In celebration of Men’s Health Week we’re reposting this great kick-in-the-butt article to get all Dads to get a check up:
[this post was originally published on 01/01/2015]
I’m a guy. I don’t like visiting the doctor, mostly because it’s a waste of time and money. I’ve got an awesome man-body which can heal anything, and I’m pretty sure it’s the same man-body that every guy in Australia has. We are indestructible!
Um. Turns out I was wrong. I’m in health trouble.
As a dad it made me realise something I’d been too man-stupid to consider before: it doesn’t matter whether it’s bravado, fear or ignorance that stopped me from checking my health properly before. It’s not about whether I am scared of death or not. It’s not about me at all.
It’s about my kids having a dad.
A few months back, Phenom-A-Mum signed us both up to the local gym so that we could begin exercising and setting a better example for Little E (there probably isn’t much more he could learn from watching me sloth out). I had to go in for an introductory meeting with one of the PE teachers… sorry, personal trainers (but they totally remind me of my old sports teachers. I keep trying to forge my mum’s signature on a sick note) to set me up with an exercise regime.
The young lady rattled through the obligatory questions and then began wrapping a pressure band around my arm. “Just need to check your blood pressure and weight for a starting point.” The armband got tight, then deflated. The young lady’s cheeks didn’t. Her eyes were wide with alarm and she blurted, “You need to see a doctor immediately! I’ve never seen anyone with pressure that high. We can’t let you do any exercise, just in case.”
Huh? I don’t rattle too easily, but her overt reaction worried me a little.
So I did what all grown up men would do in this situation. I called my wife. And she panicked. Okay, so perhaps this is more serious than I had hoped. We booked in to see the doctor that afternoon and were graced with a sort-of lovely resolution. My earlier diagnosis had been incorrect but I was still in trouble.
I am nearly hypertensive. Which means blood pressure that is so high I am at serious risk of a stroke, and heart problems.
This wouldn’t be a huge surprise for an older dad perhaps, but I’m only 35! As far as I knew I could keep living my not-spectacularly-healthy lifestyle until I was at least 50 with nothing to worry about beyond putting on a couple of kilos. I am the man who answers the question “What would you like to eat?” with “Anything that can kill me!”
A dad in his mid-thirties with a two year-old and one on the way. What would happen if I died? Even worse, what if I was left paralysed by a stroke? This wasn’t really a hypothetical anymore. Phenom-A-Mum would be on her own to support and raise two children with no financial help from her ‘creative’ husband who hasn’t a cent to leave her. And my amazing kids would only know their dad from old photos.
I struggle to type that without tearing up. The thought of it absolutely breaks me.
How would your family fare if you died early?
Luckily, I accidentally got a glimpse into the Lucky 8-ball. I did some research and changed my life. I now go to the gym twice a week and work out; anyone who knows me will likely find it difficult to imagine. I’ve always been very anti-gyms and the wankers who make bedroom eyes at themselves in the mirrors as they flex (I actually fear being those tossers so much that I work-out with my back to the mirrors. The regulars give me funny looks). I’ve also changed my diet and managed to lose 9% of my body weight. I’ve cut back on carbs and cut out sugar.
The doctor checked my blood pressure a few days ago and… taran-tara! There has been no change (insert deflated trumpet sound here). A little bit of a downer after all of the work I’ve put in, but it’s also ammunition to keep me focused.
I’m fighting for two amazing kids.
So here is my request for every dad out there: Make a New Years Resolution and go see your doctor.
Just get a check up to make sure you don’t have anything to worry about. Do this every January; it’s only once a year. And if you are a mum reading this, give your partner the phone right now and get him to book an appointment.
Men don’t like seeming weak and visiting the doctor, but a little loss of pride is better than horrible possibilities coming true, that your kids will have to live with forever.
Have you had a health scare that made you think twice?
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