I have to shamefully admit that it's been over a decade since my last trip to a doctor's office. That's any doctor's office, anywhere, for any kind of checkup. Sure, I've been to the emergency room several times. Even took a couple of trips to MEA. But those were only instances where the discomfort had become too much to bear. Either I was in pain or had a broken bone or some ailment that required immediate attention. I wasn't thinking about "being healthy."
I was like many other black males who avoided regular checkups. I figured as long as I played the part, there would be no need. I work out regularly, I stay away from fried foods, I don't eat pork or red meat, and I voluntarily cut down on my salt intake. Rappers don't live the healthiest lifestyles. So the years of drinking, fast food, stress and little sleep urged me to change many of my bad habits without doctor's orders. So I trimmed off some weight and lived a little cleaner. Still, I never saw a need to see a doctor.
But a few things changed for me this year. First, I lost my mother, a traditionally healthy woman who succumbed to diabetes and congestive heart failure. Stubborn as she was, she rarely listened to her physicians. The fact that I've had three uncles on my father's side die suddenly from heart attacks dictates the need to be more proactive.
Second, I married a wonderful woman, and we're expecting a beautiful baby girl. I want to stick around and grow old with them and our other three youngsters.
Third, for the first time since I worked at the Associated Press, I've got health benefits. That's right. See, as of today, rappers don't have health-care plans. We don't have 401K plans, either. The most successful are paying out of their pockets for care. And the full-time independent artist (which I am) who's not making millions still pays out of pocket, too, even though we've got some of the same expenses, and we work just as hard as someone sitting in a cubicle.
Luckily, our Farish Street Investment Team has insurance and after taking a deep breath, I called and made my first appointment in a long time. Unfortunately, a lot of folks in America can't. Even if they want to.
Men, if you have anyone that loves you, respect the fact that they want you to stick around. Regardless of color or creed, the most responsible thing you can do is go get yourself checked out. Even if you "feel" OK, take all the tests: blood pressure, cholesterol, prostate examthe works. You'll thank yourself later.
And that's the truth ... sho-nuff
Congrats on the new baby. Start he or she off right as a Steelers fan and they will enjoy many happy days. All the best to y'all. I noticed you were looking smaller and happier. You gotta stay around to see the baby grow up. I saw you and your band performing that song. You all sounded good. I din't know a rapper could hold a tune or note. I knew they could cuss though. Good luck on the music career too.
Don't let medical benefits and a few dollars stop you from being hard. I haven't miss a meal in a couple of scores and I'm still hard. Ask Ironghost!
Thanks Walt. It is bliss indeed. Bliss of course knowing that there are NO Steeler fans in THIS household lol
Thanks for the article. My own dad has made some changes in the past year, after being a smoker for over 40 years, eating poorly, not exercising...and being hospitalized for pneumonia last January. The whole ordeal shook him up enough to make a complete turnaround in every way. Now he doesn't smoke, eats better, and goes on regular evening walks. He looks healthier and sounds so much happier when I talk to him on the phone. Best of all, I feel confident that he'll be around when my sister and I have kids of our own in a few years.
It was not only for his own benefit that my dad started living a healthier life, but for ours, too. I hope he keeps getting regular physicals to make sure he sticks around as long as possible.