I’d been playing telephone tag with the Canadian Government health survey people for three weeks when, finally, one evening they caught me at home and available to talk.
It had been a long day and I was exhausted. I was looking at the big picture of my life and feeling a bit discouraged. In short, I think I was feeling a little sorry for myself and feeling dread at the approach of winter, feeling that I’m aging and feeling that I was in a rut. I was happy for a good excuse to sit in my comfy chair and answer an extensive list of yes and no questions.
Listen to me read this post:
The interviewer on the other end of the line was kind, patient, and had a pretty good sense of humour. She started off by asking if I suffer from any number of horrific diseases. As she listed them one by one and I replied “no” to each, I started feeling better. Next, she wanted to know about medications I was on. Again, a lengthy list, and again all my answers were “no.” That feeling of wellness just kept on rising.
Then with a very personal line of questioning, she caused me to fondly remember my first foray into physical romance. It’s been so long that I’d almost forgotten. How sweet to be reminded of those long-ago awkward intimacies even if by a complete stranger representing the Canadian Government.
Next, the interviewer asked about my diet and I felt a smug seed of self-satisfaction begin to grow as I answered her questions about my consumption deep-fried foods, red meat, leafy greens, and colourful vegetables. That seed continued to swell as she asked about the frequency and duration of my typical weekly exercise. By the end of this segment, I wondered if I should be entering some sort of Iron Man competition. (I shouldn’t. I would die, slowly and painfully, and with an audience.)
I was then questioned about my ability to afford health and dental care. Did I ever not have access to medication because I couldn’t afford it? Do I put off visiting the dentist because I don’t have the money? Do I brush and floss regularly? How often do I visit the doctor and the dentist? How is my access to the health services I need? Now I was feeling just plain lucky.
She wanted to know if I ever worried about having enough money to buy food and I felt a tad selfish. There were those times, but they are so far behind me that I’d forgotten to consider all the folks for whom this is a daily concern.
By the time we were through and I’d hung up the phone, I saw the world through new and grateful eyes. Suddenly, I no longer saw myself as boring, old, and tired but as healthy and wealthy and virtually exploding with good opportunities to live life well. I guess what they say is true: There’s nothing like a forty minute Government of Canada telephone survey to give your heart a lift.