Friday, October 31, 2008

So far, so good!

Well, I just heard from my insurance agent. The results were, in his words, "nearly perfect" and I was being offered preferred rates for the upgraded life insurance policy.

That's the short story. I'll tell you more in a bit. Let this first part serve as a warning. This sort of relates to motorcycling. The title of the blog has the word "musings" in it. Here's some of that. If information on my personal health is more than you care or want to know, you may be excused now! See you for the next post. Of course, you'll always be wondering what you missed.

Part of what's required to successfully ride a motorcycle is being in reasonable physical shape. Despite the fact that riding is mostly mental, there's a certain precision of physical skill execution involved. Not to say that we need to be in perfect physical condition. How many riders would there be if only perfect physical specimens could ride? Harley Davidson released a statistic regarding the average age of their buyers. If I remember correctly, it was 47 years. There's bound to be some physical imperfections there, I'm sure!

Realistically speaking, then, riders need to be aware of those kinds of limitations and adjust accordingly. Whether it be sight, hearing, bodily weakness, and so on, these limits need to be heeded. On the plus side, I think having a passion for something like riding, and teaching riders in my case, can help keep us healthier. Is it the passion itself that makes us better off? Or is it the subconscious desire to keep healthy enough to enjoy our passion?

Bear with me. I'll get to the meat of the matter pretty soon. It's a rainy morning. I have a hot cup of coffee in hand and I'm not really in any sort of hurry to get anywhere with any speed.

Riding means that there's a certain level of risk acceptance. That's a whole discussion by itself and I'm not going to conduct it right here. No matter how good my skills, there's still a chance I could get killed on a bike. I try really hard to avoid that possibility. Still, though, it's one of a hundred things that could end my earthly existence. Which brings me to the point. I know, finally.

I've seen too many wonderful ladies left destitute when their husbands die. Sometimes that's just the way it is because of the couple's financial situation. As long as I have the means to do so, I've determined that Katie won't be among that group. There's a few investments stashed away. I've maintained a life insurance policy. A couple of circumstances came up that made me stop and jump through a few hoops. I'm happy to announce that the jumping had a positive result.

My previous rates were locked in for 10 years. I recently received notice that the rates were about to start jumping up substantially in each upcoming year. However, if I cared to, I could submit new health information that might help lower the rates. What that boiled down to is that I've have to face that dreaded event called a physical exam!

It wasn't the actual event that put me off. From here on out in the post, I'm sharing from a guy's point of view. As a female, your results may vary. Statistics seem to show that the gals tend to be a bit smarter than us guys about these kind of things.

What worried me was what the results might tell me. I know so many guys with prescriptions for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, type II diabetes, and so on. Many of them are suffering unpleasant and, shall we say, unmanly side effects. Having seen the five decade mark come and go, I considered myself relatively lucky. No prescriptions but nagging doubts.

Was the lack of drugs because I really didn't need them or because I just didn't go to the doctor? If I subjected myself to him, would he find I'd been deluding myself? A lot of conditions are supposedly symptomless. Was I afflicted but blissfully ignorant?

Oh, I've been to the doctor a few times over the years. I have a high pain threshold so it's pretty major when I go in. Let's see. There was the broken bone in my right leg. I didn't really think it was broken so I walked around on it for three weeks. When it didn't feel better I finally went in. I swear it's true. Ask Katie. Better yet, Clinton reads this blog. He could tell you.

I went in once for a puncture wound that went all the way through my left hand from palm to back. Fortunately I had some antiseptic ointment. So I put some on the end of the sharp object then pulled it back out of my hand. The next morning I went in for a tetanus shot and some antibiotics. Have to be prudent, you know?

Then there was the five broken bones in my right hand. I probably would have went on my own, but I really had no choice. I was unconscious when the medics loaded me into the ambulance and took me to emergency.

Yes, I've lived the rough life of a Warrior!

