A month ago I went for a medical exam to look at booking a minor operation, and in the pre-exam they check everyone’s height and weight and blood pressure. The usual things.
Later, as I was in talking to the doctor, he was very frank about everything, and he brought up my weight. He asked, in his seemingly standard casual, rapid-fire way, if I knew what the appropriate weight was for someone who was 5’10”.
I’m six feet tall. So I sincerely didn’t understand why he was asking me about the appropriate weight for someone who wasn’t as tall as me.
A bit confused, I said I didn’t, and he went on about how much I’d have to lose before I could even be considered for just booking the operation.
It took me a few minutes of that line of discussion to realize, Oh, wait, he’s talking about me. He’s saying I’m 5’10”. The nurse had somehow gauged that as my height. Which explained his specific question: Not the bizarre, “Hey, do you know the appropriate weight for someone of a different height than you?” but the way more practical, “Hey, do you know the appropriate weight for your height?”
But now I was confused. To the best of my knowledge, I’ve been six feet tall since I stopped growing as a teen. That’s what’s been on every updated driver’s licence I’ve owned. I have no idea where that came from–one assumes either from one’s doctor or from doing a decent height measurement with a door jamb, a hardcover book and someone who can see straight–but for that far back, it has always been so.
I mentioned all of this in passing to my chiropractor as a kinda, “So then this guy says I’m 5’10” and not six feet tall, ho ho”, and she plainly replied, “Well, you haven’t been six feet the whole time I’ve known you.”
So, um… for… like… seven years?
Then again, maybe the nurse who did the pre-exam was off (I mean, it’s gotta happen). And hey, it’s not like my chiropractor ever laid me out and measured my height, or anything. So she’s eyeballing it at best.
What do… er… medical professionals know?
I mentioned all of this to a new personal trainer I’m starting to see in order to help lose (and keep off) the needed weight and to keep me limber when I’m sitting on the laptop for so long most days, etc. She measured me and declared it was around 5’10”. Then said no, 5’11”.
Ah-ha! Suddenly half the disparity has evaporated. But that still puts me shy of the 6′ I’ve always known I was (but now start realizing I may have just thought I knew I was) for decades.
I do know that people can shrink a bit as they get older, but not 2″ at only 50 years old.
Here’s the thing: To a large degree, whatever. With the rare exceptions of people who have made it part of their identity, a person’s height doesn’t make them who they are any more than what their favourite drink is. Nothing that matters changes if I’m 5’11” instead of 6′. I’m the same guy with the same likes and dislikes and talents (and whoo, lordy, lack of talents) and life goals and people who love me.
But it’s admittedly weird, and yes, edging into somewhat unsettling, to hear that as relatively minor as it is–it’s not like I’m just now discovering I’m adopted and by the way my heritage is entirely different than I’ve been raised to believe–something I’ve always known (/thought) to be the case is suddenly changed. It’s like going to the doctor and hearing, “Sorry to hear you thought your eyes were blue for your whole life, but they’re technically (and for any forms requiring it, legally) green.” Or, “Oh, you thought you were a brunette? Your hair’s just really dark, but you’re a redhead.”
Meaning, it’s not about good or bad or better or worse or any such objective labels, it’s just one of the staples I’d accepted long ago may have been incorrect.
Having said all that, it recently came to light that–perhaps from one minor car accident or another–my pelvis doesn’t naturally sit level but it’s hitched up on one side which is, not coincidentally, the same side where my shoulder blade sits a bit off, as well. Meaning, even when I’m standing straight, I’m not standing straight. Which could very easily be why I’m not reaching the height I’ve carried through from one updated driver’s licence to the next, because that measurement was pre-any slightly bendy back-tightening resulting from, perhaps, minor but not insignificant car accidents.
But whether or not that tiny bit of missing height is ever found, I’ll still continue to be me. For better or worse, of course, but always trying to improve. Height be damned, that’s the guy I am.