This post may seem a little off my normal theme but there is a family childcare connection. First though, a little history:
I went to a family physician regularly for 15 years. He saw me through several of my pregnancies and delivered two of my children. His office was nearby and even after I opened my family childcare home I could make late day appointments that didn’t require me to close the daycare or hire a substitute. It was perfect – until suddenly he closed his practice.
I felt somewhat abandoned. Apparently there had been a notice in the classified section of the newspaper but I hadn’t seen it. I didn’t find out until I called to make an appointment and got the automated message. I was supposed to schedule a follow-up appointment to get test results and instead I was left scrambling to find a new doctor and discovered that few were accepting new patients.
When I did finally find a new physician there were issues with both his office location and his hours. His last appointment of the day was 4pm which would mean I would have to leave before 3:30 – earlier than any of my potential subs could arrive. His ‘early’ appointments were 10am and the one time I tried this he ran late and I had to leave before I got to see him – my sub could not stay any longer.
So, for the last seven years I have only seen my physician for annual checkups in July during my vacation. Every year he reports that I am his favourite type of patient – healthy. Still, although I was not actively looking, I did often think that it would be nice to have a physician that I could visit more than once a year – just in case…
Recently I heard of a clinic that had extended hours and they were accepting new patients. Their location was convenient too so I booked an appointment – on a Saturday! I went for my first visit and was very impressed. Then they called me back for a ‘follow up’. Hmmm, that’s different. I went back and sat in the doctor’s office as he matter-of-factly stated “Your cholesterol level is too high. You need to improve your diet, exercise, lose weight and we’ll check your levels again in a few months.”
What?!? I left the office feeling somewhat stunned. I’m all about healthy foods and an active lifestyle. I read the nutrition information for everything I buy. This doesn’t make sense. Maybe there was something I was missing?
I went home and did some research. I read lists of the ‘best foods to lower cholesterol’ – many of my favorite foods were there. Our entire menu revolves around whole grains, fruits and veggies. Nuts, they are not allowed on the childcare menu but I eat them. Fish – OK, this one is a bit of a problem for me. I manage to choke down fish occasionally but I find it difficult so I take an Omega 3 supplement daily.
I changed my search to look for the ‘worst’ foods. There were a few of my favourite ‘treats’ there – things like french fries and cheese. Yes, I love them but I also limit them. I don’t like red meat. There was nothing on the bad lists that I eat regularly.
Then I thought…does the season make a difference? Turns out that season can have an impact on cholesterol levels. I normally have my blood tests done in the summer when we spend all our time outdoors. We are indoors more in the winter – this year’s extreme weather has made it even harder to get outside to play. I’ve done a lot more snow shoveling this winter but it is still far less physical activity than what I normally get in the summer.
Maybe my cholesterol levels have been higher in the winter before and I just didn’t know. A visit to the doctor in the winter has given me a new perspective. Seems I’m going to have to make some adjustments.