn’t add up, doctor.”
He sighed. “I’m only suggesting you cut back a little.”
I gripped the door knob and turned back to meet his gaze. “Sure, doc. And I’ll just cut back on breathing air while I’m at it. Good day, sir!”
Needless to say, I will be getting a second opinion. Possibly as early as this evening, depending on if our butcher has left for the day.
In the meantime, I’ve put something together to help my doctor understand what bacon means to me…
(Ned Hickson is a syndicated columnist with News Media Corporation. Still looking for that perfect book for summer reading? Ned’s first book, Humor at the Speed of Life,available from Port Hole Publications, Amazon.com or Barnes & Noble. Disclaimer: You should still use sunscreen when reading this book)