Monday, June 13, 2005

I get press releases, Volume 15: Checking up on Mitch

I'm sure most long-time readers of this feature are probably wondering the same thing as the 19 Minutes staff: In the months since we learned about how to combat dry skin on your next Antarctic swim, what has Risë Jill Miller been up to?

Since we missed her at the Pulitzer ceremony, it took until the latest audio news release wound up in the 19 Minutes Inbox to find out:

MEN: TAKE CHARGE OF YOUR HEALTH DURING MEN'S HEALTH WEEK!

Transcript:

Risë: WOULD YOU DRIVE YOUR CAR WITH A FLAT TIRE? I'M RISË JILL MILLER.

MOST MEN TAKE BETTER CARE OF THEIR CARS THAN THEIR BODIES. WHY DO SO MANY MEN FAIL TO GET REGULAR CHECKUPS?

Doctor Mulhall: "Men who are lost don't like asking for directions, and the same applies to their bodies. Many men don't feel comfortable raising health-related questions or concerns with their doctors."
Sounds like a pretty solid topic so far. One that might even be worth an actual news story. Good thing they buried the lead, or this might not be entertaining at all:

DR. JOHN P. MULHALL OF THE WEILL MEDICAL COLLEGE OF CORNELL UNIVERSITY.

Doctor Mulhall: "30 million men in America are affected by erectile dysfunction, or ED, but sexual health is a topic many men do not feel comfortable talking about. What they don't realize is that ED may be a sign of more serious problems like diabetes, heart disease, or depression!"

SOMETIMES THE BIGGEST OBSTACLE FOR MEN IS STARTING THE CONVERSATION.

Doctor Mulhall: "Millions of men have already gotten treatment for ED. For tips on talking with your doctor, or to find an ED-expert in your area, visit sexual health doctors dot com." [Mitch's note: Dr. Mulhall is a pretty quotable guy, it seems...]

GET IN THE DRIVER'S SEAT AND TAKE CONTROL OF YOUR HEALTH DURING NATIONAL MEN'S HEALTH WEEK, JUNE 13-19. CALL YOUR DOCTOR OR VISIT SEXUAL HEALTH DOCTORS DOT COM.


I actually had a physical exam recently, by which I mean February. Of 2004. I call that "recently", because I had skipped my previous annual check-up. And the previous one. And the 13 before that, as well. I felt a little sheepish about mentioning that fact when I finally went in for a check-up, until my doctor thought for a moment and determined that it had been something like six years since his last physical.

And I'd submit to you that most guys are probably on the 5-to-10 year plan, and that we probably could stand to go more often. But for most of us, our not-going-to-the-doctor thing has as much (or as little) to do with erectile dysfunction as it does with the NHL lockout, or the value of Treasury bills.

Basically, we're wimps.

I, personally, am a hypochonriacal wimp. I've been one as long as I can remember, but it really took hold in my Anatomy and Physiology class in 10th grade, when I discovered an odd lump on the right side of my upper back, which led to several hours of panicking, until it turned out to have been my shoulder blade. (On the other hand, I can still tell you the actual term for the shoulder blade is the "scapula", which means the class wasn't a complete waste of time.)

I've had more maladies than I can count (Why can't I count that high? Maybe it's a brain disease...), affecting most of my major organs. In college, I'd read an article about a famous person's tragic demise, and start to mimic the symptoms I read about, until I'd find out that the person's symptoms were actually a result of the treatment for the disease, rather than the disease itself.

About 12 years ago, I was sure I was slowly developing a rare metabolic disorder as my hair wound up in my shower drain faster than on the top of my head. This, despite the fact that roughly every male in my extended family has, well, a similar malady. (Huh. I wonder what it could be. Certainly, it couldn't be...BALDNESS!!!)

And to this day, while I'm better about it, the hypochondria has never quite gone away. Last week, my wife and I both were slammed with the stomach flu. Despite the fact that we each got it within hours of each other, and that my symptoms were not only exactly the same as hers, but the same as our friends who had the same illness earlier in the week, and the same as our one-year old's, the little hypochondriac's voice in my head piped up: "You know, your stomach was pretty acidy before you actually got sick. Maybe it's an ulcer..."

But fortunately for me, I'm a parent. And parenting means caring more about your child than yourself. Which is why I'll compile a laundry list of symptoms to ask the pediatrician about. (No Mitch, I don't think you're suffering from colic... )

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