In all of my admittedly-batshit health issues, the underlying motif has always been this: I’ll get nickel-and-dimed to death, but the underlying structure has always been good, in fact, better than normal. To give you a few examples…
• I was told I had gout at 21, a kidney acid imbalance that usually only affected old medieval French kings after they ingested an entire reindeer.
• While rolling a trashcan up our driveway in 1999, it flipped up and smashed me in the nose, deviating my septum so that I have to sleep on my left side, even now, 12 years later. The resulting congestion gets infected at least thrice every winter, putting me on antibiotics each time.
• I have every symptom of IBS except for having IBS.
• Despite having the lowest pain threshold of anyone in North America, I was given kidney stones, possibly the most painful event a human can endure outside of full body burns.
• I get everything Lucy brings home from school, I will bite down on something at dinner and end up six months with a missing tooth, I will get bit by a spider and wind up with a staph infection.
HOWEVER, I basically still look pretty young, my weight is certainly down from my 30s, I’ve always had a good heart rate, low blood pressure and everything else has checked out swimmingly. In other words, all this other bad-luck bullshit was bearable because my baseline always rocked.
with the Mets plushie, Dec. 2007 (missing tooth vaguely visible)
This morning, I got the results back from one of our fertility tests, this time measuring the DNA fragmentation in my Netherlands. It’s one of those tests you do after you’ve done every other test on earth, and yes, it involved a trip to another dreary jack-off room and Fedexing fluids to South Dakota.
I’ve had to do this at least seven times now, and the results have been similar: “excellent morphology” and “grade-A motility” and around 110 million little guys per ml (when you only really need 20 million).
But this morning? My DNA fragmentation was at 19%, which is in the “good” part of the “good to fair” range. The optimal is 15% and under. And while I’ve read of fragmentation rates of 63%, and the jury is still out on whether this test is accurate or even useful, it still completely bummed me out.
Because if I’m not coming at this thing with full guns blazing, what the fuck use am I? Like I told Tessa, it’s hard enough being a biologically irrelevant dude, so if I’m not providing “GREAT” DNA, they should just stick me to the bottom of a ship with all the other barnacles.
I also got results back about my cholesterol: 209, which is pretty damn close to needing another drug, in which case I should just live at the goddamn pharmacy. And my blood pressure? 130 over 90, when it used to be 112 over 75 – and I’m skinnier now.
Yes, I’ll go back to a more stringent exercise regimen, and I’ll take a bunch of pleasures out of my diet, but I don’t like this trajectory at all. I was getting used to being 44 and still lucking out and sliding under the radar. It’s another hit to my exceptionalism and the age-old belief that the rules don’t apply to me. But this time it’s particularly disheartening; I can handle being nickel and dimed, but not quartered and drawn.