He puts this down to to a number of things. He doesn’t drink much and has never smoked, other than for the odd cigar at Christmas, and even that not for many years.
He also keeps active through his lifelong interest in dog training and he drives to the club high in the Pennines several times a week to mow the grass and generally take care of the place.
But the thing he attributes his hale and heartiness to the most is keeping away from doctors. Pay them a visit and they’re sure to find something wrong and his theory has been proved right.
Dad saw his doctor about a growth on his back. He’d had it for years, but it was becoming uncomfortable so he wanted it removed. This was a simple procedure and the growth was benign. However, they did other tests and the news was less rosy.
His prostate-specific antigens (PSA) levels were high and an appointment was made with the consultant just before Christmas that more or less confirmed that he had prostate cancer.
This wasn’t the direst of news. If you’re a man and live to be eighty then you’re more likely to have it than not, indeed many elderly men die without ever knowing there was a problem.
And dad was showing no other symptoms, scoring zero on the self-assessment form, but once the doctors have discovered a condition then they have to treat it.
Dad’s worst fear was that this would involve radio or chemo therapy and he became quite relaxed about the whole business once he found out that it wouldn’t and he was immediately put on a course of hormone medication.
That should have been that, but then he was asked whether he would be willing to take part in a trial to compare the effects of the hormone treatment as an injection which is the accepted model, or by using slow-release patches.
He was quite keen on the idea because he much preferred the latter to the former. The trouble was that this involved a whole range of other tests to determine whether he was a suitable candidate, culminating in an early evening appointment yesterday for an echocardiogram.
So what with this and Mrs P’s hip replacement, I’ve spent far more time in hospital of late than I ever did when I worked for the NHS.
And the moral is never visit your doctor unless you absolutely have to!