We seem to talk about health issues a lot in our little house on N. 4th Street because:
1) I'm going to study public health next year.
2) Almost everyone we know has some sort of health problem.
3) We want to stay healthy. I mean, Papa still has to make it through his 8 more years of healthy living!
4) Grammy is a dietician, I got my undergrad degree in nutritional sciences and Papa sometimes pretends he's a doctor. That's when we call him Dr. Green.
The other night I walked into the kitchen and Grammy was taking her blood pressure. Apparently, she went to the doctor the day before and her blood pressure was something like 160/80, and since she's never had high blood pressure, she came home and decided to monitor it herself. She sat down and adjusted the cuff and her blood pressure came out to be 109/73. I told her she must have been having a very stressful day. She thinks the doctor should have double checked it. I tested my blood pressure, even though I hate getting my blood pressure checked. When I was little, I always wanted to try the blood pressure machine at the grocery store, but I guess my mom said I wasn't allowed to play with it, so one time I did it while she wasn't looking and it squeezed my arm so tightly I thought that God was punishing me for disobeying my mom. From that day forward, I vowed never to stick my arm in the grocery store blood pressure machine. Even if I look at one, I get this nervous feeling in my stomach and images of the machine squeezing my arm from my body run through my head. Anyway, I mustered up all my strength and checked my blood pressure and it came out 101/61, which is pretty low. Grammy just looked at me and said:
Grammy: I'm just surprised we're not dead!
Julie: We might have low blood pressure, but we're still kickin'!
Grammy: That's right! They're not going to drag us away yet!
Then Grammy the Dietician started interrogating me on reasons my blood pressure might be so low. We decided that maybe my blood pressure is so low because I have low iron. And my iron is low because I don't really like red meat. And I don't really like red meat because I don't like chewing on fat particles. Anyway, Grammy told me that I should take some of her pills, and after confirming that they are not prescription drugs ("WalMart Special!" she told me), I consented to take some of her vitamin B complex with folic acid. I should have figured that they weren't prescription drugs because her and Papa have this habit of quitting prescription medicines they don't think are necessary.
Good Idea/Bad Idea Time
Good Idea: After we took our blood pressures, Grammy told me this big story about how her doctor put her on a beta blocker after she had her stent put in a few years ago and it made her really tired. One day when she was at rehab, she told one of the physical therapists that she was always worn out, so they took her blood pressure and it was something like 90/60, and it was because of the beta blocker. ("I was practically dead!") So Grammy told her doctor and quit taking it. Good Idea. Now, she just takes lots of vitamins and supplements.
Bad Idea: Last year, Papa went to the doctor and they told him that he needed to take thyroid medicine. After a few days, Dr. Green took matters into his own hands and decided that he was healthy and didn't need them. Bad Idea. Recently he has been really tired and has been sleeping a lot more so Grammy has been telling him he needs to go to the doctor. A few days ago he finally went to the doctor and they told him he's been so tired because he hasn't been taking his thyroid medicine. Thus, they prescribed him the thyroid medicine again. We'll see how long it lasts this time. Maybe when my brother, Andy, finishes medical school and becomes a doctor, Papa will actually listen and do what he's supposed to do. Here's hoping!
Grammy is good at keeping me informed about health and education issues. In the mornings, I usually sit down at the table for breakfast to find sections of the newspaper spread out across my placemat, with little stars by the articles that Grammy thinks I would like. Then, from time to time, we'll sit and discuss them. The other night, we went through two months of Readers' Digests and discussed all the articles in the Health sections.
Interesting Readers' Digest Health Stories:
-Apparently there is a new study out that links having lights on while sleeping to breast and prostate cancer. Some group took digital pictures of the earth at night and the areas that had the most light at night were the areas with the most cases of breast and prostate cancer. Their reasoning was that light decreases the production of melatonin, which triggers your body to sleep. I question, however, the fact that areas with more light are probably big cities, which have more people and, thus, a higher number of people with breast and prostate cancer. I guess I'll just have to hit up pubmed.com to read the actual article. It's like I'm back in college already! But, we both decided that we are going to sleep in complete darkness from now on. We'll call it Operation Nightlights-No-More.
-The use of Teflon pans causes low fertility in women. Grammy also read something that said they cause cancer, but she also told me we're not going to stop using them unless they're scratched because they are so nice to cook with. Rebels!
-One article we read said that omega-3's will make you happier, so Grammy said: "There's my good old fish oil! Those omega-3's will perk me right up!" She's a vitamin popper.
-We also discussed a study we had read a while ago stating that more sleep=more weight loss:
Grammy: I also saw that another trick for weight loss is getting enough sleep!
Julie: Oh yeah! It said 8 hours!
Grammy: We should be so skinny you could see right through us!
Julie: Too bad we like to bake.