Sunday, October 09, 2011

Taking Care

This weekend marked a couple of minor events that actually represent pretty big achievements for me. One was something I'd been working towards for a while, and the other was something that I had been avoiding for even longer.

Shortly after I started losing weight I decided to ditch my blood pressure and cholesterol medications, so that by the time I got down to my goal weight I could get them both retested and find my new natural levels. I'm still a kilo and a bit from my stated goal, but I decided it as time to get it done.

So I visited my new doctor Doogie John recently (who is both very sweet and about 12 years old, or so it would appear) and had a bunch of tests done. Given my family history I had poor expectations of my cholesterol levels, and even though they were much improved they were still bad enough for me to go back on the medications.

What I was pleased about though was that my blood pressure has gone from high back into the normal range. John was very complimentary, and said that he applauded the changes I had made to be proactive about my health. Frankly it was the pat on the back that I really needed, and I left with a big smile on my face and a sigh of relief. I have terrible family history when it comes to heart disease, and it was the realisation that I needed to try and avoid a similar fate to my father and all of his siblings that was one of the main impetus to start losing weight in the first place.

Secondly, something I have been putting off for a very long time... a visit to the dentist. It might sound like a trivial thing, but it was huge for me. I had very bad experiences as a teenager (4 rear molars pulled by a less than skilled dentist), and so as an adult my relationship to dentistry has been sporadic at best. I'm phobic. So making an appointment for Saturday and actually showing up were a big deal for me.

It wasn't so bad. Best of all my new dentist was very understanding, not at all interested in public shaming, and prone to placing a reassuring hand on my shoulder. I was cleaned, polished, x-rayed, rinsed and swilled, and left with the knowledge that while I have quite a bit more work to be done in the future, I would be ok with that. Yes the cost is daunting, but having just conquered that silly fear was quite a bonus.

So two fears put to bed, and most importantly two steps towards being more proactive about my future health. Two big steps for me.


Laura Aanenson said...

Andrew, first of all GOOD FOR YOU! I'm not a big fan of dentists either. When I called to make my first appt with Dr Current, I asked if he was good with children. The nurse said, "Yes, he's very good, do you have children?" "I do", I said, "but that's not why I'm asking." LOL Here's the bonus to keep in mind; good dental health rolls into good heart health. I applaud you, you're inspiring me to get back on the treadmill!

M-H said...

I was seriously dento-phobic - growing up in NZ we had dental nurses, who were poorly-trained kind of dentists, all through primary school. They could drill, but not give injections. I had some extremely painful experiences. As a teenager I went to an elderly dentist who wasn't much better.

But here in Sydney I have found an excellent, gentle dentist, and for the first time in my life I keep up the visits. I have had a lot of trouble, including three root canals and several caps and bridges, but I have confidence in his ability to look after me.

And well done on the weight. I'm in the same place, and it's not easy.

The Other Andrew said...

Thank you Laura! Yes, I was really surprised the first time I read about the link between dental care and heart health. Not something you'd expect!

M-H, it's amazing how a bad experience as a child can affect you for the rest of your life isn't it? Once you get past that and find a someone nice it makes you so relieved.

Cecilia said...

Good for you! This is all very impressive!

wow gold said...

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Ur-spo said...

good news, all of it
I am pleased to hear when people take better care of themselves, and it it rewarded with better health and less need for pills.

Anonymous said...

Excellent re. the dentist Andrew - you have just reduced your risk of stroke and other complications by looking after your teeth :)

On an unrelated note there is a sign at my dentist that says: You don't need to brush all of your teeth, only the ones you want to keep.