My friends seem to be travelling like there’s no tomorrow. Sweden was the destination of choice for Brittany. Katie and her husband went to the Baltics and Sweden. Chris went to Italian wine country. Alan and his wife are spending a month in Italy. Gina and her husband are toottling around Naples. Susana and her husband did Greece and Italy. Rulon and Heather did Peru. Not to be outdone, Tim and Michelle are done with Peru and heading for Ecuador as we speak. Rachel and Kate went to Crater Lake (which I missed after I cut short my 2019 bike tour).

I went to the doctor.

Yep. Aren’t you jealous?

I started with a fine case of Covid-19. My symptoms were mild but I was put on Paxlovid and told to keep away from people for 10 days. I fully recovered in a matter of days.

My doctor noticed that I hadn’t had a physical in several years. So I did that. My blood work came back with problems. Going for a physical is like getting your oil changed. Once the mechanic gets a look under the hood, you’re screwed. Well, in my case, my blood work showed elevated glucose levels, borderline pre-diabetic, in fact. The doctor told me to lay off drinking sugary sodas and fruit juices and eating carbs (of the non-whole-grain sort). I have complied pretty faithfully.

Alas, my blood work also showed elevated and rising cholesterol, and my LDL – the especially worrisome component – was way high. He told me to try changes to my diet, including eating salmon twice a week. Ok, just shoot me now.

So I’ve been doing some research, which is to say I’ve been watching two funny Canadian doctors on YouTube. I no longer drink OJ at breakfast. I have had about six cookies since early August. I feel really guilty whenever I eat red meat. Or oil. Or butter. Or eggs. (None of which I eat to excess anyway, but still.). The Canadian docs mentioned an odd study of ten people that found that Brazil nuts are almost as good as statins for lowering cholesterol. Damned if I can find any. Almonds will have to do. Also, eating lots of fruits and veggies is supposedly helpful but too many fruits can spike my blood sugar. I am doomed.

According to the Canadian docs, your cholesterol level is 80 percent genetics. So even if I ate salmon and Brazil nuts and oatmeal for every meal, I’d still have crappy blood cholesterol. Long story short, I go back for follow up blood tests in November. After the sure-to-be disappointing results, I’ll finally go on a statin and celebrate my genetic misfortune with a pepperoni pizza and some egg nog.

(On the plus side, my hemoglobin levels were still somewhat high, a benefit of riding at altitude for a month. Also, my weight – even now – remains well below my pre-tour porkitude.)

If you think my insides are bad, you should take a look at my outsides. My doctor did and referred me to a dermatologist. I booked an appointment for early October.

Since I was at the doctor anyway, I had my pandemic-delayed second pneumonia shot and my first shingles vaccine shot. I felt a bit like the family dog. Woof.

After the physical and the vaccines, I needed some good medical news so I went to my ophthalmologist. (If your insurance will pay for an ophthalmologist you should go to one instead of an optometrist. That way, you won’t have to find an eye surgeon when your retina detaches or your lenses fog over. Ask me how I know.) My intraocular pressure is under control thanks to my daily eye drops. And my optic nerve is in tip top shape.

Confident of not going blind, I decided to go to the dentist. I love my dentist but this visit he took a panaromic x-ray of my teeth. Surely he’d find all kinds of nasty dental disasters, right? Nope! Perfection! Okay, when you have as much hardware in your mouth as I do, perfection is a term of art. But not one tooth, crown, or cavity is on the verge of falling out.

On the way home I took a trip to the pharmacy and had a flu shot. It’s a good thing that vaccines don’t make you smell bad because otherwise I’d be reeking.

After a few weeks of relative medical calm, I went to the dermatologist. He apparently was having a sale on liquid nitrogen because he froze 21 lesions off my face and ears. Are we having fun yet? I thought I should get a prize or something but all he did was send me home with another prescription, for anti-dandruff shampoo, to be used on my face. My face has dandruff. Will wonders never cease?

In a couple of weeks, I’m going to get my bivalent Covid booster which has been delayed because I had Covid in late July. After that, it’s time for my blood to be re-tested and for my second shingles shot. Then comes the real fun.

In early December I’ll be having a colonoscopy. Don’t you wish you were me? I’m pretty sure NASA could learn a thing or two about propulsion from the folks that make the colonoscopy cleansing medication. I’m not looking forward to this procedure but it’s not my first rotorooter rodeo. (Come to think of it, the effect of the cleansing medication kind of looks like riding the mechanical bull in Urban Cowboy. Just try not to get thrown. Eww.) I think it’s my seventh or eighth time taking the fantastic voyage.

Once I get the colonoscopy scheduled, I will be setting up an appointment with a back surgeon. My spinal stenosis has steadily worsened since I came home from my tour. I suspect the epidural I had in April has worn off. I’m not in constant pain but, unless I am bent forward, I can’t do anything on my feet without discomfort. If the surgery and post-op rehab goes well, I’ll be all set to jump on my bike and do a tour in the spring.

Maybe I should have my head examined.