Fit to be a Wonder Woman… or not.
Sometime first week of October 2017…
So there we were one morning, the hubby and I, waiting outside the clinic of our Orthopedic Surgeon friend.
The hubby has been complaining of back pains for several days. After going to the gym and then boxing and then cleaning the garage, his back started aching (I blamed the house chores but he didn’t find it funny). He tried to dismiss the discomfort for some time until he couldn’t anymore, so off we went for a consult with our favorite ortho.
As we waited for his turn, I noticed a sign in the clinic that says “free bone density test upstairs.” I teased the hubby about it. Told him he probably needed it because of his age and because he was complaining of back aches. He just shrugged.
Finally we were inside the doctor’s clinic. The good doctor asked what was wrong, hubby told her about his routine, then she made him do some bending– front, back, left side, right side, a little squats, etc. She said there doesn’t appear to be any broken bones since the pain isn’t excruciating. There’s no swelling, either. It was most likely just muscle pains. He was given some pain medication and we were told to just observe for a few more days.
I, on the other hand, was not done teasing the hubby, and wouldn’t let up. So I blurted out, “There’s a bone density test upstairs. Maybe he should take it!”
The doctor’s face lit up when she remembered the test and said, “Oh yes! That’s free. Why not take the test?” I gave my husband a smug look.
“Women have higher risk of osteoporosis and weakening bones.” she continued.
Only then did I realize that she was talking to ME. Not my hubby-with-the-back-pains. Her full attention was directed towards me.
“How old are you again?” she asked. I was so tempted to give her a fake age (like I always do when asked), but she’s a doctor so I couldn’t lie. When I told her how old I was, she replied, “Go ahead. Take the bone density test upstairs. It’s free anyway! Just come back to me for the results. It won’t take long.”
Okay, so my teasing pretty much backfired.
Half an hour later, bone density test done, we were back at the orthopedic doctor’s clinic… And she was giving me tips on how to strengthen my bones.
Suffice it to say, I failed the bone density test miserably. No, I don’t have osteoporosis* yet, but my results were pretty much gearing towards that end. I got a negative T-score which meant I had low bone density (medical term is osteopenia). And it was a high negative, ergo closer to osteoporosis… and I mean really close.
Osteo- what?! Weak bones?? All I could think of was — At my age?! But I’m still young!
I was in a daze as the doctor rattled along. “Your bone density is way below normal so you are more prone to bone injuries and fractures. But you can still fix that by drinking milk… Walk in the mornings so you’ll get a good dose of Vitamin D… Exercise to strengthen your bones. Do these before your bones get brittle.”
Milk? Sun?! Exercise??!! Is she enumerating the things I dislike? I never liked drinking milk… In fact, coffee flows through my veins!… I totally loathe staying under the sun, getting all sticky and sweaty… And exercise?! Didn’t I just say that I don’t like getting sweaty? My idea of exercise is taking long walks — at the mall!!
Am I being punished??
“You need a lifestyle check,” she continues, “I don’t want you to just rely on calcium supplements, also to avoid developing kidney stones. So drink milk, eat veggies, have proper diet, sunlight for vitamin D, exercise. Do these first. We’ll do full body bone density scan after a year.”
She lost me at ‘You need a lifestyle check…’
On the side I could hear the hubby saying, “See? I have been telling you for the longest time to exercise. Not for aesthetics but to strengthen yourself,” he said emphatically. I felt like I was having an out-of-body experience. I heard voices but the words were swimming in my head.
Before leaving the clinic, still overwhelmed and very confused, I had one last question… “Looking at my bone density results, how old do you say are my bones?” I asked.
Without batting an eyelash, the doctor replied, “Oh, about ten years older than your actual age.”
And so we left her clinic that morning with my husband having muscle pains, and me having, well, weak bones.
Guess who came out the clinic with a smug look on the face? Wasn’t me. 😦
Watch out for My Fitness Journey Part 2!
*Osteoporosis is a condition of fragile bone with an increased susceptibility to fracture. Osteoporosis weakens bone and increases risk of bones breaking (source: Medicinenet.com). Osteopenia refers to bone density that is lower than normal peak density but not low enough to be classified as osteoporosis. Bone density is a measurement of how dense and strong the bones are. If your bone density is low compared to normal peak density, you are said to have osteopenia (source: Webmd.com).