Thursday, November 12, 2015

A Little Shocker, or You Can't Out-Exercise a Bad Diet


This past Monday, my husband and I had to see our primary care doc for labwork that his cardiologist wanted done and some med renewals.

Our first shock came when I found out the doc we'd been seeing for about 25 years has left the family practice, preferring to concentrate on his faculty duties and overseeing an intern program at a hospital local to him. He had been threatening to leave for a few years now and was only at the office about 3 hours a week as it was. At least he can now walk to work, a fact that comes in very handy if we have another winter like the last 2.

Shock number 2 came when the doc we switched to, formerly all gruff and down-to-business, was all mellow yellow, seeming genuinely interested in what we've been up to both personally and medically, since he last treated any of us. This was the doc we first had when we switched to that practice when our old doc died in a car crash, and he was the doc at my bedside examining our son when he was just a few minutes old almost 32 years ago. When he decided to concentrate on sports medicine we switched over to his brother, who preferred the more general family medicine. He was heavily into a few sports himself, winning medals for his running and biking, and while he didn't run any major marathons, he was present at every NYC Marathon since its inception and at least 15 years at the Boston Marathon. He was there for the bombing and even got an award for his work treating victims at the scene. The walls of his room at the office are decorated with medals, certificates, and photos from all the races he's participated in, as well as autographed photos from different pro athletes he's treated.

Anyway, he was glad to hear about our diet, and said because of it, he'll most likely take my husband off all his gout meds after seeing the labwork. He would prefer to take him off the statin, too, but knows that his cardiologist insists all his patients take one, and since it's about the lowest dose possible already, said it won't do him any harm. As for me, he renewed my asthma meds, discussed reducing the omega 3/DHA/EPA med I was put on for my triglycerides, and said with the cholesterol levels I had, that as long as I keep on this food plan probably don't need the red yeast rice, but again, realized the cardiologist would probably put me on a statin if I wasn't on it and said to just cut it down to half the amount I was taking. No new labwork for me because it was so good in January insurance won't pay for it again until after a year has passed. He also told me to cut my Vitamin D was down from the dose his brother had me on. He said with winter coming it's best not to stop it completely, especially with my history (first lab test showed below 4, normal is over 20). We got our "atta boy" and "atta girl" and sent on our merry way.

Next shock concerns the lab work & med renewals. In the past, this practice insisted on coming in to be examined and then they'll renew meds or order labs, or order labs and renew meds after getting the results. We always had to then make another appointment to get those lab results. They didn't believe in giving them out over the phone and would insist on seeing you face to face to explain the results. But not now. The doc said to just call the office to get the results. Wow! This is going to be a big time and money saver!

Shock #4 involves coming into the 21st century. The company that now runs the practice had been dragging its feet in giving them the necessary hardware, but by federal law says it has to be up and running before the end of the year. That also means they'll finally be able to put things in the already established on-line patient portals, like lab and test results, prescription renewal and appointment and referral requests, so all that can be done without an office visit in the future.

But the biggest shock of all came the next day while my husband was gabbing with the office manager while waiting to get his labs drawn. She apologized for the confusion around the office, how harried and rushed she is, because things haven't been the same since (our old doc) left in June and (our new doc) came back after his heart surgery in September, that they're having a hard time catching up and getting caught up with everything.

WHAT?

It seems our doc, Doctor Tall, Thin and Athletic, had a triple bypass back in July. One artery 99% blocked, the other 2 not far behind. After discussing my husband's CABG and follow up stress tests with him the day before we're very surprised he didn't mention anything about his own. No wonder he had a completely different attitude this time! Nothing like a near-death experience to make a person slow down and enjoy life a little. And no wonder he had heard of and approved of the Esselstyn diet.

So, the point of this rambling post? You can't out exercise a bad diet! This man has been very active and lean for the 35 or so years I know him. OK, his whole family, including brother, sister, parents, grandparents, cousins, are all tall and lean, so genetics. But he's also always been active. I did mention his running and biking above, right? This was such a shock! As Doctor McDougall always says:

IT'S THE FOOD!

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