Thursday, May 2, 2019

Taking Care

It was a very medical day around here.

Not for any particular crisis, fortunately.  I am to the best of my knowledge no more or less healthy than I was a week ago.  There are no leaks, cracks, or missing pieces, and my warranty remains untested.  It’s just that after not quite managing to make appointments for my various checkups for a while now, my doctor and my dentist decided independently that today was the only day this calendar year where I could be squeezed into their schedules.

How could I refuse?

Easily, I suppose.  Medical care is not something I enjoy, even as I recognize that it is a privilege in these modern United States and in the long run it is good for me.  But still.  Not my idea of a good time.

I started with the dentist, because why not get the worst of it out of the way first.  I mean, I like my dentist and her various assistants – they’re generally nice people and don’t go out of their way to punch holes in me the way the guy I went to when I was a child did – but on the list of ways I would choose to spend time dentistry ranks toward the bottom.

It was a routine visit, fortunately, though I don’t know why.

Every fourth appointment or so they declare that my dental health is catastrophic, that I need to take extreme measures in order to keep everything between my sinuses and my Adam’s apple from exploding in a YouTube-worthy sort of way, and that unless I take care of this RIGHT NOW they can’t be held responsible for the results.  Sometimes I take care of it and sometimes I don’t, but either way the sequence never varies.  The next three visits I go in and they do their thing and tell me I’m fine and they’ll see me in six months or whenever I manage to get around to making another appointment.  I find that my “needs action” line is now hearing the same thing from them in two consecutive visits.

The freak-out visit was last time, so I figure I’m good for another eighteen months before the next time.

My teeth seem to be fine.  There is no need to drill holes in any of them.  They are not falling out.  I drink way too much black tea for them to be all that shiny white but they’re okay.  I can continue to eat.  I like food.  Food tastes good.

And then it was over to the doctor for my slightly-longer-than-annual checkup.  You’re not allowed to schedule the next one until a year has gone by, and given the inefficiencies of the American health care system even for people who are fortunate enough to be full participants in it this means that the next Actual Appointment you can get is probably 13 or 14 months after the previous one, and you do that a couple of times and suddenly you’ve worked your way entirely around the calendar and the insurance company has managed to skip paying for an entire physical.  I’m not sure where I am in this cycle anymore.  Somewhere.

My doctor is a very nice person and we get along fine, even if he does keep up a disturbingly cheerful sort of conversation as The Glove comes out and gets employed.  Men over 50, you’ll know exactly what this refers to.  If you don’t, count yourself lucky.  It’s not really a conversational moment, but you have to forgive him for it – he’s probably so used to it that it doesn’t register.

He didn’t tell me anything that a) I didn’t already know and b) he hasn’t told me the last few times (i.e. eat less, move more), and I’ll take that as a win.

I’m not sure why all I want to do right now is find the stickiest, unhealthiest possible thing that is only considered food by virtue of the fact that it doesn’t kill you immediately upon eating it and consume four entire servings in one go, but I’m hoping this feeling will pass.

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