I can’t speak for women, but I can speak for myself: I hate going to doctors. The inconvenience, the terrible morning TV show is blaring away, the dismissive receptionist, and the waiting. And waiting, and waiting.
What you must understand about men is this: generally speaking, most men don’t care about their bodies. They don’t pay attention to what they look like. They don’t particularly want to tend to them, and they certainly don’t want anyone touching or probing them (at least, not in a clinical setting).
Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, boys, but we do need to have a yearly physical. Why? Because we’re not kids anymore We’re mature, responsible adults who have to do certain things to help ensure that we stay as healthy as possible. So, sack-up and put on your big boy underwear cause we’re going to the doctor.
Life is a Highway, but Health is a Two-Way Street
My first car was a ’75 Dodge Dart. $400 bucks, courtesy of my mom. It was a classic example of an “it’ll get you from point A to point B” kind of car. But I loved it! Even though I didn’t treat it like I did.
Mechanic: “When did you last change the oil?”
Me: “I haven’t.”
Mechanic: “How long have you owned it?”
Me: “About a year.”
Laughter. Mechanic laughter.
He then checked the oil level. The stick came up bone dry.
Mechanic: “You know, you were probably a few miles from the engine, seizing.”
Me: “Is that not good?”
Mechanic: “Uh, yeah, that’s not good.”
Don’t look at me like that! I was 18 with zero knowledge of how engines worked (as opposed to 57 with zero understanding of how engines work). The point I’m trying to make is that it’s essential to take care of things, including your body, which is why we’re going to talk about the importance of getting a yearly physical.
What Questions Should You Ask Your Doctor?
Your doctor’s job is to thoroughly examine you and provide you with feedback and instructions on how best to maintain good health. Your job is to ask questions about anything and everything that might be concerning you about your health, which, in turn, will help your doctor do their job.
It’s a literal circle of life. So, if you think all an annual exam consists of is sticking out your tongue and peeing in a cup, you are sorely mistaken. You need to go into that little room armed with heaps of questions. What kind of questions? Funny, you should ask…
1- Do I Still Need All My Medication?
Sometimes, the medication that you’re taking may no longer be needed. Many medications treat symptoms only, and over time those symptoms can go away or alter on their own. Ask if you still need to be taking all of your medication.
2- Does My Family Health Put Me at Risk?
Doctors know to ask about your family’s past illnesses during a first exam, but your family history might have changed slightly in the year since you’ve last seen your doctor. Update your doctor on recent health events concerning relatives and ask if you are at risk for anything based on the new information.
3- Are My Bowel Movements Normal?
This can be an embarrassing question, but if you are having what you think are strange or irregular bowel movements, especially if they are painful or contain blood, you should most certainly ask if they are normal.
4- How is My Blood Pressure?
If your blood pressure isn’t alarmingly high or low, the doctor won’t tell you the exact number unless you ask. However, it can never hurt to get the exact number. Especially if you are worried about tracking it due to your family history or your own medical history.
5 – Would You Recommend Any Additional Screenings?
As we get older, it’s important to be proactive about our health. You may want to ask your doctor if they think you should start any annual screenings, like a colonoscopy, a bit sooner based on your family and medical history.
6- How is My Weight?
Weight can be a very touchy subject, but it can affect your health in very serious ways. It’s important to have a non-judgmental discussion with your doctor if you are pushing the boundaries one way or another.
7- What Do I Need to Do Between Now and My Next Visit?
You and your doctor should take the time to talk about what kinds of things you need to be doing in your daily life to stay healthy—from dietary choices to lifestyle decisions.
8- What Important Questions Haven’t I Asked?
Doctors are people, too, and they might be a bit forgetful. Sometimes they can forget to bring up a topic of discussion, and if you ask them if there is anything that you’ve missed, that little reminder might help them shake that last little bit loose.
A Note from GR8NESS
Life is busy, time is short, and often the first victim of this reality is yourself. That’s not acceptable. Because taking care of what matters is, well, what matters. So, I encourage you to make an appointment for that annual physical, always put your health at the top of your “to-do” list, and always, always have your oil changed every 3,000 miles.