Wednesday, November 22, 2017
Nothing is Free
I recently joined our private health insurance plan through work, as I think I mentioned before. One of the percs of this plan is free cinema tickets, which we can get through the insurance company website. So the other day I went to register.
First, the website wanted me to take a health survey. It asked about things like my weight and my smoking and drinking and exercise habits -- all the expected stuff. It also asked about certain specific conditions and recent tests, and then assigned me an "age" based on my overall health.
Now, I think I'm a pretty healthy person. I don't overeat and I'm not overweight, I walk everywhere, and I drink in moderation and don't smoke at all. I don't have any long-term health issues as far as I know.
But this stupid survey assigned me an "age" of 54, which is three years older than I actually am, entirely because of my cholesterol levels. When I got my most recent blood test it detected higher than normal LDL cholesterol (the "bad" cholesterol). This isn't unusual -- every time I've had a cholesterol test done, even in my youth, it's given a similar result. (My HDL and triglycerides, whatever those are, are fine.)
And yet, in my family, there's no history of heart disease. My mom also has high cholesterol and she's 80 -- although, granted, she was on statins for several years. I'm pretty sure I'm one of those people whose cholesterol level is genetically high with no ill-effects. (I read something about how an LDL reading alone isn't enough to predict heart disease -- for one thing, there are apparently various types of LDL, some more damaging than others.)
I just can't see doing more to reduce my dietary cholesterol. I don't eat fast food, I don't eat processed food (except three or four McVitie's chocolate-covered biscuits, which I have for dessert most nights, but dammit, I'm allowed something sinful), I don't eat a lot of meat or cheese. Dave cooks with butter but I don't see that stopping -- even if I crawled to his feet gasping and clutching my chest he'd slap a hunk of butter in the pan for our next meal.
And then I learned that I have to update the web site with weekly measurements of how far I walk and how much I exercise and that kind of thing to get my tickets. This really annoyed me, because I thought I was going to have to go buy a Fit Bit or something -- and if that's the case, what's the point of "free" tickets? But then Dave showed me that my phone records how much I walk, and has been since we bought it -- I had no idea.
I'll let you know if I ever successfully get to see a movie through this program. I'm not sure there are many movies I want to see this badly.
(Photo: Croydon, a couple of weeks ago.)