Weighty Matters

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Staying on the Total Care Track

on October 1, 2014

Odd as it might sound, it is sometimes overwhelming to take care of ourselves the way that we need to.  Here’s my case in point.  Among the many wonderful things that I inherited from my parents, came a few not so desirable things.  I have a genetic tendency toward gum disease.  I’ve known this for 20 plus years.  Keeping my gums healthy requires dedication to care at home and visits to the dentist office four times a year for a good periodontal cleaning.

Usually, even when neglecting other aspects of my good health – like I did prior to weight loss surgery when I was super obese and oh-so-sedentary – I still kept those quarterly hygienist appointments for deep cleaning and was mostly good with my home care.   There’s no other way to put this, but somehow in the last 18 months, I spaced on the oral healthy commitment.  I went in March 2013, made next appointment, forgot the appointment until they called to remind at which point, I couldn’t make it.  Rescheduled for a month or so later, but was sick for that one.  See how the slide happens down the slippery slope?  Anyway, I forgot to reschedule right at that point.  Every once in a while I’d think, with a sharp stab of guilt, that I really needed to call and make an appointment, but I’d let it slide.

A couple of weeks ago, the office called me to ask if I’d talk to a co-worker who had questions about our company’s dental insurance plan.  Oh, and did I know it had been quite some time since I’d been in?  *gulp*  “Um, yes, it has and I’ve been meaning to call,” I sort of stammered.  We set an appointment right then.

A few days or a week later, the dentist himself called me too.  He didn’t know that I’d spoken to the office but he’d realized it had been a while since he’d seen me and wondered how I was doing.  Honestly, I feared a scolding, but he is one of the coolest dentist’s in the world.  We acknowledged that we both know that I know what I need to do to protect my gums and, ultimately, my teeth, against disease and moved on.

So, the appointment was this morning.  They x-rayed, did that poke test, thoroughly cleaned and polished and the dentist also came in and did his examination.  I feel like I dodged a dental bullet.  The results weren’t anywhere nearly as bad as I feared.  There’s room for improvement which can happen as long as I stick to the home care regime and come in for the cleanings four times a year.  You can bet that I made the appointment for my next visit before I left the office and it’s already on my calendars.

While I was stretched out in the chair, sometime between the gum poking and the final polishing, I had a realization.  We can’t pick and choose  the essential elements of our self-care.  Annual physicals, breast self-checks and mammograms for women, prostate self-checks for guys, eye exams and dental visits aren’t optional.

It doesn’t matter if I’m crazy busy at work and have more than enough extra-curricular activities to tie up my nights.  These are things for which I must make the time.  It’s not like I ever miss making or keeping my manicure and pedicure appointments.

Honestly, it’s deep on the dopey side for me to overlook any of these elements when I’m working so hard on my weight loss and overall physical fitness.  If the goal is the most healthy Mary I can be, which it is, then I need to be vigilant about the entire package.  Total Care.

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