In my prior life, when I had a day off -- solo, that is, I would go surfing. Or to a museum. I would break a sweat on my road bike or wander up and down Valencia in SF, taking notes.
Now, when given nine unencumbered hours on a weekday, I fill my cup by going to grocery stores (three), hardware stores (two) and the doctor (one) -- the doctor who happens to have an office directly across the street from the senior community where my parents lived before they passed away in 2014 (mom) and 2016 (dad).
I'm fairly certain I chose him as my primary care physician so I could take the foray into their neighborhood to do the drive-by before or after every appointment. It's important to make sure the new owner is preserving the place with the same TLC my parents employed, I rationalized. Totally normal. Just monitoring the maintenance. Ya know, making sure there's water in the bird bath.
So yes, I make the completely optional appointments so I can drive by their house, slowly, straining to see my mom's plants, my dad's lawn. So slowly that the always-home neighbors make an excuse to come outside. Just in case.
But not today. Today, on my Sonoma County Cesar Chavez day off, I had legit reasons for seeing my PCP. For starters, I needed the good doctor to dispense Hepatitis A and B vaccinations because I work with homeless victims of crime, a highly vulnerable population. We also had to check in on how the newish HRT is going. Reader's Digest report out: stellar! Highly recommend the estrogen patch. Finally, as a postscript, a side-note, a fucking afterthought, the doctor would interpret the results of my recent blood workup.
Granted, it had been awhile (like since I was pregnant with my third of three daughters in 2003), but I was cocksure.
I'm healthy. I work out most days: practice yoga, press elliptical pedals, sling light weights, run the golden retriever at the Helen Putnam pocket park, ride the road bike on the weekends.
I also take just enough ibuprofen PM and melatonin to sleep all the way through the whole night!
And did I mention, dear doctor, that I meditate every morning for up to twelve minutes? And that haven't had meat since I was 19?
Which is why Dr. Nonplussed's furrowed brow, when he pulled up my results on his laptop, was an acute kick in the sternum.
Um, your vitamin D is subpar. You need at least 5000 mg / day. (Excuses, parenthetically noted). (Damn the 8a - 5p mostly-indoor job.)
You're deficient in Omega 3. Commence fish oil, if you would. A lot of it. (Hello? I'm an aspiring pescetarion, but not quite there.)
You have a (serious) zinc deficiency. (Supra.)
Also, an iron supp wouldn't kill you and will give you more energy. But don't take it for more than a month or two because then it could kill you. (Supra.)
You need to commence a multi for women, stat.
And run don't walk to get niacinimide to counter your history of BCCs and melanoma in situ. It will help prevent reoccurrence, as will this zinc-based, very expensive sunblock which actually reverses sun damage! (Shout out to aluminum-foil-like tanning "blankets" and baby oil on the Chi Omega rooftop from 1984 - 1988.)
Finally this. "Your homocysteine is low, which is a distinct marker for Alzheimer's. Prepare yourself."
Will do, thanks!
He said something else, but I couldn't register after hearing the A-word. I began moving as if underwater. I recalled my results from my 23andme test from the aughts, when my ex's agency helped launch it and we all got free DNA tests. Similar warning. Buried it in a suitcase somewhere with other painful realities.
This was not bad news, this was encouraging news, I thought. FINALLY, someone gets me. My brain fog and short-term memory challenges are not my fault! They will also be fixed, I was sure of it, with my new I'm-50+-Supplements Regimen.
I left posthaste -- fog-halo still expanding -- and drove directly to my parents' community. To my dismay, a white pickup truck pulled in just ahead of me and purposely (I was sure of it) drove 5 mph (the posted speed limit, alas) all the way to my parents' cul-de-sac ... into their driveway.
Of course it was Dave, the man who bought their home. What were the chances? Very Celestine Prophecy.
A rational person would not have followed him into the cul-de-sac, pulled up alongside his truck, introduced herself, made small talk and commenced crying upon noticing her mother's hummingbird feeders hanging off the carport behind him. Full of sugar water. Maintained.
Thankfully, Dave, like me, was more limbic than rational that day. His kind eyes met my gaze, unwavering, while he graciously pretended not to notice my tears. "I wish I would have played golf with your dad," he said, "and learned all your mom's tricks for taking care of the birds and plants and everything else."
p.s. My mom was a gifted gardener.. She tended to everything with ease and joy, from orchids to aloe plants (the latter of which cured each and every one of my wounds in the '70s). I have an orchid on the windowsill above our kitchen sink ... to cherish and remember ... and aspire to be more like her.