Key to good health: Don’t ask |

Key to good health: Don’t ask

Janet Urquhart

I have low cholesterol. At least I did last month.And I can’t think of anyone less deserving. I’m talking medical miracle here.No one had drawn my blood and looked at it under a microscope, or whatever it is they do, for more than a decade. It was only under mounting pressure from a loved one that I finally agreed to have my “blood work” done (the real bleeding begins when I get the bill). When it comes to preventive health care, my philosophy could be summed up as: What you don’t know won’t kill you. Hey, it has worked so far. I was pretty sure checking for problems would turn up some – like everything short of malaria.I’ve got a family history of strokes/heart trouble that gives me stabbing chest pain just thinking about it, but two weeks before the day I was scheduled to have a syringe plunged into my arm, I made a feeble stab at skewing the results with some semblance of a healthful diet. I had, for example, several breakfasts of oatmeal before the big day, as if that would lower my cholesterol count by any meaningful margin. On the other hand, who am I to say it didn’t work?Either that or it was exercise. Who’da thought all the ballyhoo about regular exercise was actually legit?The night before I was scheduled to get my blood drawn – not long before the 12-hour fast that’s required for a diabetes test (the onset of which I was convinced was imminent) – I pretty much said “what the hell” and downed a basket of tortilla chips and a couple of margaritas. I figured, if I was going to shell out several hundred bucks for a metabolic shakedown, I might as well get my money’s worth.Then, awaiting the results, I spent the next week like a pirate on shore leave, bingeing on the assortment of foods I was sure would be declared off-limits by my physician the moment she glanced at the you’ll-be-dead-soon numbers on my chart.Instead, she left a phone message informing me that I’m in great health. I’ll have to take her word for it, as I can’t decipher the meaning of virtually anything on the two-page printout I was provided.All I know is the numbers for HDL and LDL cholesterol (one of them is bad, right?) are both under 100, which is optimal, according to the report. Given my age and gender, my coronary risk ratio is low, the report indicates.This probably means I’ll be hit by a bus.In the meantime, I’ve been eating and drinking with impunity. Macaroni and cheese? No problem. I’ve got low cholesterol. Extra cheese, please. I’m eating bagels and lox, but I’ve been a little lax on the exercise routine.In other words, ever since I found out I’m fine, I’ve done my best to undo my good health.Which brings me back to my original premise – what you don’t know won’t kill you.Janet Urquhart ordered a side of fries for the first time in recent memory. Her e-mail address is