A Dreaded Appointment

If there’s a chance to skip seeing the dentist or the eye doctor for another year, you bet your bottom dollar I’d do it. Not to mention actual yearly physicals at the doctor’s office. I cringe just thinking about it.

Don’t think of me as a role model in this case. I know my opinions are not the best to have, but I’m also not a minority. How many of us are actually eager and diligent to be our best selves and schedule the yearly or biyearly appointments with our health providers when we should?

It’s not like these are obligations to look forward to. Even if they don’t necessarily cause physical pain, the thought of entering a clinic and going through the motions can make many people anxious wrecks, me included. Because who knows what they might discover? Or what unexpected test or procedure we’d have to do? Or the risk of becoming ill just from being in that “sterilized” environment?

I get it. I’m with you, 110%. But as I have become more accustomed to go to the doctor’s, whether it’s for actual issues or just to update a prescription, I realize its importance.

Here’s my usual rationale: If I feel fine, I know my teeth and eyes are fine, then why have to put myself through extra stress to have someone else tell me what I already know?

My more enlightening moments have been when I actually have had problems, and surprisingly, I was more than willing to go seek help. For that alone, I’m very proud of myself. For example, I had my first all-over physical last year (judge me) and was actually able to form a solid relationship with my doctor at the time, making it much easier to go in when I really had issues to discuss. I could feel more at ease knowing that he understood and supported me.

Another example is my last dentist appointment, something I was so against doing. The previous year, I had been told by a new dentist that I needed my wisdom teeth removed ASAP, that if I didn’t do it within those few months, I would have many complications. Again, being me, I didn’t do anything. I wasn’t about to experience my first time sedated and worry about the recovery. However, the next year going to another new dentist, I was so relieved to hear that my wisdom teeth were absolutely fine, and I might not need them removed at all. So what I assumed was going to be dreadful turned out to be the biggest sigh I didn’t know I’ve been holding in.

And now I speak as someone who is searching for answers and having to rely much more on the words of doctors. While I do want to dabble more into my own means of management for mental illness and digestive issues, I am now willing to go to specialists to have more perspective of what my body might be telling me and how to treat it. (Yesterday morning I actually went to a GI specialist, which I’ll discuss more in an upcoming post, so stay tuned.) In May I’ll even see a practitioner of functional medicine, a more holistic approach to health, and why it’s still many months away, I’m actually looking forward to the experience.

Me? Looking forward to a doctor’s appointment? I know, shocking. But when you do have health concerns and realize that your body is not invincible, you begin to realize the true value of taking care of yourself. Only you can know how to do that best. For me, that’s being okay with a yearly flu shot, with figuring out the best antidepressant, with changing my lifestyle and diet to relieve my intolerant gut.

It’s a privilege to have the resources we do, to have health insurance to cover seeing qualified medical professionals, in emergencies or not. You might be thinking, in comparison to my thoughts earlier this week on holistic medicine, this post seems like a stark contrast, but hear me out.

I am for intuitive awareness of your health, knowing what your body needs in that particular situation. There are many ways of going about it, and we should openly explore all our options to see what’s best for us. What does our unique body and psyche need to prevent and treat whatever might cross our paths?

And if that means facing those fears of dreaded doctor’s appointments, then it’s something worth doing. If it means trying new things you never expected, then do them anyway. Your health is your most precious gift. No matter your age or mentality toward your health, especially if you’re still young and “will always be healthy,” don’t take it for granted. Be a proactive contributor to bettering your wellness, not a passive bystander oblivious to arising concerns that show up “out of the blue.” You’ll never regret taking care of yourself.

Take care, and keep the faith. -Allie

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