Every Little Thing by April Jeppson
Yesterday I went to my fourth doctor’s appointment within seven days. As I recently turned 40, I couldn’t help but think, “Is this my life now?” Is that what it feels like to get old? I laughed at the thought, but I knew the reason for all the dates was different than this. Other than a strep test or getting a shot, no one in my family has really seen a doctor in years. I’m not an anti-doctor, I don’t go unless I have to.
It has probably been four years since I went to the optometrist. We’re all waiting for a dentist appointment, and since my daughter will be 8 next month, it’s been almost so long since I’ve had a check-up. So when I went to take my exam they had a whole list of tests and reports they wanted me to take. I was instantly reminded why I don’t go unless I have to.
All kidding aside, preventative care is super important. I can’t count all the stories I’ve heard from friends and family who caught something in its early days just by going to the doctor for something else. Although I am an eternal optimist, I know that I am not invincible, and it is time that I started to take better care of myself.
I have this thing about my blood test. The thought alone makes me start to feel dizzy. I had bad experiences where they couldn’t find my veins. Heck, I used to cry when they took my blood pressure because the feeling of the blood pumping in my arm made me panic. I’m a willing patient, but man, oh man, I really don’t like these things. I’m sure most people don’t like these things, but they do them anyway. Little by little I am learning to do difficult things. Very slowly.
At the ophthalmologist, I learned that I needed bifocals. I’ve known this for about a year, but having it medically confirmed, somehow, made it more real. Currently, I just throw my glasses on the top of my head if I’m reading anything up close, but if I’m planning on swapping out my frames for lenses, I’ll have to find readers. I’m actually pretty excited. I’m already dreaming about the kind of fun chain I’m going to have for my glasses. I want to be that cool old lady with the shiny, beaded chain around her neck.
I still have a few more appointments in the coming weeks. Apparently, when you go radio silent for a few years, they catch you up. I love the wisdom that age brings, but it would be cooler if my body didn’t slowly collapse. I am grateful that we live in a time when we have science and technology at our disposal. We can scan, probe, test, and have readings that tell us what our body is doing. With all of this knowledge, we have the opportunity to improve our health and not just blindly guess and hope for the best.
I don’t know who said it, but it’s one of my favorite quotes. “Do your best until you know better. Then when you know better, do better. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll always have a donut, but I’ll also make sure to schedule those scary doctor’s appointments.
Albert Lean April Jeppson is a wife, mom, coach and dream maker. His column appears every Saturday.