Yapa, Cholesterol & Blood SugarThursday, March 18, 2010
From the late 60s to the early 70s in Mexico City, Rosemary and I went through a small generation of VW beetles. All were purchased new. By then the folks of Wolfsburg had pioneered an early version of computer diagnostic.
I would take our VW for service to the dealer and an obviously German manager would meet me in a pristine doctor’s white coat with a bulletin board in hand. His German accent, when he spoke Spanish, was plain enough to give me the comfort and trust that my car was going to be in good hands. Picking up the car the next day I would be given a computer print-out of the compression of each of the four cylinders. After a year or two I would see the unevenness between the individual compression figures to know that my brand new VW was aging. I would eventually get bills for brake drum repair or told that the clutch was slipping. It was almost impossible not to get a fender bash in Mexico City in a year. People often parked by ear and bumpers would be bent out of shape. It was soon evident that the up and up graphs of the compression measurements would start that inevitable decline. The shine of the new car would wane and that inevitable corrosion of the body and the decline of its mechanical parts would push me into melancholy.
At the time in the apex of my youth it never occurred to me that our little VW was mimicking the course of my own body graphed as the compression of four cylinders in a period of time.
Yapa is a Peruvian word that is used in South America to denote something extra. The 13th loaf of a baker’s dozen would be called yapa (that y is pronounced like the Hungarian Z in ZaZa Gabor!). A peanut butter jar offering 15% more would be in Spanish 15% yapa.
(Del quechua yapa, ayuda, aumento).
1. f. Ingen. Azogue que en las minas argentíferas de América se añade al mineral para facilitar el término de su trabajo en el buitrón.
2. f. Am. Mer. añadidura.
1. loc. adv. Am. Mer. además.
2. loc. adv. Am. Mer. gratuitamente.
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I believe that half a century of existence is just about right and that anything over that is yapa.
For most of my life I have eschewed exercise and a too healthy diet. Rosemary and I eat well. We have lots of fresh fruit and vegetables.
It was a few months ago that my daughter Hilary convinced me to see one of those half & half doctors. These are doctors that are 50% conventional and the other 50% is dedicated to prescription of natural medicines that will equalize or improve blood sugar counts etc.
I went to see the woman and she insisted I have one of those thorough blood tests. One of them involved a full fast which meant that even though I was not looking at the woman removing the blood (“Are you a vampire? I asked her.) or the blood being removed I felt faint. I had to repeat the procedure that afternoon.
Then I had to wait for two weeks before the tests were sent to the doctor and then another week before an appointment was made for me to see it.
Would the tests reveal cancer of the pinkies or failure of my adrenal glands to secrete adrenalin which would mean that I would never ever have the pleasure of losing my temper or feeling stress?
I went to see the woman with that fear that I had when I would take my VW to face that white-robed paragon of Teutonic efficiency.
It seems that my blood sugar is up a tad as is my cholesterol (the nasty one not the nice one). The doctor recommended chromium (will my new found health make me shine like my VW’s brand new bumpers?) and niacin. I am to go back to the vampire for a blood test in a month to see the results. Meanwhile I have been told to exercise. Perhaps I will walk with Rosemary. Perhaps I will reduce the sugar in my tea from two to one teaspoon. Perhaps I will eat fewer carbohydrates.
But I am not going to try too hard. After all, with a half a century gone in my life the rest is yapa.