I feel compelled to put in a disclaimer. The smart thing to do is to get regular checkups. Things can be detected and corrected before they are bigger problems. That's the smart thing. I, however, am like a lot of other guys. We don't go like we should. It's worse for me because I have a pretty macho attitude. It ain't right but it's me. If you have to be brutal about it, then, you might say the smart thing is to not be like me.

Anyway. It was time to deal with the life insurance thing. Money is important. So is taking care of Katie. So I bit the bullet and went in for the physical. While I was at it, I decided to bump up the policy. Money doesn't go as far as it used to. Don't tell Katie, though. Incentive, you know?

The nurse drew blood. And some more. Blood pressure was checked. Height and weight. Poking and prodding. No lecture from the doctor. Was it the lack of a need or the look in my eyes? Soon they let me go. Now came the waiting.

You know how the mind takes things and chews on them? There was a lot of that going on. I could see pill bottles, or worse, poised to enter my life. Finally, the call came.

It was my agent from State Farm. He told me that the results were, in his words, nearly perfect. Blood pressure great. Cholesterol levels fine. Height and weight in agreement. No diabetic indications present. In fact, State Farm was offering me their best preferred rates and would lock those rates in for another 10 years.

Another bullet dodged. Life's good!

Miles and smiles,



Bryce said...

Over 50 (half century)!
Under 100 (a full century)!

Consider yourself blessed!!!

At 60 years of age the whole world fell apart.
Confirmed diagnosis of Lupus, subset Sjogren's Syndrome..affects vision and the kidneys.
Vision OK, kidneys not, left one malignant.
Removal of same along with spleen,
both loaded with cancer. Confirmed
diagnosis of Non-Hodgkins Lymphona and followed by many months (still ongoing)chemo. General weakness of
the physical body, messed up brain cells. And most of my life have been deeply depressed or just messed in the mind. Tend to be a loner, and after reading your own
health report, figure you're doing just fine.

Watch your backside though, the next few years could be deadly, or at the very least troublesome.

Lovely day here October 31 on the verge of All Hallows Eve.

Shall be out with like minded
friends at midnight waiting for
the change of seasons and beings.

Black leather de riguer eh?

Tinker said...

High Cholesterol, High Blood pressure, type two Diabetes, and a fist full of drugs for breakfast? YO!
I am that person. Throw in a few strokes, and you got yourself a deal!

Seriously four recorded and detectable strokes, most severe one was perceptible to the untrained non doctor. Pretty much better now, but driving a car makes me a lot tenser than is good for me. I hung up my silly string back driving gloves.

I still ride, my Honda is on its way to being antique (1978 CB400A Hondamatic). Yes, I'd like to replace it but there are pretty much no replacements that fill the grade. Maybe a paint job?

I though the DN01 would do it, but it is around 600 POUNDS and only 680 cc? FAIL!

I couldn't afford it anyway. Fixed income, you know?

Steve Williams said...

I'm in that same place, time to redo my term policies. In my case Kim is covered fine between work policies and my pension, but I want to have something straightforward for my two daughters so I maintain term policies.

So I need to get another physical. Last year I had an extensive one and all was good save the doctor said I need to lose weight. I just packed all the extra Halloween candy up and put it out of sight. That will help right? At almost 6'3" and 208 lbs. I didn't think I was overweight but the doc says differently. He wants me at 185. Thank god my Tourmaster Overpants have an adjustable waistband.

As bryce said the coming years could change dramatically. My father ended up with type II diabetes at sixty. Same height as me but 20 pounds heavier. My doctor feels I could end up their if I don't take care...

Lucky said...

Glad to hear that you're still in good shape, regardless of mileage! Consider yourself lucky. At only three and a half decades, I've already got cervical spondilosis (osteoarthritis of the neck) with a smattering of psoriatic arthritis in the joints... Oh yeah, and traces of Eagle Syndrome! Still, I manage with physiotherapy, yoga (hey - don't laugh), and no meds. I figure the longer I can get by without the use of pills, the better.

On the plus side, I've now got a built-in barometer, as my knees usually let me know ahead of time if rain's coming ;-)

Still, I forget most of that crap when I'm riding. As long as I still feel confident that I can handle two wheels, it will be my escape.


