Sunday, March 15, 2009

They're Using Psychology

I remember the time my wife and I went to a weekend marriage retreat in Flint a half-dozen years ago, a marriage-strengthening exercise pitched during sermon at weekly mass. Convincing my wife to go, I said it would be an adventure.

The first night we sat in a classroom with about twenty other couples as the leaders of the retreat waited for us to open up and discuss issues in our marriage. They stressed that nobody was required to speak up. But then they sat there and waited . . . and waited . . . and waited with just faint background music playing. Finally, someone broke the tension by speaking out. I don't remember what was said or what the leader's response was. All I remember is that more silence followed as they waited, waited, waited for somebody else to open up. Many did. The psychology worked.

I hated it. Don't you hate it when somebody tries to "use psychology" on you? Certainly if you've ever been to a timeshare presentation or heard the pitch of a life insurance salesman, you know what I mean.

I had my latest experience with "psychology" this past week. My employer had offered $100 to each employee who completed a wellness exam that included height, weight, waistline, cholesterol, blood pressure and glucose measurements. Tax free money? That type of psychology will work on me every time.

But Big Dave here knew he was in trouble the moment he walked into the examining area. The wellness exam staff were thinner than models. If they had been standing sideways towards me, I might not have seen them at all. The psychology was starting already.

I liked the slick psychological move employed by the young medical assistant doing the fingerstick to draw my blood. When she asked what finger I wanted pricked, I held out my pinkie. She grabbed it, then complained that she didn't like doing that finger. When I asked why, she started explaining and while I was listening, POW, she stabbed me. Ah, the psychological power of distraction.

After the tests and measurements, they took me into the corner for the results. Holy cow! Not good. They had charts where they could point to the average man my age, then where I measured up on that scale. Man, why didn't I buy life insurance when they guy told me to. I felt like I was living on borrowed time unless I exercised more, changed my eating habits and eliminated any and all sources of stress in my life.

*Sigh* I hate psychology. At least it cheers me up to know my fav team, the Michigan Wolverines, are going to the NCAA basketball tournament after a several year absence. Then again, it's going to stress me out as I watch their games. Maybe I'll use a little psychology on myself and cheer for their cross-state rivals Michigan State instead. If they lose, it won't kill me (pun intended).


Blogger MSU gal said...

You got me thinking of the "psychology" of the finger prick. I hate getting blood drawn.

When they ask me for a finger. I always stick out the middle one.

10:36 PM  
Blogger Nankin said...

When I give blood, the finger prick is the worst part of it.

On another front, be glad that your cholestrol wasn't as bad as it could be. Our pastor went for a physical and found out his was 6,200. No that's not a typo.

1:33 PM  
Blogger Big Dave T said...

MSU GAL--She wanted my middle finger for the needleprick. I offered to do the needlestick myself, but she said she couldn't let me do that. Wasn't allowed.

NANKIN--I'm assuming that 6,200 refers to the "bad cholesterol" number. My bad cholesterol was good but my good cholesterol was not so good. If that makes any sense.

9:08 AM  
Blogger Lucy Stern said...

I'd say something, but I'm not going No, I'm not going there.

9:36 AM  
Blogger Kacey said...

Oh No Big just traded your privacy and chance of getting the boss to give you health insurance, life insurance or even a cookie for a lousy $100.00! That was an awful trick to play on loyal employees.... you will now be put in a big national computerized health thing and it will follow you wherever you go. Better change your name!

About the good/bad cholesterol thing..... HDL (hig density lipids) is the good stuff, because it takes the bad stuff (LDL--low density lipids) out of the body with it as it is processed by the liver. You want to keep the HDL<40 and the LDL >100 ....for a man, I think. They used to want your total cholesterol to be below 200, then they got crabby about that and decided that 150 was a terrific number, if you had ever had a heart attack. I just had a couple of stents stuck in my heart and the cardiac guy upper the Zocor to 80 mg. per day (but I am cheating and only doing 60 mg. until I get back to Ohio and can talk to my cardio doc.) Actually the best measurement is the ratio between the two kinds of cholesterol. If you divide the total cholesterol by the HDL number, you would want a ratio of 2 or 3, but less than 4. Then there are triglycerides, but who cares? So, you have to watch your level of activity, your diet, salt intake, don't smoke and take drugs to lower your risk of M.I.'s. Actually, cholesterol is made by your liver and some in by ingestion, but what can you do if you have a lousy liver that fights you at every sign of a French Fry? Or have phenomenally small arteries?

7:57 PM  
Blogger Big Dave T said...


KACEY--I don't understand all that cholesterol stuff. I take Pravstatin so I don't have to worry about it as much. I know somebody who has had several heart attacks, stents, trips to the E.R., and still smokes! I thought he'd be gone by now but he's keepin' on. It's amazing what modern medicine can do these days.

4:49 AM  
OpenID caroldee said...

ahhhh DAVE heard of oatmeal or cherrios. both are good for cholesterol there are so many easy things to help you out some at aleast . Hope you find a way to help yourself out there. I am not opposed to the finger prick I am opposed to the one who is doing the blood draw and they are in no way good at it. They always leave me purple from their incompetence! Take care Hope your Wolverines win.. : )

8:11 PM  
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10:44 PM  

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