My primary care physician, Dr. David Major, retired this year. I’ve been seeing him for about 25 years and have been very happy with him. Among other things, he listened to me. I’d usually come in with a list of concerns or questions, and he very patiently let me get them all out without interrupting.
He was about my age, so well past the arbitrary 65-year “retirement age”, but he told me several years ago that he liked to keep up with the latest medical advances, so he had no plans to retire.
Alas, health concerns overtook his plans, and he retired early this year in order to take care of his own health. In fact, his retirement letter to his patients was dated the day after my last appointment with him in January.
I hope he resolves those problems and goes on to a long and satisfying retirement life.
But in the meantime I needed a new doctor.
He was part of a practice that includes several other doctors, so my initial thought was to simply select another of them. When I spoke on the phone to the scheduling person, she initially had me down for a female, but as I explained to her, I have no problems with women doctors (most of the specialists that I see are women), but I’d prefer my primary doctor to be a man. She said she hears that a lot.
So she scheduled me to see Dr. Mortimer Strong, and I had my first appointment with him this morning.
My initial impression is very favorable, and I think he may have put his finger on the solution to two of my problems.
As I explained to him, for the past year or so I’ve been feeling not as alert as I think I should be. I don’t want to call it fatigue, that seems too strong a word, but I’ve been napping more and just not feeling as refreshed as I think I should. Also, I’ve been fighting the battle of the bulge, as in the last few years my waistline has expanded rather dramatically (for me) while my weight has only risen slightly. In fact, in the last six months I’ve lost six pounds from nearly daily 10-minute fitness workouts, daily 10,000 step walks, and reducing my caloric intake, but my waistline hasn’t budged. This is a special concern for me, not because of vanity, but because I can’t tolerate anything the least bit tight around my waist (I’ve been a suspender guy for decades).
I won’t go into all the details of our talk, but after asking me some questions and doing a short examination, he started asking me about my diet.
I eat salads nearly every day, I began.
“Bah! Salads don’t have protein. What about your breakfast?”
“Oh, I eat my own concoction of cereal.”
“What’s in it?”
“Rolled oats, sunflower seeds, walnuts…”
“Well, I add milk, of course, along with bananas, strawberries, and blueberries.”
“Ok, so there’s a little protein in the milk.”
Then I remembered that article I read a few weeks back that said seniors need to add more protein to their diets, so I added, “Oh, and I started adding a powdered protein supplement to my cereal.”
“How much protein is in it?”
I had to admit that I didn’t know off the top of my head. [I checked when I got home and it’s 14 grams in the quarter cup that I add.]
“You should be getting about 80 grams of protein every day.”
“But I eat fish, salmon…”
“What about your evening meal?”
“Usually just a couple ounces of mixed nuts, as I said I’m trying to…”
“There’s your problem. You’re suffering from malnutrition!”
Me? Malnourished? But I eat salads nearly every day. Oh, right. I’ve been so concerned about getting my daily vitamins and avoiding fats and sugars (the desserts that I sometimes make are about my only sugar intake) that I haven’t been getting enough protein.
Could that really be why I’ve been so drowsy lately? And why my waistline isn’t going down? He said there’s no fat on my waist, but there’s no muscle there either. My fitness efforts have been stealing muscle mass (protein) from my waist in order to add it to other areas.
After offering some more protein suggestions, he said he wants to see me again in three months. [I forgot to tell him that I also have a cup of plain whole milk yogurt at breakfast, but that’s only a few more grams of protein.]
Maybe, just maybe, his protein suggestion might make a big difference. Oh, and he also suggested I try some yoga or tai chi in place of the workouts I’ve been doing.
On my way home I stopped in the store and bought a rib eye steak.