I don’t look forward to visiting the doctor, and I know I’m not the only one. The only reason I’ve continued to go over the years is because I’m convinced that the one year I don’t go is the year I’m going to contract a devastating disease like Ebola or Bird Flu. Men are notorious for avoiding a trip to their physician’s office at all costs (and some studies point to a large number of men that don’t even have a primary care provider). Though it’s not talked about as often, the truth is that many women are guilty of it too.
So let’s discuss some of the most common excuses given for not visiting the doctor.
5 excuses for not getting an annual physical (and why they’re bad ones)
1. I’m too busy to fit it into my schedule.
Really? That’s what you’re going with? Look, I understand a hectic schedule as much as the next guy, and we all know that in a society like ours, time is everything and life is short. But, the truth is – we make time for the things that are important to us. Think about your last job interview. Did you have time to make that? Are you on time to work everyday? If so, you probably place a high level of importance on work ethic. If you’re late every once and a while, it may be because you placed more importance on 5 more minutes of sleep, or on the breakfast bar that you went back to get after you drove to the end of your street and realized you forgot it.
So, is your health important to you? Do you place value on growing old, enjoying more years of life? That question is largely rhetorical, but if your answer is no, that’s all the more reason to see a doctor (and probably not the kind that we’re talking about today).
If you look over the last year of your life, you’ll quickly realize that you had a few hours to spare for a visit to your doctor. A doctor’s visit really requires, on average, 2 hours away from your normal daily activities. You can visit an express care or urgent care center to receive a physical or annual health screening too. Many offices like Piedmont Express Care also utilize a service for checking-in online, so you can get a same-day appointment and do most of your waiting from your home or office.
2. My doctor doesn’t listen to me or seem to really care about me.
We’d like to think that someone who spends the time and money to go through medical school is doing it because they actually care about the people they serve. Hopefully, you just caught your doctor on a bad day or two (it happens!) But if you really feel like your experience was irreparable, try another doctor! Sometimes you just have to find the right fit for your needs/personality. Doctors are people too, and some get along better with certain patients than they do with others.
Trying a new doctor is easy, and there’s no better time to do it than at your annual physical. That way, you can vet a doctor before a serious ailment or emergency hits, and know that you’re going to have someone on your side that you know and trust.
3. I’m the picture of health; I don’t need a doctor.
How can you be so sure? Just because you don’t have any noticeable symptoms doesn’t mean that you’re not sick. For some people, a heart attack may be the first noticeable symptom of heart disease, and that can be too late. Going to the doctor regularly gives your physician the opportunity to check in on your risk factors, give you advice for prevention, and be a partner in your overall health.
4. I’m afraid to go to the doctor.
Fear is one of the most common reasons people avoid going to the doctor. There are the patients who call for an appointment every time they sneeze and cough, and there are the ones on the other side of the spectrum. Some will refuse to go to the doctor, no matter how bad the mole looks or how bad the cough is. This may be because they feel invincible, or it may be because they are terrified to hear a bad diagnosis. Unfortunately, many conditions require early diagnosis for effective treatment, so it’s really important to push through that fear and recognize that you’ll have less to fear in the long run if you just get to the doctor.
Some people are afraid of needles, and some just feel uncomfortable or awkward wearing a paper gown. It’s difficult to be in such a vulnerable position, being asked to confide all your health habits and struggles. Your physician really does want to help you to be your healthiest self, and if you can view the paper gown, the poking, and prodding as necessary evils, it may be a little bit easier to take them in stride. Nobody enjoys that part of it, but in the end avoiding that discomfort just isn’t priority when it comes to your health.
5. Visiting the doctor’s office is too expensive.
Unfortunately, this can be true, so it’s been a good excuse in the past. Healthcare costs are rising; some reports estimate that between 1996 and 2006 the average cost of a visit to the doctor rose more than 50%. The aim of the new Affordable Care Act is to help with some of those costs and also to help make healthcare more accessible in general. Great news: ACA (or Obamacare as it is sometimes called) had made huge strides in making most preventive care available at no cost to you. Most insurance plans make you eligible for this perk, so you may have to officially retire this excuse!
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