The Day I Got the Wake-Up Call from My Doctor
Commissioner Tommy Adkisson
October 16, 2003

It wasn't an extraordinary day by my standards.  I got up on Saturday, September 20 and this time drank no coffee nor took any vitamins or ate anything.  This was the day I was to get my annual blood test.

Less than a week later on September 26, I went to my Doctor for an explanation of the blood test.  Little did I know but my Doctor was to reveal to me that my blood test showed that one of the components of the blood test, triglycerides had doubled since my test last year! 

He told me that when this sort of thing is untreated, people just keel over and that's it!  Triglycerides apparently clog arteries to the point where they can no longer transport blood.  My Doctor said that every male over 30 should be taking a 325 milligram aspirin every morning.  I did not know this but have heard people say over the years that they were taking an aspirin every day.  He also prescribed two pharmaceuticals and said I'd be taking them till I was 122 years old!

I said to myself, "OK, we are going to do some rearranging of eating habits".  My trips to the gym five or six days out of seven will continue.  But I really need to study what I'm doing compared to what I should be doing.  From just a cursory view of institutional foods, more focus should be given to the unwitting complicity they may play in the eating habits we develop.

We do not need to call names of those friends and famous persons who have just keeled over and went to their eternal reward, for us to get serious about what we are eating.  Their number is legion.  Perhaps what we can do is make sure that our annual physicals and comprehensive blood tests are honored religiously so that we can make a difference in our own health while it still matters!

There are plenty of people like me out there that have been healthy as a horse.  Yes I ate plenty of greasy fried chicken and French fries.  I grew up in the fifties and sixties!  I played sports and in general enjoyed the good genes of my very healthy parents.  Many of you did too.

Leaving grease that clogs our arteries and veins aside, I was recently discussing with my Dentist the diabetes epidemic that we are experiencing in this country.  He is one of the most thoughtful and intelligent Dentists I have used and I have been through more than a few over my fifty-four years.  He told me that in the mid-1700's humans consumed one pound of sugar annually.  Today we individually consume around 150 pounds of sugar annually!  No wonder our bodies are reacting the way they are and that diabetes is approaching seeming epidemic proportions in our population. 

But whether your health has always been great or whether you have perhaps hit some genetic trigger as my Doctor has told me I may have hit, take time to find out how you are doing while you can still do something about it!  I understand that most baby-boomers have an excellent chance of growing to nearly 100.  I believe that today, both those older and younger than this group do too.  I have read that this is because of modern medicine, advanced dentistry, high tech pharmaceuticals, nutrition, diet and physical exercise.   

But all of the advantages notwithstanding, none of them mean much if you won't take care of you.  As your Commissioner and since the County sponsors the University Health System (UHS), I will continue to write occasional articles on health.  I will continue to promote the UHS development of the secured electronic healthcard for medical professionals and the health chart to help us more easily track our own health.  In the meantime, may each of you live a happy and healthy life!

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