Last week I went to my family doctor for my annual physical. Like most people, I don’t enjoy it. I don’t like the needle for the blood-work, hernia and prostate check, or having to discuss honestly about my exercise and eating habits. It’s very intrusive but it is worth it for some very good reasons. It’s easier and cheaper to maintain health than it is to fix a health problem.
Some people convince themselves that they are okay with not knowing about their possible health issue. When it comes to your health, ignorance is not bliss.
American’s take for granted the health care available. I know many areas of our health care system that needs to be improved but I am blessed to have healthcare better than most of the world.
If you haven’t had a physical in the last year:
- Determine your coverage. Find out what your insurance covers for an annual physical exam. Many insurance plans will pay for a full exam once a year. Mine does. They offer it as part of your coverage because even the insurance company knows it is cheaper to find out about medical issues early or prevent medical issues all together. If not or you don’t have health insurance, find out how much your doctor charges. It may not be as much as you think and if you let them know that you are self-pay or if you pay in cash, they can many times offer you a discount.
- List your questions. Before your appointment, write anything you want to ask your doctor about. Maybe you have less energy, or you have spots on your skin that you are concerned about. I kept a page with me for a month before my exam so that when I thought of something I wanted to ask my doctor I could make a note. I used Evernote so I could make a note any time.
- Honesty. Be very open and honest with your doctor. This is not the time to impress your doctor with little white lies about your eating, exercise, or sleeping habits. Your doctor can’t offer you suggestions for better health if you aren’t fully honest.
- Listen and take notes. Listen to your doctor. Even if you don’t intend to take his or her advice, listen and if necessary take notes. You may later decide to take that advice. Something may change in your life between your annual physical and later want to remember what your doctor said.
- Commit. Make a commitment to get an annual physical every year for the rest of your life. Mark your calendar for next year when you can have your next physical.
This dedication to health applies to your dental health as well. Instead of annually, you need to see your dentist every six months. When I was fresh out of college, I went two years one time before going to the dentist. Fortunately I had no cavities but the cleaning was a grueling. After that appointment I promised never to miss a 6 month check-up again. There is a direct correlation to your physical health and your dental health. Bottom line, healthy people have healthy teeth.
“The first wealth is health.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
“It is health that is real wealth and not pieces of gold and silver.” – Mohandas Gandhi
I am grateful to have a doctor that I trust. I feel better after my physical. I feel that I have confirmation of my good health. It is like getting recertified every year.
Have you had your annual physical this year?
Why or why don’t you get your annual physical?