Woohoo! Got back from the doctor yesterday, and for the first time in my life, my cholesterol has gone DOWN.
Also, my triglycerides, which were somewhat elevated last year, plunged down into normal ranges. My ratios of good and bad cholesterol are suddenly really really good for a Caucasian human female in her mid-thirties. Rather unexpectedly, I’m a very healthy person.
I expressed bafflement to my doctor. I have slung a lot of mulch, that’s one explanation. My weight certainly hasn’t gone down at all (it’s actually up a bit these days, since it’s too bloody hot for mulching) but I will pretend that large chunks of it are muscle. The only other two reasons that we can come up with are that going off the pill REALLY helped, and the possible one that since we joined a meat CSA, every chunk of meat I eat at home (or at most of our local restaurants) is free-range organic hormone-free antibiotic-free stupidly-healthy meat. I honestly never have any idea how much importance to assign to such things—I do it because it’s ethical and tastes damn good more than because I expect to live any longer*—but I suppose it’s possible.
On the downside—and there’s always a downside—my heart, while not defective per se, definitely seems to have been a floor model purchased at 20% off. Fortunately it hasn’t repeated the Great Palpitation Experience of 2006, where, right after closing on the house, it began doing some exciting little shimmies and I got to wear a monitor taped to my chest for a month. (Diagnosis: stress. I got a divorce a year later, had a full-on nervous breakdown, and my heart chugged along with nary a twitch. The moral of the story is apparently that buying your first house is way more stressful than a divorce. There are charts that bear this out.)
But it does occasionally do a bit of a SQUIR-thrWOP! thing and I go “Dude! Shit! That was a thing!” and then I’m fine. It seems to all be normal variation of human experience, but it happens often enough—and there’s one position I lay in where things start thudding around pretty enthusiastically—so I get to go in to the cardiologist and get an echo-cardiogram to see if anything has exploded recently.
Also, my nurse practitioner puts up with a lot of crap from me, and has long since joined the list of People Who Understand What Ursula Is Like.
I asked “So, if my heart stops, will it hurt?”
She gave me the look that I usually give the beagle and said “Will it hurt?”
“I’m afraid I won’t notice.”
“You’ll notice. If it’s a heart attack, it’ll keep trying to beat, and it will hurt a LOT.”
“And if it just stops…?”
“Like I’m watching TV and Dude! My heart! It’s stopped! Will I notice that? I mean, before I die?”
She rubbed her forehead, probably wondering when she drew the short straw. “You’ll have about twenty seconds to panic and not be able to breathe. It won’t be nearly enough time to do anything about it.”
“Will it be time to hit my boyfriend, clutch my chest, and say “Call 911!?”
She made a grim snorting noise that conveyed exactly how much good that was going to do and said “Like I said…not nearly enough time to do anything about it.”
(I gathered from this that by the time the ambulance crew arrived, I’d be a really awesome organ donor.)
“But I’ll notice?”
“Yes. You’ll notice.”
Strangely, knowing these things makes me feel much better. (This is the same woman to whom I confessed that I was afraid I’d get cancer and try to pop the tumor because I’d think it was a zit. She looked at me, down at my history, and said “In your case, that’s…actually kind of a concern, yeah…”)
I kinda wonder if stuff like this is why they always send the med students along to observe, or if it’s just that not all that many women are comfortable with standing room only for a pap smear.
*I am perfectly willing to believe that it is better for me, but there’s people in the organic food movement who I suspect are trying to cut a bargain with an uninterested universe. “If I only eat gluten-free soy-fed meat from cows who have never been exposed to sunlight, Nothing Bad Will Be Allowed To Happen To Me.” I am never quite sure where the line is between enlightened consumer and trying to buy carbon offsets from God, but I do know good bacon when I eat it.