Wayne Randell is the Production Manager at Lismore’s Hurford Hardwood, where he manages over 40 staff and oversees product production. During Men's Health Week, Healthy Male (then known as Andrology Australia) ran men’s health talks at his workplace during workers’ ‘smoko’ break. Along with other speakers, Wayne shared his story about his health concerns. As a result of the talks, several of his co-workers visited their GP and are being monitored for conditions that might have been left untreated.
During Men’s Health Week a few years ago, I was listening to radio promotions as I drove to work each morning, and on my way home. I’m not the sort of person who has major illnesses– maybe it’s all the beer I drink! – so I hadn’t been to a doctor for a fair few years. But I’d had some health concerns for a long time. The promotion made me realise that what I was experiencing wasn’t normal. By the end of that week thought, ‘’It’s time I got myself checked out.”
When I got to the doctor, it turned out I had high blood pressure, which I wasn’t aware of. After tests, I found out I also had heart issues. You hear about these blokes that just drop dead on the spot. If I hadn’t gone to my doctor at the time that I did, I might have been one of those blokes. While I’m now waiting on a heart operation, at least I’m still walking, still living, still enjoying life.
When Healthy Male came to speak to us over a few smoko breaks, my boss asked me to be involved. I was happy to talk about my own experience and encourage my co-workers to get help if they had a problem. Healthy Male talked to us about the mechanisms for seeking help, and that it was okay to get help – it didn’t make you any less manly. We put posters around the site. It certainly made blokes more aware, and a few of them went and got medical checks afterwards. And as it happened, they did have issues, and they had to have treatment for them. Their wives had been nagging at them to go to a doctor – but it took other blokes talking with them for them to act. They’re on medication now, and they’re still here, so that’s a win for us. If talks like this prompt even one person to get help, it’s a winner for everyone concerned.
We’re pretty good at ignoring things, us men. Women are better at getting to a doctor. Us blokes have got a “She’ll be right mate’’ type of attitude, thinking that what’s wrong will go away. It’s especially true for men over 50. But what I’ve realised through my experience is that we’re not indestructible. You can’t be too careful with blood pressure and heart issues – sometimes there are no symptoms. It’s pretty hard to function without a heart – you can do without a finger or a toe, but you don’t want to mess with heart issues. It’s like a bit like taking the petrol tank out of the engine.
I have a pretty close relationship with my workers, and I want to make sure that they’re healthy. Now I always tell them, ‘’If you’ve got a bit of a health issue, just get it checked out so you can find out what’s causing it. That way you have peace of mind.”