When my husband announced that we were part of the new Chicago
Wellness program, I grumbled. After all, this city-wide initiative
would require me to skip breakfast the morning of my scheduled
blood draw. Instead of diving head-first into a jar of Nutella, I
would be hungry, grumpy, and several milliliters shy of my normal
blood supply. I like my blood. We're kind of attached.
My staunch opposition wavered as Joe explained the $50 monthly
charge that would be applied to all rebel forces unwilling to shed
their blood in the name of medical testing and actuarial science. I
thought about putting together an insurgent group to fight the evil
empire and destroy the mighty Death Star, but then my husband
reigned me in with reminders about "reality" and not listening to
"the voices" again.
Still, my inner conspiracy theorist remained. What if my avowed
enemies (the fashion people who keep adding Spandex to jeans and
the entire Kardashian clan) got ahold of my now-public blood? They
could plant it at crime scenes. I would be framed for some heinous
act simply to keep pear-shaped women believing that spandex jeans
are actually their friend.
But then I considered that $50 again. That's 12 jars of
I scheduled my blood draw while Joey was in preschool.
The nurse was very nice with her clipboard and paperwork. She
took my blood pressure, stuck me with a needle, and asked for my
height and weight. I didn't even lie, mostly because I didn't trust
her not to actually throw me on a scale if I tried to get away with
135 pounds. I left feeling good that I had done my part to give the
city an accurate representation of Nutella-eating Chicago mothers
who indulge in a little Mike's Hard Lemonade now and then.
I forgot about the whole thing until I received my official
wellness report a few weeks later. Every participant is assigned a
number (0-100). A zero means you are in perfect health and you've
probably eaten nothing but twigs and berries since you were 2. A
score of 100 is a sign to get your affairs in order and quickly bid
farewell to loved ones.
I flipped through my various readings: low blood pressure, low
cholesterol, low glucose, low triglycerides. And then I saw my
health score: -20. That's NEGATIVE 20. I've even linked a copy of
my report, click
here to view.
I'm practically immortal.
My listed wellness "goal" for the next screening is to stay
between 0 and negative 20. From what I can decipher, the city of
Chicago has just green-lighted my highly suspect diet and exercise
regimen. For those looking to improve on their own numbers, here is
a little insight into what comprises a score of negative 20:
Breakfast: ½ jar of Nutella or one large bowl of Cocoa Puffs
Snack: Pot of coffee with the new Bailey's flavored creamer
Lunch: Leftover Little Caesar's Pizza from last month
Snack: Can of Red Bull
Dinner: Whatever is left on the kids' plates when they are
finished (nuggets, Macaroni & Cheese, hot dogs) with one Mike's
Hard Lemonade (cold)
Snack: Count Chocula treats ("chocolatey cereal bar with
Exercise: Weekly tennis lessons spent mostly retrieving errant
balls and talking to moms about where milk is on sale
Fruits/Vegetables: Strongly discouraged
If the Chicago Wellness people want to contact me for speaking
engagements and diet-planning expertise, I am available. I'm also
thinking a book deal might be in the works along with a multi-year
spokeswoman gig for Nutella. I could be the new Jared.
Seriously, this whole thing does make me appreciate the role of
genetics in overall health. I have two living grandmothers in their
90s. Every time I remind my husband of the longevity of the women
in my family, he looks nervous. There will be no reprieve from me
or my many voices.
Yet if I drop dead suddenly, please inform the cops to take a
good, hard look at the Spandex manufacturers of America.
Marianne is mother of three sons and the wife of a southside Irish fireman. She has learned that sometimes you're just too dumb to know what makes you happy. She blogs regularly at We Band of Mothers (webandofmothers.com) and curses with even greater frequency. Her material is written for the imperfect, the imprudent, and the impatient mothers who know that all this stuff is really very funny if you just give it a minute.
See more of Marianne's stories here.
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