The nurse was persistent. She reminded me of a Scottish terrier, which once it finds what it’s looking for, growls at it and refuses to let go. “Trust me, it’s in your own interests. Every man should come to see us at least once a year.”
“Okay, I’ll think about it.”
That was like a red rag to a bull. “No, don’t THINK about it. Just do it.”
Then she hit me with a guilt trip. “You should think yourself lucky. Many men would be glad of this opportunity! I’ll put you down for Thursday morning at 9.15.”
There was no arguing with that . . .
So what was all the fuss about? Well, I hadn’t attended my doctor’s surgery for over a year, so they thought it was time I was reined in. They run a ‘Well Man’s Clinic’ these days and they’re very proud of it.
When I got there the nurse was still shaking her head and ‘tut-tutting’ like a mother hen. Again she hit me with her irrefutable logic. “You put your car in for a check every year, don’t you? So what’s more important, your body or your car?”
And believe it or not, the ‘overhaul’ was really quite simple.
She asked a few questions, ticked a few boxes, did some routine tests like checking my blood pressure, then - ouch! - took a sample of blood from a vein in my left arm.
Not a word of sympathy! I got the distinct impression she’d had all she could take from men who never think about their health, but who create a fuss when they walk through the clinic door.
“This will be divided into smaller samples,’” she said matter-of-factly, “then sent off for analysis.”
The next part really impressed me. The nurse reeled off a whole list of things that would be tested from that one blood sample: thyroid activity, glucose levels, PSA level (which measures prostate activity), cholesterol level, blood count . . . and so on.
So far, so good. A few days later I was summoned back to the surgery for the results. I must admit, that day I was more than a little worried and had to force myself to keep the appointment. But I came away walking on air!
The results were normal. My blood pressure was as it should be, there was no sign of diabetes or high cholesterol. All fears had been groundless. I felt great.
Yet when I reached home, my heart was heavy.
You see, my own Dad died over ten years ago. His was a slow and painful death from prostate cancer. It deeply affected us all, but more especially his grandchildren, who adored him.
I’ll never forget the sad look on the face of the consultant as he told my mother: “If only we’d caught this sooner… It needn’t have come to this, you know.”
If only, if only …
If only there had been a ‘Well Man’s Clinic’ in my Dad’s day. If only he’d had the sense to have a medical check up every so often.
But who am I to criticise? My Dad was a typical man of his generation: - ignore health problems and they’ll go away!
So what was my excuse? Despite my Dad’s experience, despite the fact that I want to be here for my own family, for the children I teach and the ones I write my books for, I had to be practically dragged, kicking and screaming, for a routine check-up. Apparently I’m not alone. It would appear there are millions of men around the globe who HAVE clinics and check- ups readily available, but who won’t go for a simple ‘physical’. They’ll wait until problems are far advanced - and in many cases too far advanced!
Believe me, it feels great to know that your health is fine and that if any subsequent tests reveal a problem, it will be in the early stages and can be treated easily and effectively.
I now feel like shouting the good news from the roof tops - but I’ll have to make do with the internet:
Fellow Dads, get your heads out of the sand! Bite the bullet! Gather up your courage! Use whatever metaphor or image you like, but take yourselves down for ‘a physical’ and look after your health.
Follow the example of our wives and partners, who show sound common sense when it comes to health matters.
You owe it to yourself.
But more importantly, you owe it to your loved ones …
About the author:
Worried about your family? Frank McGinty is an internationally published author and teacher. To further develop your parenting confidence and encourage your kids to be all they can be, go to: http://www.frank-mcginty.com/peace-formula.html
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