The day after I boldly announced on Facebook that it was my plan to be a ‘Superager’ and live to be a 96-year old with the brain of a 25-year old because the New York Times told me how, I got the results of my annual blood test, the one I’d put off getting for three months because it was such a pain in the ass to not drink wine the night before and coffee the morning of.
It was the middle of the night. I’d gotten up to change something on a blog post written earlier and saw an automated email from the clinic saying my test results were available. I clicked. My cholesterol number was jaw-dropping, up almost 100 points from last year. Jesus H., I thought. I’m going to have a stroke. Probably tonight.
I went back to bed ready to detonate. I thought about how, after the blood test, I’d broken the fast, so to speak, with a Quarter Pounder with Cheese which I ate in my car, smug because I hadn’t ordered the fries. Fries aren’t good for you, you know. So I always feel righteous ordering a QP with Cheese, just the sandwich, like I’m evolved in some important way.
The next morning I went to the neighborhood market and bought brown rice and a giant sliced portabella mushroom. Today I sauteed them with vegetables in an iron skillet, the same one my sister used on her visits years ago to fry up a mess of bacon and three eggs which she would eat while drinking a Miller Lite. It was her diet plan. One really big pile of bacon and eggs, her one meal of the day, and a noon to midnight draw on Miller Lite. Her buzz was barely noticeable yet durable. Let’s say it kept her mind off eating. She was always very svelte.
After the clinic’s email and getting my statin prescription refilled, I Googled cholesterol up one side and down the other. I reminded myself about what I shouldn’t eat and what I should, hence the brown rice and the mushroom grown to look like steak. I read about exercise and the benefits of that nice glass of red wine. I resolved to buy darker chocolate and I adjusted the scale in the bathroom so it was exactly right. It clearly is a time for precision.
Then I thought about the past few months. The difficulty, the pressure, the responsibility, the wine. The soothing lunches at the historic hamburger place across the street from the hospital where my daughter was in intensive care, the stops at the local custard stand for a single scoop of butter pecan, the forks full of mac and cheese with steak from the noodle joint, and the wine. The holidays afterward the crisis, the relief, the celebration, the entitlement, the wine.
And then I finally Googled “drinking and cholesterol.”