The Jedi Master Of Husbands

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Unless you want to wake up someday to this, you’d best take care of yourself. Photo by the National Cancer Institute via Unsplash

Sometimes it seems that half of my occupation as a physician is treating self-inflicted wounds. Were it not for drinking, smoking, and sloth I might have to get a real job. As a result, a fair portion of my professional day orbits around cajoling people into doing things they’d sooner not do.

Who can blame them? If given the choice, would you sooner eat a juicy hamburger and french fries or a bunch of sticks and twigs rabbit food? Is it more fun to curl up in front of a war movie with some buttered popcorn or go out and run three miles? Fate stacks the deck against me when I’m trying to convince folks to embrace a healthy lifestyle.

Everybody dies. Each year some 3.3 million Americans shuffle off this mortal coil. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in America, accounting for nearly 700,000 souls per annum. While there’s not a great deal you can do about your genes or your predilection for cancers, much of the risk of developing heart disease is indeed lifestyle-induced. We should all keep an eye on our blood pressure. If it comes in the left window of your car it is pure poison, and smoking is like shooting yourself in the head, albeit very slowly. However, there are medications that can help out with the details.

I admit that I just don’t get it. These things are nasty.
Photo by Andres Siimon via Unsplash

Statin drugs, in concert with lifestyle modification and blood pressure control, have been clinically proven to reduce your risk of heart disease. I have that talk with folks multiple times a day. I have been doing it for so long I can chat cholesterol numbers while I think about what I’m going to have for dinner when I get home or silently craft my next GunCrank column in my head. Every once in a while, however, something surprises me.

Our hero presented with his wife in tow. I had known them both for nearly two decades. He looked pretty happy. She was giving him the stink eye. If you guys don’t know what the stink eye is, then you are clearly still single.

The man was the patient. I cheerfully inquired regarding what I might do for them. Neither person spoke. After a moment it began to feel awkward.

The woman broke the silence with, “You tell him what you did.”

This clearly wasn’t a request. The man remained stoically mute, a faint smirk on his face. An uncomfortable period of time passed.

Would you sooner eat this or some healthy vegetables?
Yeah, me, too. Photo by Mike via Unsplash

Yet further exasperated, the man’s wife continued, “Bob saw you a couple months ago, and you told him his cholesterol was too high. What did you tell him to do about that?”

I glanced over the chart and reviewed his lipid numbers. His labs were outside the normal range but not by a ridiculous amount. I opined that I had likely told him to watch his diet and exercise and perhaps consider starting some cholesterol medication. With that the woman veritably erupted.

“I knew it!” she spat. Her husband involuntarily let out a marginally-suppressed giggle.

“Would anyone care to explain to me what’s going on?” I asked innocently. The woman calmed down enough to elaborate.

“Bob came home that day and said that you had told him that his cholesterol was elevated and that he was at risk of developing heart disease.” So far, so good. “This man then explained that you had told him that the only way to manage his cholesterol was for us to have sex at least once a day without fail. He actually said you told him he would die if we didn’t.”

This doesn’t happen very often, but I was struck speechless.

She continued with renewed venom, “We went more than a month before I googled that.”

Marriage is a curious thing. Crafted by God Himself as a tool to synergistically optimize the unique contributions of each gender into a more powerful whole, this timeless institution has successfully carried the human species across millennia and through travails literally uncounted. A healthy marriage is based upon trust, sacrifice, and mutual respect. My own bride can attest that I may not be the world’s greatest at it, but I am undeniably sincere. This guy, by contrast, was the Jedi master of husbands. What a stud.

I had a good laugh, and the man’s wife even smiled a bit. I half-jokingly offered the use of my couch on the reasonable assumption that this gentleman was no longer welcome in his own home. In retrospect, living homeless in your car might just be a small price to pay for such an unconventional cholesterol treatment.

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