Arizona Harley Dude said...

After 55 years there are some mornings the old joints let me know I'm not young anymore. I went through that same doctor stuff a couple of years ago and he told my my blood pressure was high. I looked at him and said, "I wonder why," as he was snapping on the rubber glove and telling my to bend over.

Earl Thomas said...

I had to deal with physicals every twelve months back when I used to fly, hated it. The A.M.E. (Aviation Medical Examiner) said that I had a condition that was common among pilots. He called it "White coat syndrome". Every single time I went in for my flight physical my blood pressure would go through the roof due to the anxiety of failing the physical and being grounded for medical reasons. I had to spend all day in the doctors office until my B.P. came down to "Normal" levels.

It was a medical issue that eventually did end my career as a pilot about ten years ago. Pretty humbling for a guy who took his health more seriously than most.

I recently had to take a "Heart stress test" to rule out the possibility of any heart problems that may have been related to the numbness that I was feeling in my left arm (Turns out it was a pinched nerve from a prior snowmobiling accident that caused the numbness). If you're an analytical geek who is obssessed with your physical abilities, I recommend taking one of these tests. Where else are you going to be able to monitor yourself on an E.K.G. while running as hard as you can on a treadmill with a doctor watching closely and two paramedics standing by in the hallway with a gurney. It was awesome! (I'm disturbed, I know).

When my doctor got the results of the stress test he said that for a guy my age (38), I "Kicked the sh*t out of that test." His words not mine. That was one of the funnest physicals that I've ever had.

I'm at that age now, where I feel that I have to start taking care of that 50 year old man that I will become in the not so distant future; it's important for me to start taking care of him now to try to lower the odds of having any "Preventable" medical issues that may arise in the future.

Here's to your good health Dan.


Heinz N Frenchie said...

Hey there, congratulations on passing your physical checkup with flying colors. After reading the comments here, wow, you are probably really thanking your lucky stars. Wishing you many more years of great physical checkup success.

R.G. said...

My wife always pestered me to go in to get a physical and I constantly found a reason not to. I looked at doctors as being like car mechanics. You go in for one thing and they find several other things that are wrong. High blood pressure runs in my family but I was in denial that I had it. I would get myself into as zen like state of mind as possible then take my own BP until I got the number I wanted to "prove" to my wife I was right. Eventually I caved and sure enough he said I had high BP. When I told him I didn't want any meds he explained what Hypertension can do to a persons organs..uh..."give me the meds." Best thing I ever did. It has made me a much calmer person. I can't believe my ego caused me to live so many years so wired.

Bryce said...

Off side additional comment.

Dan's primary transportation is a motorcycle. So what happens if he is unable to ride the machine; does he have an alternate form of transportation over and above Sophie, which is for sale.

If his wife Katie rides, she has her own machine?
Does the family own a four-wheeled vehicle? NOT a Prius I would think. Just wondering.

I know of only one other who have no vehicles of their own. They live in a suburb of Montreal and both use transit to go to and from work. They also own four BMW motorcycles of varying vintages. If they need to go a great distance in non-riding weather, they either take the train or rent an automobile.

Dean W said...

I have the uncommon experience of seeing Dan climb out of a pickup- and not the Team Oregon truck that pulls a mobile unit.

It was... unnatural. ;)

Tinker- you need an automatic? It probably doesn't fit your budget, but go check out the Aprilia Mana.

Tinker said...

I have the 1978 Honda 400 Hondamatic, because it is cheap, mostly and a rather historic machine, not much power is the downside, but I have it in tip-top condition. Runs beautifully, but sitting parked in the sun, these days, and thats not good.

I'll probably sell it soon, and go back to a scooter (Burgman 400?) or maybe a bicycle if I do not have to eat too much Granola (or wear a dirdnl skirt).

No I do not need an auto transmission, but in rush hour traffic my braking muscles would wear down so that I had to pull off the road and park it for a while. Cramps, caused by the BP meds I am taking. And the same era 750 is 100 pounds more than the 400.