A recent visit to the doctor confirmed my suspicions. What did I have? According to the good doctor what I had was a bad case of inertia. No, inertia is not a medical term. It is a word most commonly used in the field of physics. Merriam-Webster defines it as: indisposition to motion, exertion, or change. But to fully understand what the doctor was getting at, one must view this condition in a broader context of not taking one’s medicine. You see, what I really had was a case of not just a high cholesterol count, but one that was astronomically high. In fact, my physician had only witnessed this one time before during his tenure in medicine. I neglected to ask him if that patient is still among the living. Apparently, I was “dead man walking”. He concluded that the bad cholesterol building up in my body and arteries was due to a genetic abnormality instead of poor diet and/or lack of physical activity. So last year, a statin drug was prescribed to help lower the cholesterol level and reduce the risk of heart attack or stroke.
I took the medication for a month…and stopped. There were no side effects, no affordability issue, no taking seriously the bad press that statins sometime receive, no good reason at all to stop taking it. It came down to apathy, inaction, procrastination…inertia. And while the return visit confirmed that I was number one with a bullet on the cholesterol charts, I was just one of many who suffer from inertia. And so, like all the other inertia patients under his care, I had to listen to him reading me the riot act. Did I want to debate him on the efficacy and side effects of statins? No. Was I aware that doing an extra 100 pushups a day and drinking a kale slurpee would not help me? Yes. Was I fully aware of the risks of a heart attack or stroke if I didn’t take my meds? Yes. But to really drive home his point, he asked if I wanted someone to wipe my
ass for the rest of my life due to immobility from a stroke? Of course, being a professional he was more diplomatic than that, but his point was well taken. My answer was a resounding no.
The good doctor then began typing a memo attached to my computer file. Or at least I thought he was. It sounded more like an old school telegram. Patient says (stop) there is not a good reason (stop) for not taking prescribed medicine (stop) Has been informed of serious risk (stop) if medicine is not taken (stop). His display of added emphasis was surely undertaken to get my attention and perhaps to fulfill any legal obligations. Doctors can’t be too careful these days.
Morbid humor aside, it is a serious issue I hope to address today…tomorrow…as soon as possible. Ambivalence be damned. I would like to commend my doctor and staff. They are under a heavy patient load but always exhibit the utmost professionalism, respect, and care for those in their charge. In the constantly shifting nature of healthcare, it is reassuring that clinics like this still exist. So, this is the end of my public service announcement. The doctor is in and he will see you now. Take your meds. Be like Mark Twain who once famously said, “The rumors of my death have been greatly exaggerated”.