What’s Your Excuse?

Even these stethoscopes look like scary snakes (another excuse). Photographer: renjith krishnan, www.freedigitalphotos.net


Normally it is men who hate going to the doctor. They make up excuses for why they don’t have to go and why there is no need to make an appointment. They usually have a long list of reasons and can justify themselves until they are blue in the face. Usually it is their wives who threaten to call the doctor and schedule it for them if they do not do it themselves. So why is it just the opposite in my house?

I have been avoiding a trip to the doctor for my annual exam for months now. I do not purposely ignore my husband’s request–he only wants me to take care of myself so that he will not lose me unexpectedly one day. I just continue to come up with any and every excuse why I do not need to go or why I did not make an appointment.

It is odd because while I do tend to lean towards more homeopathic and natural medicine, I am not opposed to more traditional medicine or doctors. If I had a given health issue I would most likely pursue a less traditional method of medicine, for example, acupuncture. However, if after reviewing all the options a traditional form of medicine was a better way to handle the situation, I would do whatever it took.

A little over a year ago I was standing in the shower and noticed a small black mole in the middle of my chest. Unlike some women I do not have this porcelain white unmarked skin. I have moles, I have freckles, I have birthmarks, all of which I know their exact shape, size and color. So when I found a new mole, although it was tiny in size, a new mole that was black concerned me.

As soon as I got out of the shower I rushed to show my husband and ask him if he had noticed the “new” mole before. He did not recognize it and asked me to make an appointment and get it checked. Amazingly I did not argue or come up with one single excuse, I made my appointment that day and was in to see my dermatologist before the week was up.

After two separate visits to the dermatologist, and one procedure to remove the mole and another to remove a larger section from the area which the mole was removed, everything came back clear and normal with nothing to worry about. I did not have cancer, I did not have this terribly traumatic experience, yet I still do not want or like to go to the doctor.

Other than that most recent doctor visit, I have made many a trip for an annual exam or check up. I have been through 5 pregnancies and given birth to two babies (more on that in my post entitled “Move Over Abortion, Miscarriage=Jail Time“), none of which I really had a horrible experience with any particular doctor. I have stories and things that were not handled particularly well but nothing that would make me say “there is no way I going to go back to any doctor.” So why do I always have an excuse?

I have created a non-problem for myself and I need to get over it. Maybe the only way I can move forward is to list my favorite excuses and give myself reasons why my excuses are not valid.

1) I am perfectly healthy, there is no reason to go to the doctor. This is probably my favorite to use for myself. Ironically though I would never allow my children to give me that excuse. I make sure that every one of them goes to the doctor once a year to get a once over and not because I am worried there is something wrong, but because I want to ensure that everything is on track and that they continue to stay healthy. On the other hand, I do not rush them to the doctor the moment they show signs of a cold or flu, I generally let nature take its course unless it becomes concerning. The point here is if I require my children to see the doctor each year and they are healthy, shouldn’t I be a better role model and follow my own prescription?

2) Every time I get my annual check up there is nothing wrong. Why do I need to go in for my annual exam, climb up on a cold table, have cold metal instruments poked inside of me when every single year my test results come back normal? The answer is probably pretty obvious, you never know when those test results may come back with a problem. I should want to know if there is something wrong sooner than later.

3) I was just too busy to stop and make an appointment today. This is my favorite excuse, and probably because I can truly justify it. I do have excessively busy days between work and children. Plus when you choose to not make something a priority it is easily pushed aside. I think I need to reevaluate the fact that while I may not put this on my top priority list, my husband does. That alone should make me move setting an appointment up to the top of my list.

4) I need to find a new doctor and don’t know who to go to. Again this one has been a very valid excuse for me these past few months. My previous doctor was older and has retired, plus he was not someone I really wanted to continue seeing. So I have not had a doctor and I was not taking the time to ask around and find a new one. Because I do not want to go I have not made it a priority to find a doctor. But really, how hard is it to ask your girlfriends who they go to and what they think of him/her?

5) I do not like people touching me. More accurately, if you are not my husband, children, parents or extremely good friends with me, DO NOT TOUCH ME! I have serious personal space issues and I do not like allowing people into my bubble. I lived in Hawaii when I was pregnant with my now 11-year-old son. I don’t know what it is about the culture there but everyone is extremely touchy-feely and most people who live there love hugging and touching. As you can imagine, here I was pregnant and I became this magnet for people I knew and did not know to be drawn to rubbing and touching my baby belly. I was horrified. My friends would laugh because I could see strange women bee-lining for me, hands stretched out and I would turn and run. So the thought of anyone standing over me touching and poking and prodding, doctor or not,  makes me extremely uncomfortable. Honestly I am not sure how I am going to discredit this excuse. I am just going to have to convince myself that it is just once a year and if I can get through child birth and strange nurses, I can get through this. Although at the end of the day when you are having a baby you get to go home with your sweet beautiful baby–I am pretty sure I will not be going home with anything after this doctors visit except an appointment card for the next one.

I know that I have come up with many other excuses over the years but these are the ones I have used the most. I have unjustified myself and removed all of my excuses, now tell me about you. Do you go to the doctor for everything or do you avoid going? Do you have any other excuses that I did not think of?

For the record I have an appointment scheduled and I will be going to the doctor in just few short weeks. I have stopped making excuses, even though I am still dreading going.

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