Last week’s variety of medical appointments and conversations with doctors has gotten me to thinking. In none of these appointments was I there for any medical problem.
My dentist saw me when I had my cleaning and made a routine check of my mouth and gums. We chatted about Thanksgiving and the fact that I had a vegan meal. Although we both like turkey and eat some meat. we both see value in eating a plant-based diet for better health. The dentist mentioned that he sees less inflamed gums in people who eat a plant-based diet. Then he said my gums were very healthy and keep doing what I was doing. In other words, I was not there in a crisis mode, and he saw me at a healthy point in time.
My internist saw me for a yearly checkup. We chatted about all sorts of things, including my diet, but more about what I’m doing in life and what I still want to accomplish. She is tuned in to what my body is doing and that I want to live to be very old. She sees it as a good possibility. Again, she saw me at a healthy point in time.
Since it had been five years since my last eye exam, and I felt that my vision may have changed a bit, I had an appointment with my optometrist whom I have known for a few decades and who is the same age as me. He points this out each time I see him. He has cut back his hours to three days a week and, unlike my internist, still takes new patients, but no longer wants to work as hard as he did when younger. His health is excellent so we compared notes as to what each of us was doing to maintain our health. One of his diagnostic tools is photo of the inside of the eyeball. From that picture he can diagnose diabetes at its earliest form, high cholesterol, and the beginnings of macular degeneration. My tissue and blood vessels are all healthy and “pretty,” meaning no hardening of arteries, no signs of inflammation. Our conversation was devoted to how to maintain that state.
All of this has lead me to believe (or to remind me of what I already believe) that it’s good to see medical professionals when you are well so that they know you in that state, not just when you are sick and miserable. Life is meant to be lived in good health, not illness. Your doctor should know what your good health looks like and what your plans for the future are so (s)he can keep you there or bring you back to that state so you can have that future.