It’s time to get serious about watching what family eats

My father passed away at 62 years old; his father died at 55, and his at 49. Last week I turned 45. Genetics being what it is, I decided years ago to begin the ritual of the annual physical exam. It happened again just a couple of weeks ago.

It seems like only yesterday that I’d go in for a battery of tests, wait up to a week, and then a nurse would call to give me those results. There was one time when I was in a movie theater and didn’t answer the phone. The nurse left a message that was partially unintelligible, leaving me in a mild state of panic overnight until I could reach them again on the phone. I was fine.

The communication in the medical field has finally caught up with the advances of medical care. At the office, I signed up to receive lab results and any other missives from my doctor and her staff via email and Internet.

This is good news. I had my lab results within two days and didn’t have to keep my phone at the ready no matter where I was. It’s also bad, though, for a middle-age hypochondriac. Now I can pore over those results the same way I did WebMD that night after the movie when I thought the nurse might have said I have smallpox.

There is more good news: I’m reasonably healthy for a 45-year-old father of four. The only concern is my high triglycerides, which the Internet tells me is “fat in the blood and used to provide energy to the body.” That doesn’t sound all bad to me, but the note from my doctor on the virtual chart tells me I should cut down on carbohydrates and sweets. I love my doctor, but this seems excessive.

There are other items on the chart as well. Anion Gap. Creatinine. Neutrophil. I don’t know what any of that is, and I’ve promised myself I wouldn’t look, especially since they don’t appear to affect my intake of spaghetti and ice cream.

About that change in diet, that blip in the menu. For 44 years I’ve eaten anything and everything I wanted without repercussion. Well, it’s time to pay the piper. Or the chef. The problem, though, is how we parents adjust meals for our own health reasons when we’re also responsible for feeding four other mouths. Not that they need all those carbs either, but they do need to eat.

And, boy, do they eat. A mountain of mashed potatoes. A moat of macaroni. A pile of pasta. I need to feed them, and there’s no way this group is going to cotton to the idea of eating something called spaghetti squash. Or with not sopping up that red gravy with half a loaf of bread.

I’m the oldest person in my house, and I need to start taking better care of myself. I plan to live a very long time and have many more meals with these kids, even if those meals are made up of kale, grapefruit and fish oil pills.

Link to The Commercial Appeal