On most tests, the higher you score, the better you do. So naturally, when my doctor told me that I got over 300 on my cholesterol test. I thought this was a good thing.
“Last year it was 240,” he told me over the phone.
“Wow,” I exclaimed. “That’s amazing. I didn’t go up that much the second time I took the SAT’s!”
“240 wasn’t good to start with,” my doctor said seriously. “300 is terrible. We need to bring it down.”
“Well, what’s considered normal,” I asked.
“Less than 200,” he said.
He informed me that my LDLs were high, which was bad, but my HDLs were also very high, which was good, and my triglycerides were very low, which was also good. Soon my head started to hurt, which was bad, and I decided that all this talk about my cholesterol levels was worse for me than my actual levels so I hung up and went into the kitchen to make a steak sandwich.
Later that week, after having received no less than a dozen phone calls from my doctor to see if I’d had a stroke, yet, I decided I should probably look into this whole cholesterol thing.
“Hey Mom, does anyone in our family have extremely high cholesterol levels,” I asked her.
She laughed, a long, hearty laugh. “Your brother and I are both over 300. So was your grandmother.”
AHA! “And is there any history of stroke or heart disease in the family,” I continued.
“No, None at all,” she said in a bored tone. Clearly, she’d had this discussion before with her own doctor.
“So what does this mean?” I asked, desperate for some glimmer of understanding.
“We’re a family of cholesterol weirdos, “ she responded.
My concerned husband sat waiting expectantly.
“What did your mom say,” he asked.
“She said we’re a family of weirdos,” I responded.
“No news there,” he replied.
Satisfied that I was merely an anomaly and not a walking cardiovascular time bomb, I called my doctor and gave him the good news. He, however, was not as convinced, and insisted that I immediately give up red meat, eggs and butter.
I agreed to a six-week low-cholesterol trial period and reluctantly gave up my membership to the Meat-of-the-Month Club.
Six weeks later I had my cholesterol retested.
“Good news,” said my doctor when he called with the results. “Your numbers are down.”
“Really?” I said. “By how much?”
“Ten points? That’s it?” I bellowed. “I gave up steak and eggs for six weeks and my cholesterol only went down by a measely ten points???”
“Yes, but it was the bad cholesterol than went down.”
“Oh, well then. That’s definitely worth celebrating,” I responded dryly.
“Can you stay on this diet?” he asked.
“Sure,” I said. “Just as soon as I finish this beef jerky.”
©2015, Beckerman. All rights reserved.
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