Taking care of my health is one of my main priorities. While I can’t vouch for my habits back in my 20s when I worked in the bar business and often saw that sliver of dawn sneaking up over the horizon, a bit fuzzy headed from too much partying and lack of sleep, I can say that over the last several decades, I’ve eaten right, worked out consistently, taken my meds, gone to the dentist pretty regularly, and did not overindulge … much.
The problem is, while it was once rather simple to follow healthy-living guidelines, today I am completely confused about what is good for me and what is not.
For example, I have always been rather proud that I never succumbed to the soda craze. My sweetie pie, by comparison, daily consumed about 64 ounces of sugary drinks and pummeled his poor pancreas into a sad little pulp. Though he has abandoned the liquid dark side, I can’t help but say “I told you so,” every once in a while, while imbibing my ever-so-healthy cup of tea.
But wait! This headline recently froze me in mid sip. “Hot tea may raise esophageal cancer risk.” The first paragraph delivered the bad news. “New research appearing in the International Journal of Cancer, finds an association between drinking tea at very high temperatures and the risk of developing esophageal cancer.”
I settled my china cup on its delicate matching saucer. (Yes, I drink from a china cup. I am not a barbarian.) Further investigation showed that anything over 150 degrees could be problematic, so I rushed to the kitchen for a cooking thermometer. I worried over that thermometer like a woman waiting on a pregnancy test. When the little red line reached the danger zone, I almost wept.
“My tea is killing me,” I said to my sweetie pie. “Esophageal cancer.”
He stared over the tops of his glasses.
I had also been rather delighted with my other beverage of choice. And when I learned that wine was good for my heart, well I couldn’t have been happier. Then, an article in The Lancet dashed my dreams. A new study proclaimed that, “alcohol consumption uniformly increases blood pressure and stroke risk, and there is no protective effect of low levels of alcohol consumption. The calculated “safest” amount was zero drinks per day.”
I calmed myself and was grateful that my doctor had managed to bend me to his will in regard to high blood pressure meds. For two years, I had refused to take the pills. After all, as previously mentioned, I did all the right things: I ate my fruits and vegetables, exercised, got my rest, and drank that glass of wine each day for my heart. Oh…wait.
Anyway, he finally got my attention after I complained that the pills were too expensive.
“So’s a wheelchair,” he countered.
“Got it,” I said, grabbing the prescription.
Then, after years of ingesting said meds, I got a letter in the mail explaining the following: “The FDA has announced a voluntary recall of several drugs that contain the heart drug valsartan because a possible carcinogen was found in the recalled products.”
So, high blood pressure meds might give me cancer. So might hot tea. And the safest amount of wine is … none.
I know what you’re thinking. Something’s gonna kill me.
I think I need a drink.
Maybe I’ll have a soda.
Blank Slate Press/Amphorae Publishing Group
Price: $16.95 Paperback, $9.99 eBook
As a Vietnam veteran and former Special Forces sniper descends into the throes of mental illness, he latches onto a lonely pregnant teenager and a group of Pentecostal zealots – the Children of Light – who have been waiting over thirty years in the Arizona desert for Armageddon. When the Amtrak Sunset Limited, a passenger train en route to Los Angeles, is derailed in their midst in a deadly act of sabotage, their lives are thrown into turmoil. As the search for the saboteurs heats up, the authorities uncover more questions than answers. And then the girl vanishes. As the sniper struggles to maintain his sanity, a child is about to be born in the wilderness.