Why I Go to the Doctor

Happy Tuesday! The busy weekend kind of got away from me, and then I had to be at work at 7:25 yesterday morning, so a blog post just wasn’t happening on Monday. I’m glad to be back :) .

As most of you know, I’m participating in Elf for Health this season. While it’s a great program that focuses on healthy eating and exercise, it doesn’t encourage one thing that might be just as important to our health — doctor’s visits.

Recently, Di, Alyssa and Colleen all blogged about their run-ins with skin cancer, and Danica talked about the importance of routine doctor’s visits. I thought I’d add my two cents to the discussion.

The truth is, I’m probably the one weirdo who actually enjoys going to the doctor and dentist (it might have something to do with the fact that I’m a bit of a hypochondriac…). It always surprises me when people say they haven’t had a physical in five years, or a dental exam in three years, etc. The only way to keep diseases away, in my opinion, is to make an effort to prevent them. These days, thanks to the internet, it seems that we refer to Web MD more often than we do an actual MD.

Source

Going to the doctor can be a little scary and uncomfortable, but it’s important to remember than the exam itself is usually over in minutes. In the past month, I got three appointments out of the way — my annual exam, a cleaning at the dentist, and a skin check at the dermatologist. Let’s start with the dentist.

Source

I think that the trick to loving going to the dentist’s office, is finding a dentist that you love — and I love my dentist and my hygienists. They ask about my life, they ask about my family, and this past visit, they even asked to look at my wedding photos. I realize that not all patients have this relationship with the people at their dentist’s office, but when you get to know who’s working on your mouth, it makes the experience much less scary. While I was sitting in the chair waiting for the dentist to check my teeth, I heard him talking to the patient next to me. He said, “If you’d come visit me more often, I wouldn’t have to hurt you so much” (making a joke about fillings). It’s really that simple. Most dentists really do want to help you — they’re not out to hurt you. I go every six months, and I’m usually in and out in 45 minutes.

Then, there’s the important, but oh-so-awkward doctor’s visit — the annual exam. Girls, you know what I’m talking about. I had mine at the end of November, and now I don’t have to worry about it for another year. I think it’s a topic that no wants to talk about, but it’s so important when it comes to prevention. This is another situation where it’s important to love your doctor — otherwise, you’ll never go. When I went this time, my doctor even mentioned the importance of getting my cholesterol checked. I was impressed that she let me know it’s good to start those types of tests young, because I had no idea. It can be awkward, but it’s over in less than 1o minutes. No big deal.

I love this infographic

Finally, last week, I went and got a full body skin check at the dermatologist. I felt encouraged to go after reading a couple of the blog posts that I mentioned above, and I’m glad that I did. I was actually really scared going into this one. I’ve had the same dermatologist for years, so she wasn’t my concern, but I was afraid of what they might find. She asked for my family history, asked about my history in the sun (I had a couple of bad sunburns when I was a teenager), and then she did the check. It only took a few minutes, and everything looked fine, thankfully. I promised her that I would continue to wear SPF 30 and be safe in the sun. The thing is, if she would’ve found anything, I would feel better knowing that it was caught sooner rather than later. This isn’t something that I plan to get checked out every year, but I think it’ll be good to do every few years. Oh — and while I was at the dermatologist, she asked me if I was up to date on my annual (lady doctor) exams. It was nice knowing that she looks out for her patients, even when it comes to things that don’t relate to skin health.

And that’s that — my proof that going to the doctor does not have to be uncomfortable or intimdiating. I know that I’m not immune to getting sick because I go to the doctor, but I do know that it’s better to prevent things than to pretend like nothing could ever happen. We’re fortunate enough to have access to modern medicine, so we should take care of our health :) .

Do you schedule routine doctor’s/dentist appointments every year?

Do you think that prevention is important?

**I am not a physician. These are simply my own thoughts and opinions.**



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12 Responses to Why I Go to the Doctor

  1. Great Post!! Going to the dr regularly is soooo important. I started getting annual skin checks a few years ago, and I really love going because it gives me such peace of mind. I’m 24 and have red hair, freckles and pale skin, so getting checked out at least once a year is one way I take control over my own health. :)

  2. I do a physical once a year and dentist whenever I can. You’re right, it’s so important to get things checked because the earlier you catch anything, the better. I laughed at the dentist picture, I get SO annoyed when they start asking me questions and I can’t answer.

  3. great reminder! I have a dentist appt. next week but am due for one of those oh-so-fun “lady doctor” exams…Really though, I’ve never even thought about asking to get my cholesterol assessed. What kind of procedure is that? I’m sure it’s quick but that’s not one you hear about often…

    • Emily says:

      I think it’s just a simple blood test! She didn’t have me get one this year, but she said I should start next year, and then every five years after that.

  4. I go to the dentist twice a year and my annual doctor’s appointment every January! My Mom once heard on Oprah to make appointments on the first of the year so you remember and that’s what I do. It works!

  5. Caroline says:

    I think going to the drs regularly is SO important. It goes right along with the other things we do to try to prevent health issues. Scheduling appointments regularly isn’t reactionary, it’s proaction, and that’s so important with our health.

  6. I love this!! Your trip to the dentist sounds like our office! We have personal relationships with most of our patients. I love that part of my job!

  7. Ah, this is quite a touchy subject for me. Glad you were inspired to write about it, though. I was supposed to get a bunch of testing/checks done, specifically for my skin. But because my medical insurance is like the longest process ever to see a specialist, I just let it go too long and never went :-/ I too was/still am really nervous about a skin check. I’ve had a lot of bad sunburns in my life! I know I need to get this done, though. It’s funny that that graphic says that high cholesterol should be checked as early as your 20′s. I asked my doctor if I could have my cholesterol checked, but because I’m so young (23) she blew me off about it. I told her it ran in my family, though, so it was a concern. Wonder why she didn’t take me seriously? Of course, I could still get the testing done. Anyway, good info and good reminder to stay on top of this stuff. I totally believe in prevention. I just sometimes wish that insurance/doctors made it easier to see them, etc.

    • Emily says:

      I know, insurance was one thing I didn’t mention in my post, because I know it’s different for everyone! I’m sorry that it’s been frustrating for you!

  8. Heather says:

    I found your blog through the “Capturing December” link. :) Great post!

    Please forgive me, but I have to insert my 2 cents…

    Please, please, please… go to see your dermatologist EVERY year (not “every few years”) and do your own skin check every month (and make an appointment immediately if you see any changes!). Perhaps I sound a little paranoid, but I am a red-headed, fair-skinned, hazel-eyed melanoma survivor (3 years) who spent too much time in the Arizona sun in my teenage years. Hearing the phrase “you have cancer” (no matter what type) is one of the scariest phrases that my ears have ever heard and I don’t wish that on anyone. I now see my dermatologist every three months, an oncologist annually, and wish I’d spent less time in the sun when I was younger. :)

    Be pro-active and catch it early. Take care…. *stepping off my soapbox now* LOL.

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