Taking Care of Me

I used to have severe fears of doctors, shots, dentists, anything medical related because of the “tortures” I experienced as a small child dealing with horrible allergies–pokes, proddings, tests, doctors, ugh!  It wasn’t until I was in college that I realized things like physicals, regular teeth cleanings, and the like were essential to “being a grown up” and taking responsibility for myself.  The fears never went away, but I somehow found the gumption to pull up my big girl panties and endure the torture.  Plus, I love a good deal–and if my health insurance is paying for preventative care, there must be good reason for it, and who am I to pass up something free or close to it?

Surgeries for my gallbladder, sinuses, and tonsils have helped to alleviate a lot of my fears over the last decade or so by being immersed in medical care.  I no longer cry at the sight of a needle, but I do still get queasy and lightheaded from a blood draw–that’s life.  But I view medical and dental care in very different ways now–I look at it as an essential to proper self care.

I fight for good medical care.  I will not accept mediocrity.  I am worth more than a pill mill.  I want providers that take the time to listen, that get to know me, that understand my goals for my own health, and will help me achieve them.  Unfortunately, this insistence on quality usually has a lot of letdowns before gold is struck.  It is tiresome, frustrating, and usually involves a fight–but aren’t you worth fighting for?  This is why I don’t bat an eye to travel hours away to see the right people.  When we moved here last year, we found an amazing dentist right away, but had to wait for a local primary care doctor.  My husband went first and waited five months for his appointment and was impressed with the doctor (which never happens).  About the time I started to get serious about my wellness this year, I figured it was time to bite the bullet and get an annual physical, so I called and had to wait six months to see this doctor–whom I finally saw yesterday.  While it pushed out the time for my annual physical, it was worth the wait.  I went in with two pages of discussion points, questions, tests I would like run, and concerns and not one line was overlooked.  She took the time to not walk in the room with assumptions about me based on paperwork, but gave me the opportunity to share about myself, where I’ve come from, and where I’m going with my wellness goals.  I felt valued as a person who is in charge of their own health.  Let me tell you, if you’ve never felt this way–you’re with the wrong provider.

So, the takeaway yesterday was confirmation that I am doing the things I need to be doing in all areas (physically, emotionally, and spiritually–as all were included in the discussion) to be as healthy as possible.  Can my health improve?  Of course it can.  Am I unhealthy? No.  Am I in danger of any detrimental health conditions at this time?  Nope.  Does the doctor have any immediate concerns regarding my health that are being neglected and need to be addressed? None.  There’s a few things that I needed the doctor to push through to help me–order an updated titration study to adjust the settings on my biPAP machine because I’m different than I was starting it 3 years ago and I’ve been more fatigued than normal lately, order some tests to confirm what we both (the doctor and I) believe to be a metabolic disorder–which is either here nor there, just something to confirm and acknowledge its existence, and prescribe my allergy medications so I can be a functional member of society because unfortunately no one has yet cured severe environmental allergies.  The doctor serves as another source of accountability too.  Numbers and tests don’t lie and can’t be justified–they are a benchmark of health based on healthy living.  I like measuring sticks.

I also found out something cool–I’m taller than I thought I was!  I made them measure twice!  I’ve always believed I’m 5’8″, turns out I’m 5’10.”  This is good news because it changes the figures of my BMI.  The BMI measurement is quite subjective and not really a reliable scientific measurement, but does have some merit–but this calculation change puts me quite close to my goal of moving down an obesity category, and that makes me very excited–because who in the world wants to be known as “super morbidly obese”?  Seriously, can we rename these categories?

But there’s something no medical textbook can ever teach or treat–how I feel.

I have joy.  Happy is an emotion, and I feel more of that as of late–but I honestly can see and recognize joy in my soul.  My ultimate and sole goal is to honor God’s creation that He has entrusted to me.  This came at the realization of the sinful way I was treating my being, the humility it took to ask for forgiveness, and the power of God’s Holy Spirit within me to do the footwork to clear the wreckage of my past.  I am a work in progress.  I will always be a work in progress.  My outside doesn’t yet reflect the inside, and that’s okay.  Plus, the inside still needs more work too.  It’s cyclical and everlasting effort, but not without its godly rewards.  I have joy.  I have peace.

Don’t get me wrong though–it’s not all sunshine and roses.  I still have stress, frustration, anger, jealousy, and a whole host of other emotions that I deal with on a daily basis.  That’s real life.  But I look at the bigger picture and can smile, because thank God I’m not the one in the driver’s seat–I’m just me, doing what has been laid on the path before me in order to glorify God and not fighting it, doing what I think is best in my own humanness.  And for today, that’s enough.

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