The Things We Do to Be Healthy
Being an adult is hard. There, I said it. Envy bubbles up from the recesses of my mind when I consider the responsibility-free life of my children. As an adult, I am expected to take care of my health. I brush my teeth without being told and go to the dentist, hoping to never have a set of fake teeth soaking in a cup of fizz in the bathroom overnight. I get an eye exam every year so my vision can support my driving. (I think there are other adults in my town who are neglecting to take care of their vision. Either that or they’re just terrible drivers, but I’m trying to give them the benefit of the doubt.)
I schedule a yearly physical, allowing a nurse to stab me in the arm, steal my blood, and humiliate me by asking me to pee in a cup and claim it as my own, writing my name on the cup. All the while I’m praying the numbers in my blood panel will stay low enough to prevent medicine to battle blood pressure, cholesterol, etc. I make an effort to exercise and eat healthy foods so I can be a part of my children’s lives, as well as their children and their children’s children. (Full disclosure: I don’t actually eat healthy and exercise every day–I’m not a machine, after all. I eat healthy foods six days per week then reward myself with a cheat day. Three bad meals per week is better than twenty-one, right?)
Once I hit a certain age, my doctor added on a wonderful (sarcasm) new way to take care of myself: a mammogram. Any thoughts of modesty should be dismissed for this appointment. No moment of privacy to prepare for the x-rays was offered. No paper clothing of any kind was provided. (I realize how pathetic it is that I was actually wishing for a paper gown.) I swallowed any remaining pride and stepped forward for the real fun. Less than a foot separated me from a fully-clothed technician while my attire was … um … a bit lacking. Lift here, lean back but slouch to the right, hold on to this bar, and hold your breath while precious body parts are crushed, mashed, and pinched in between two panels. This is no x-ray machine; it’s a torture chamber. Why are we still using contraptions from the Middle Ages? And what crime did I commit to deserve this painful experience?
I left the room, relieved to put that nightmare behind me … only to walk down the hall for the rest of my visit. If you’re struggling with pride, searching for a way to humble yourself, this is just the place. By the time you slog your way to the car, you will be devoid of any dignity or feeling of self-importance. But guess what I will subject myself to in two more years? Another mammogram. Take your health seriously and sign yourself up for a round in the torture chamber–I mean a mammogram–today!