The Lord is my light and my salvation;
Whom should I fear?
The Lord is my life’s refuge;
Of whom should I be afraid?
Today, I am scheduled for my annual physical. Why do I dread these appointments? I am in excellent health, so why the apprehension?
I am grateful that I have access to good medical care and the resources (time, money, and options) to take advantage of that good care. I think about and empathize with so many who have neither access nor resources. I think, too, of all those whose visits to the doctor are monthly, weekly, or even daily.
Part of the dread comes from filling out yet another medical history. By the time I finished with the list of possible ailments, I was wondering if maybe I might not be so healthy after all! Not to mention having to report weight gain and lack of exercise! Filling out my family medical history and my own surgical history raised thoughts and feelings of medical visits and procedures of years ago. I could not help but evaluate my level of risk of developing family health conditions. There are also memories of doctors’ visits when I was the caregiver, and not the patient. Even with the best of physicians, these visits are full of dread and apprehension.
Neither living in the past nor fearing future possibilities is a healthy way to live. Today, I pray to live in the present with gratitude for my good health and with sensitivity to others’ health situations. I remember, too, all caregivers whose daily, weekly, and monthly visits to the doctor are in support of a loved one and not themselves.
While I’m on the subject, let me remind all of you about healthcare advance directives. If you have not had that conversation yet with your family, do so today. Put in writing your decisions and desires about your health in the event that one day you need someone else to make health decisions for you. If you already have a health advance directive, check the date. In August, I signed a new document when I realized that my previous statement was signed nine years ago. Think of your document as a gift to your family – as it surely is.