Bad Disease

I am grateful for trustworthy medical practitioners. You’re supposed to be able to talk to your doctors and dentists honestly. But when they don’t deal honestly with you, a barrier comes up. You won’t be able to get the best medical care possible while the barrier is there.

I switched dentists. Not long ago, I had my first cleaning with the new dentist. This new office was fantastic! They put me at ease from the waiting room onward. The ladies at the front counter were friendly and seemed to be content in their jobs. And so was everyone else I met.

They talked to me about my teeth and my past dental history and everything was put out there in a nice neat row. I didn’t feel that I needed to lie and they seemed to truly have my best interest in mind. They even took photographs of each individual tooth and let me see the pictures and ask questions. That was cool!

Now, I know, this is probably how it is supposed to be. So let me briefly describe dentist #1 for you. I’ve never been afraid of the dentist and I take good care of my teeth. I don’t even eat much candy or sweets.

But with dentist #1, I began to get very anxious. The dentist and hygienists made catty remarks about other dentists in the area. Then, they proceeded to tell me how I needed thousands of dollars of work done to my mouth, including braces (which I’ve already had). I left in an emotional haze. I called my husband and bawled. We could not afford it. Did I need it? Did I really have four cavities? I haven’t had a cavity since I had baby teeth and now I have four?!?!

After the tears dried, rationality settled upon me. For some reason, I continued going to this dentist for another year. Each time, they told me I had cavities, although at one point they decided it was maybe two. But they were so wishy-washy with where and how many that I don’t even think they knew. So I never got them drilled.

I left the new dentist office with the great news: No decay. No cavities.

Some doctors and dentists don’t want you to be involved in the medical process. They may feel that you have nothing to offer that could contribute to their expertise. They shut you out and tell you about your health and your condition. But that creates an incomplete equation.

The doctor or dentist doesn’t know your normal diet or other habits that inevitably affect your health in some way or another. They don’t know what you are feeling or where the pain is unless you tell them. So why do they cut you out of the conversation? (Dentist #1 also told me I have sensitive teeth, but I don’t recall ever cringing while eating ice cream.)

I believe doctors should be developing a relationship with their patients, not categorizing us. Each of us is genetically different and no situation is exactly alike. As patients we have a right to be treated as a human being. (Where’s Patch Adams when we need him?)

More importantly, as a doctor or dentist, it is your ethical duty to provide care that’s in the best interest of your patient. Not the insurance company. Greed is a bad disease, my friend.

So now, I’m rewarded for trusting my gut. Not only did I save myself money, but my healthy teeth were not drilled for the sake of padding someone’s pocket.

Question the things that don’t feel right. Just because someone says you are sick or you have a medical problem does not necessarily make it true. Get a second opinion.

Listen to your body. It’s the only one you’ve got. No one can know more about your health than you. You’re the only one who spends 24 hours of every day inside your body.

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It’s Okay to Love Art

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I’ve always excelled in school and book work. I didn’t particularly love math, but at least I didn’t loathe it. I was curious about the world and how it worked.

Biology and environmental science drew me in. But I found that although I had the aptitude to excel in the scientific classroom, I really didn’t care to know why the sky is blue. I just loved the fact that it grows darker and lighter depending on where you look. It’s a privilege to see how it explodes into beautiful colors in the right conditions. Real scientific, huh?

I can excel and flourish in science and math, but I really just want to observe life and create. I’m curious to why things happen the way they do, but I hate the step-by-step scientific process to figure it out.

When I’m really honest with myself, I realize that I’ve never actually been good at the scientific process. I get bored doing things in an exact, precise way that never changes or is challenged.

What I love is the human condition. We are capable of such wonderful beauty. And at the same time, we can be so terrible that the acts we commit are unspeakable. We are conflicted. We are not one thing, but many and all at once. It’s our greatest feat to be so varied and yet sometimes so predictable in nature. It’s a mystery, even as we think we have it all figured out.

Just because you’re artistic doesn’t mean you can’t excel in science and math. But equally, just because you excel in science and math doesn’t mean you can’t create. I am many things, all rolled into one. Varied and yet predictable. We all are.

Considering how long I’ve identified myself with science, this is actually kind of ground-breaking for me. I now have permission to be what I’ve always been afraid to be: creative. I’ve let the world beat it out of me. Everyone says you can’t make a living by being artistic or creative. You must be able to do well at math and develop analytical skills. Don’t try to think outside the box; just follow the rules like everyone else. Don’t rock the boat.

But innovation comes from these things.

I’ve been so convinced that I can’t make a career out of creativity that I’ve been successful in not making a career out of my analytical skills. I’m frustrated in my career because I’m not being true to who I am. They say follow your passion and the money will also follow. I’m finally starting to understand what that means. I haven’t been making a career because I’ve been trying to force myself to fit into a field I don’t belong in.

It’s time to break free. It’s time to be me. Free. Creative. Artistic. Me.

And there’s nothing wrong with that.

 

 

Photo credit: Matthew Kenwrick / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND