free lunch: seven dollars


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.

0 thoughts on “free lunch: seven dollars

  1. LFMD

    I hear you.
    I am in terrible shape and have decided recently that I can’t keep acting as though the rules don’t apply to me. I have been under the delusion that I will live forever, despite not exercising and eating like every day is Halloween. I keep hearing about folks dying in their late 40’s and early 50’s, and it scares me. I would like to be around to see my daughter graduate college, marry, etc. So, I have cut down on my sugar and carb intake in the hopes that I will drop some lbs. and feel better. It has been a week, and I really miss sugar!!! But, I know that sugar has been killing me slowlyover the past few years, and carbs are not kind either.
    Take care!

  2. kevin from NC

    I was looking in my medicine cabinet not long ago and I was astounded by all the bottles in there. Admittedly, there were a number of them that I no longer take, but I felt there needed to be a change. So, I have been taking myself off of most all of these drugs.
    I am on a statin right now and also niacin to boost my HDL. My total cholesterol on the medication of late has been around 100. I have lost a lot of weight and have been working out regularly. I am going to axe my doctor on Thursday if I can go off of the statin on a trial basis to see what happens to my total cholesterol. Even if she says no I think I am going to do it for 90 days.
    I read this article the other day about the side effects of statin drugs. For some reason, all this pharmacology is not working for me and I need to do something about it. At the same time, I know if you are over 40, you are taking something. It might be un-american not to do so.

  3. Deane

    Being a resident of South Dakota, I will be waiting to turn your sperm away at the border. I still haven’t forgiven you for calling us “knuckle-draggers” in PEI. The fruit of your loins will pay the price for that remark.

  4. Emma's Big Sis

    My 55-year-old brother just had quintuple bypass surgery last week. A year ago he started taking blood pressure meds, started eating better and started exercising. He wasn’t all that overweight to start off with. He lost 20 pound in that period of time. High blood pressure runs in our family. I urge everyone to take care of yourselves. You do not want to go through that surgery. Emma was in the waiting room for the 8 hours it took and I think she would tell you that her blood pressure suffered from the experience. Emma, hope you don’t mind me mentioning you by name.

  5. Bud

    Well, you’re doing better than the Mets.
    Try yoga and/or meditation. Or just stretching and focused abdominal breathing if you prefer.
    My numbers are good despite several good reasons for their not being good. You might also try this: when something gives you a strong negative emotion, take a moment to let go of it before doing anything else. Easier said than done, but vital.
    Maybe this will help:

  6. Neva

    How is your HDL? Total chol isn’t important as the breakdown of the HDL/LDL.
    If the health issues aren’t enough reason, the environmenal impact should concern you enough to cut back on meat by a lot. That alone will make a big difference.
    Good luck!
    You should also check your BP several more times at different times of day. Don’t worry about one measure.

  7. Neva

    Also – not that you need to tell us all your meds but some psych meds effect BP – especially stimulants so that may be having an effect..


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