06/12/2012 12:10 pm ET Updated Aug 12, 2012

My Weight Loss Adventures in the Land of Disease-Care

Okay, so there I was, all motivated and pumped. Heading into the grand finale of my 60th decade, I decided to reverse the steady annual weight gain I'd been accruing. I mean, this was getting ridiculous. I still saw myself as the skinny, wiry, limber younger adult I'd been. So who was this puffy, lumbering, out-of-breath dame with the disappearing waist and the achy joints, anyway?

And it's not like I'm clueless about what to eat and how to do healthful behaviors. I'm in the business, after all. But my work is sedentary, and I do a lot of it. The timing and the psychology had to be right.

So at some point, I got to just the right degree of sick-and-tired and worked up the motivation to get my whole self into a fairly rigid, diehard eating regimen of healthy but very limited foods and stay with it for several weeks. This would not be for everyone, but for me, I knew I had to see palpable results quickly and in a pretty dramatic fashion to stay at it. So this was pretty simple, boring, limited food and not a lot of it. Very little fat and starch and zero dairy or booze.

I was steely. I did not waver (which is how you get when you're at just the right degree of '"sick-and-tired" -- this is how I quit smoking 40-plus years ago). It worked. I lost 20 pounds. My clothes started swiveling around on me -- I almost lost a pair of jeans while climbing up a ladder to my kids' roof garden.

But more interestingly, my joints felt great. My energy level was very high, even on fewer calories. I felt limber, as in days of old. My hands, feet, ankles and face de-puffed and my rings started sliding around on my fingers again. My sleep was hugely improved. My personality was pleasanter, too, according to my daughter, who'd be the first to say either way.

So I start thinking that now's the time to get some blood work on my cholesterol and glucose and all that stuff, just to see some hardcore metrics. I'm thinking, this would be really cool and seriously motivational, to see great lab results for good behavior.

So I go to my new doc, who is knowledgeable, meticulous and responsible, and she orders a full panel of lab tests. Hooray.

Now here's where it gets interesting. The lab results go to my doc and into the system. But I don't hear back. From anyone. I call the office. I send emails. I call the P.A. Nothing.

So after three weeks, being in the neighborhood, I drop in to ask for my lab report, mano-a-mano. I politely but firmly register my disappointment in not hearing back. I explain I'm looking for hard evidence that my lifestyle changes have been a good idea.

A gracious nurse at the desk agreed that was odd to get no follow up and immediately accessed the results, printed them out and looked over four pages of data. Then she looked at me quizzically and said: "Oh, I see why they didn't call you. There's nothing wrong here." She handed me the pages with a satisfied smile, as if to say, "Mystery solved."

Only in America do we need to have a disease in order to get the time of day from our health care system, I guess. They want me to call back when I'm having my first cardiac event.

What, we have to keep asking, is wrong with this picture?

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