I’ve decided to get all my medical appointments done in December and January, to start the year out healthy.
It seems like many of us are going to more and more appointments the older we get, be it for eyes, ears, hearts, lungs, colons, skin, teeth, blood, bones, etc. We are breaking down! Or just trying to maintain what we have. I figure I’ll (hopefully) be tuned-up for the spring and summer ahead.
So there’s dermatology, the G.I. guy, cataract surgery, hearing aid check and on and on. This has become a way of life for these few weeks. Making lists of questions and concerns, scheduling rides to and from when necessary, sitting in waiting rooms, reading People magazines, and then the results and follow-ups and decisions – the organization of it all is daunting. It didn’t used to be this way. There was usually only the yearly well checkup and a dentist appointment. Things do change.
Then there are all the alternative health appointments many of us schedule to balance out all the allopathic medicine. Sometimes, massage, acupuncture, energy balancing and other Eastern practices really help. But, more appointments, more scheduling, more waiting rooms.
Others I speak to about this have planned vacations or other travel around all their medical commitments. Plans with family and friends are definitely altered, changed and rescheduled. And health seems to be quite the topic of conversation these days. Please, please guide me to other topics also – it can be so tedious.
It’s helpful to have someone with us while at all these sessions. That person can listen and take notes without all the emotional involvement. This support can also extend to checking on us after these meetings, whether they are just appointments, or a procedure or even surgery. We are all in this together. The better support systems we have the more we can relax.
Aside from the appointments we may already have, or need, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends:
Updated vaccines (Google this to see what you need).A blood pressure test at least every year.A cholesterol test every three to five years depending on the results.A Type 2 diabetes test every three years if you’re overweight or obese and between 40 and 70.Ultrasound screening for aortic abdominal aneurysm, once, if you’re a man between 65 and 75 and you’ve ever smoked.A bone-density test for women, first at age 65 and then in later years depending on your results and your doctor’s recommendations.Breast cancer screening.Cervical cancer screening. Most women can stop regular screening after age 65, but you may need to keep screening if you have certain risk factors, including past treatment for a high-risk precancerous lesion.Colorectal cancer screening – the dreaded colonoscopy. Prostate cancer screening.And of course, discuss any mental or memory problems with your doctor. Yikes!
As we move into this new year, there is a feeling of gratitude that we do have all these medical options available to us here. The difficulties with insurance and other financial issues are certainly present, but compared with lots of the world, our access is remarkable. Hopefully, the political winds will move in the direction of easier and cheaper health care for all.
In the meantime, here’s to good health, smooth medical appointments and joy in 2020.
Martha McClellan was a developmental educator in early childhood for 38 years. She has moved her focus now to the other end of life and written the book “The Aging Athlete: What We Do to Stay in the Game.” Reach her at email@example.com.