The Affordable Care Act has had a domino effect in my house. It led me to purchasing new health insurance which forced me to change doctors for the first time in 20 years, which has forced me to think about the healthcare debate in more practical terms. Yesterday was my first annual physical with the new doctor and I have to tell you I couldn’t be happier that the evil government has forced me to put some thought into my healthcare choices.
My old doctor had a habit of always giving me one more thing to work on, or one more thing that he didn’t like. There was never time to celebrate the general good health I had displayed. I wonder what he would have told me this year. The worst news I got yesterday was that I am 5’8″ tall, and there doesn’t seem to be anything either my doctor or I can do about that condition. My old doctor might have at least told me why that was all my fault. That is just how he does it.
So as a very healthy person who just a left a doctor whose glass is half empty for one whose glass is half full, I found it most interesting how unhealthy all of my new doctor’s other patients seem to be. Every bit of good news he discovered in me was met with surprise and comparison to what he normally sees. He asked me twice why I scheduled the physical, seemingly surprised that I am militant about having one every year and even more taken aback by my concern that my normal May scheduling had been pushed to June. For me, no lab numbers were worse than “normal” and many of them were “perfect.”
Now I realize that I work very hard at being healthy. But why is it normal in this country to not have an annual physical? For a 46 year old man? We need a new normal here. There is no longer a good reason not to see your doctor annually. Not seeing your doctor regularly challenges the stupidity of continuing to smoke cigarettes–not that I smoked a pack a day for 20 years or anything. On that note, it’s important to mention that the only person that helped me quit smoking was, you guessed it, my doctor. The old doctor, with the ashtray that was half empty.
Come on people, let’s make use of a national holiday and schedule a physical. Much like we check the batteries in our smoke detectors at the beginning and the end of daylight savings time, maybe we should all schedule our annual physicals on say, Columbus Day. Nothing else happens that day now any way.
Oh and in closing, my new doctor admitted to me to having less than ideal blood pressure which he blamed on his accepted regular habit of consuming beer and pizza. My only advice to him: discuss that with your doctor.