“You’re just naturally cystic,” she said casually. “So, when you start getting mammograms, we won’t be surprised.” It was the “we” that struck me more than the “cystic.” I knew my body tended to make benign cysts for fun, but it had been a long time since I had heard a doctor use the word “we” when talking about my personal medical future. My new dentist also used the word later that week.
A warm tenderness brushed over me. I almost flushed. “You still want to be my doctor in five years?” I thought. Or, rather, “You could still be my doctor!” See, it’s been a while since I have stayed in one place long enough to build a new medical history with a single practitioner.
These first months of 2013 have been filled with the hassle of catching up on almost 6 years of inconsistent addresses, spotty care, and big gaps between preventative appointments. In trying to take care of myself, I’ve realized just how poorly I have done so in the last few years. I’m not trying to give myself a hard time; health was passed over for particular and well-intended reasons. However, all of the work (and money) that has gone into bringing my health up to par might be for naught if I don’t keep up with it from here on out.
The reality that I could actually continue a relationship with these doctors is surprisingly mind-blowing. The fact that such an idea consoled me is a sure sign that I would actually appreciate staying put for a little bit. How odd!
I have conflicting opinions on American medical care. Moving around, traveling, and working abroad has made me simultaneously more patriotic and more critical. But, ultimately, what is so appealing is not the quality of the care, but the consistency. Cheers to the idea of not having to start from scratch the next time I want to visit a doctor. But this is the indicator that I’m happy to abate my wanderlust some more? I guess so! Who’d have thought?
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