Health Care or Lack Thereof: Listening to your body

Do you ever think about the worst case scenario? I think of it more often than I should. If it does not end up being the worst case scenario that does provide some relief. It is the worrier inside of me, which is not necessarily a good thing. For a period of time, I did not have health insurance. I would tell you a secret, but I do not want it to come back and haunt me. Having no insurance means I have formed a bad habit and that is not listening to my body when it is trying to tell me what’s up.

I just came from the dentist and I finally explained everything that I was worried about instead of going for my routine cleaning and bouncing. I let them know I have been dealing with some pain in my jaw for awhile. When it first manifested the pain was so excruciating that I couldn’t do anything let alone want to and would lay there with a heating pad against my neck. Because I felt the pain so intensely in my neck I assumed it was just my neck and started going to physical therapy. By this time I was on Medicaid because I would not even think about going to physical therapy having no insurance. I wouldn’t have been at the doctor’s office, to be frank.

Moving along two bottles of muscle relaxers later and a tube of something I cannot remember or pronounce I am sure and I am here. The pain subsided and it still shows up every day, but not as intense. Eventually, the pain came back full force shortly after I moved to Maryville. I decided to go to the doctors and made sure to think about everything I was going to say and not leave until I got an answer that made sense.

Rewind, before I decided to drop in and go I asked around first. I am in a small town, majority white people, and doctors are known for not treating their underrepresented patients fairly (some I should say). I ended up getting an answer that made more sense than what the previous doctor had told me and now I needed to find a dentist. Afraid to be treated unfairly I prolonged getting treatment (serious problem). Fast forward to today I went and got my answers.

Long story short its stress. It made sense considering when it first manifested I was depressed and trying to crawl towards the Miami University in Oxford, Ohio SAHE finish line. At one point getting out of bed was an accomplishment for me.

The lesson is to listen to your body when you can. The problem is that too many of us are not able to afford the proper health care when stress manifests itself in our bodies so intensely. On top of the money, I have to spend because I am grinding/clenching my teeth way too much I am also seeing a therapist/acupuncturist. Now I know that someone does not have to see an acupuncturist, but I am thankful I am getting sort of a 2 for 1 deal.

Another issue is that the medical industry needs to pay more attention to who they hire as nurses, doctors, etcetera and talk about how they can be more inclusive. I will add that we need to advocate for more underrepresented students that want to go into this field instead of bringing them down. It is not easy and we can do better at providing resources and supporting them. I know the conversation is happening somewhere, but more conversations and action need to take place. We have to pay the most for healthcare in the United States yet we have the shitiest healthcare (excuse my language).

In all of this just listen to your body when it is talking to you. Take the day off if you are able, go to bed earlier, workout, read, write, take yourself out (I do this all the time #IDATEMYSELF).

Love your body and be kind to it too.

P.S. my worst case scenario was that I would have to get braces as an adult and braces are expensive or that they were going to have to do something crazy to my jaw. Nope, just stress and a much less expensive but still expensive dentist bill.

**I do not have any rights to the picture used for this post.

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