Truthful Check up

 I had my annual physical the other day.  It had been a little over a year, but I TRY to go annually since I am lucky enough to have coverage that allows an annual physical. Last week I went in to get my blood drawn  (I still have the bruise to prove it) and to pee in a cup (always fun in the morning).  Then this week I went in to meet the doctor and go over my results. (I have only seen her for my annual physicals.  She's been my doctor for about 4 or so years, since my previous physician retired and I haven't had to see her for any illnesses which is a good thing.)

Usually the check up goes pretty quickly.  She gives me my test results (which were, as they always have been, pretty normal) and does a check of the heart and lungs.  She writes me a script for my bp meds (my dosage has decreased over the years, which is a good thing) and one for the annual mamogram.  This year it took a little longer.  She mentioned colonoscopy (which freaks me out...especially since my mom woke up during hers) and convinces me to at least give Cologuard a try.  It's a first step.  But that's not what took the most time.

I told her (and the assistant who took my vitals, reviewed my chart, and too notes), that I have been noticing what I will call discomfort in my check.  Not pain exactly, but some tightness.  I am of a certain age where that concerns me, but I also wanted to tell her frankly that my anxiety level is higher than it has been, that I do sometimes have trouble sleeping as a result and that I am more emotional that usual.  I might be considered depressed.  I wanted it written on my chart and I wanted her to be aware of it.

I might not have wanted to say all this; it's easier to hid our issues/problems than say them outloud,  but that doesn't make them go away or even help them.  I also explained WHY my anxiety level is high: 

  • I commute to a new office once a week via public transportation.  That makes me anxious.  I feel out of control on that day a week.  I am out of my comfort zone and uncomfortable, but I do it.  (Perhaps I should even feel proud of myself for doing it; although due to circumstances, I have NOT been back to the office since the middle of September.  I think next week's trek is going to be challenging because it has not yet become routine.)
  • I have a high school senior who is looking at colleges and just got his driver's license.  He can drive independently and has done so once thus far.  (Only a mile away from home and back, but I'll admit I had a total anxiety attack when he did it.)  He will want to drive more.  He wants and deserves more independence.  Logically, I recognize that.  Emotionally, that's another story.  My son is a great kid, but he is also a teen male and has done more than his share of "dumb" things.  We have trust issues.  Whereas I tackle things head on (to try and get them over with), he puts things off and sometimes buries his head in the sand.  I'm a planner; he is not.  This is a big issue for me as he intends to go on his own/with friends to NYC over the weekend for a college event and while I know he has planned out how to (sort of) get to the location,  he definitely hasn't planned on what comes after and how he will get home.  This kind of thing makes me very anxious.  (Thankfully for him it does not.)
  • My mother died.  I spent the last month or so of her life making decisions that were very hard to make.  I held her hand as she died.  I handled all the arrangements.  I am the executor of her estate and as a result oversee expenses of (what was) her household where my dad resides.  Though I am not a direct caregiver for my dad; I do my best to look after him.  I know the quality of his life is not what he wants it to be.  I know he has pain issues; and that pains me as well.  I need to take care of him.  That can be difficult, frustrating and scary.
All of the above are manageable.  I can handle all of them.  But it does increase my stress level (especially when I am dealing with more than one issue from one of those three "categories")  I get anxious.  I get emotional. As a result sometimes I get physical discomfort in my chest and/or I get emotional.  The doctor gave me a EKG to make sure there were no issues there and we discussed some options for me.  I am trying to make some changes in my life.  I am working on how I react and approach issues that give me anxiety.  I have made it clear to my medical provider that I am at a point where I feel that I can handle this on my own, but that if my anxiety increases that I will need help.  I wanted that noted.  It's important that my physician is aware of my total health and I need to be upfront and honest about what is going on in my life.

When it comes to our health; we need to be truthful.  We need NOT be embarrassed about physical or emotional issues that we face.  Because we ALL face them at some point in our lives.  We all need help from the medical profession at some point in our life.  Ignoring an issue, whatever it may be, does not make things better.  Getting help DOES.

Remember, YOU are important; your care is important.  Take care and be cared for.


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