By James Worthington

Skin cancer checks, blood tests and routine health assessments with a GP aren’t that scary, are they? I always used to put them off for another day. Why? Because I’m a man. Because I’m a man? That makes absolutely no sense! Everyone has their reasons, but “I’m a man” can’t be one of them. Laziness, fear, being busy and embarrassment I get; but a “she’ll be right” attitude could lead to something that isn’t a problem, eventually becoming a problem.

I’ll admit I’m one of those people who puts things off until the last minute, or until I finally deem them necessary. Until my mid-30s, I was a stereotypical bloke when it came to my health. I didn’t do it to be “macho”. It’s probably because I felt invincible, had time to kill and very little responsibility — no kids and no mortgage.

But, on the slippery slope to 40 and especially after having kids, I started making time for my health and stopped caring about what a health professional would think if I asked for:

  • advice about stress or anxiety
  • a cholesterol test
  • something stronger for a persistent headache
  • a blood pressure test
  • anything to help me sleep
  • a bowel screening kit
  • a deodorant that actually works on me
  • head-lice shampoo or instant relief for itchy little bums
  • tampons for my wife

Yep, read that last point again. I just. Don’t. Care. For me, it’s “halftime” and I need an efficient plan for the next two quarters.

Here are 5 ways National Pharmacies can help a time poor, middle-aged bloke like me:

1. I used to think that nearly all of the above points would need to be answered by my GP – meaning I’d also need to make an appointment. Available appointment times don’t always suit my day… and I’d rather not see my kids playing with the manky toys in the waiting room. So, for basic things like this, I’ll always head into my local National Pharmacies store before I book an appointment with my doc.

2. I keep fit and eat well most of the time, so that’s why I tell myself I can smash as many potato chips as I want. I love them and since becoming a dad, the plainer the better! As a consequence, my cholesterol was starting to creep up to a level it shouldn’t be at. I found out during a trip to the doctor, but could’ve saved an hour or more by getting my cholesterol checked at National Pharmacies. Yep, they offer regular cholesterol testing and heart disease medication monitoring.

3. One of my other vices is sour worms and I can consume them like a Southern Right Whale consumes Middleton’s finest krill. I can eat those things until my face virtually implodes! My family has a history of diabetes, so I need to start being vigilant. I also need to be practical. A quick, private assessment and blood glucose test at National Pharmacies won’t “chew up” my day and will determine whether I’m at risk of developing diabetes down the track.

4. Bowel cancer is the second largest cancer killer in Australia and 90% of cases, can be treated successfully with early detection. Unfortunately, it’s another one that has impacted my family; my wife’s family too. There was a time when I would’ve been mortified to go into a shop and asked about anything bowel related. But now, I’d have no issues walking into my local National Pharmacies store and asking for a home screening test.

5. High blood pressure is something I always associated with overweight, finger-pointing Wall Street types like the ones in ‘80s classics such as The Secret of My Success. In reality, high blood pressure can strike anyone with a family history, poor eating and drinking habits, or lack of exercise. When my GP tested mine, I started having flashbacks to all the packets of plain potato chips I had eaten. He said I was absolutely fine, but recommended that everyone should be getting their blood pressure checked regularly. Beauty, that’s another thing I can get done right down the road from my house, at National Pharmacies.

For a middle-aged guy, the list of potential medical issues goes on. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a standard cough or cold, or something more significant like kidney stones or erectile disfunction; I’m not embarrassed to ask for medical advice. And you could save a lot of time, like me, by consulting a pharmacist at your local National Pharmacies store. You won’t need to make an appointment; just walk in or ask while you’re waiting for your script.  And if it is something serious, the pharmacist will refer you to your doctor and support you through the journey.

And by the way, Daktozin works a treat on itchy bums!

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