By Linda D. Wattley
I remember when my Aunt Gwen went to the dentist. She was excited about getting a new and beautiful smile. When she returned from the dentist, her face was swollen making her look like a monster. By the next day, she was in excruciating pain and the swelling had doubled in size. We rushed her to the hospital. In less than a week, she died. I never forgot that.
My stepfather took ill and had to go to the hospital. While in the hospital, his health improved well enough for him go home, but first had to take one more test. This test required drinking barium, a drink taken before getting an x-ray. After successfully taking the test, he died. We learned the barium had found a way back up to his throat.
My father also had to be admitted to the hospital. Just when he was being released to go home, something happened; he could not breathe so a breathing tube was administered down his throat. During the process, one of his lungs was punctured causing fluids to fill his lungs. He died.
These three situations made me unable to trust the medical field with my life. I live believing in preventative measures to stay alive. If you take care of yourself, you will not need to depend on doctors to live. Though this was my philosophy, I still knew I should have a family physician for my family. My friend who is a nurse worked for a family physician, Dr. Dennis Yee. He was the only one I trusted and still trust to this day. I was taking good care of myself. But one day, my teeth hurt. Of course I was distraught about it, because now I had to trust someone to help me.
I’ve seen my co-workers, all of them schedule doctor’s appointments, have surgeries and therapies for years. I never had to go except for rare moments of not being able to get rid of colds or flu symptoms. I knew if I ever needed a referral for a dentist, Lois, my girl, was the one to ask. She has the best physicians and they take good care of her. Guess who went to the dentist? When I got there, they were amazed at the fairly good condition of my teeth and gums, especially since I have not seen a dentist in over thirty years. The dentist told me it was a good thing I came at this precise time in my life because I was a candidate for developing periodontal disease. This disease comes with aging and can cause you to lose your teeth. If it weren’t for sinus pressure, I may very well be on the journey of losing my teeth.
The next year after acquiring a dentist, I encountered another experience that I could not handle. I was experiencing a loud pulsating sound in my right ear, and my ankles continued to swell. I tried elevating my feet and that would work temporarily; the thumping sound in my ear became annoying, keeping me awake at night. I knew I was going to have to see my family doctor sooner or later. The only reason I went was because in about three months, he was going to retire. He had not seen me in over eight years.
When I came into the office, he took my blood pressure and it was 160 over 120. Immediately, he ordered me to get a complete blood work done and stool sample to see what was going on with me. All my results came back excellent. He could not believe how good my cholesterol was. This made me feel great about my efforts to take care of myself. Dr. Yee suggested I take medicine to bring down the blood pressure but didn’t force the ideal knowing I do not care for prescribed meds. He told me if I lose weight, exercise, go walking and do yoga I probably will not have to keep taking the prescribed meds.
I trusted his every word. Before he retired, I lost 15 lbs. while walking, exercising and doing yoga. Today, I can say my blood pressure is down and I have not taken any more prescribed meds. Though the pulsating sound did not go away, it did occur less often. My mom begged me to see an ear, nose and throat doctor to make sure all was well. Dr. Steinberger is a specialist in this field who I had worked for as medical assistant years ago. Since I knew him I visited his office for help. He also was amazed at my good health and told me to not worry about the sound in my ear because it will eventually go away. I am feeling great about the medical professionals now; so much so I decided to see a chiropractor to see if he could help me with my sciatic nerve pain I have lived with for over thirty years due to a bad car accident.
Trusting Lois again, I visited her chiropractor. Not only did his treatments reduce the ongoing sciatic pain I have lived with for many years, his treatments aided in eliminating a lot of the pulsating sound in my ear. I am so thankful I decided to go to the chiropractor. When a 50-ton asphalt truck rear ended me in 1986, I was told by my doctors I would probably be on muscle relaxers for the rest of my life. I chose tolerance to bear the pain over medication. Finally, so much of my suffering has subsided after all these years!
Today, I am happy to say at the age of 59, I feel better than I felt in years simply because I went to the doctor, dentist and chiropractor. All this time, existing in my limitations, struggles and drops in energy, I thought this is how it felt to be older, but I was so wrong. I feel amazingly great! Go to the doctors, take good care of yourself. Trust me, I learned just in time to enjoy the rest of my life. I have energy!
My name is Linda Diane Wattley, author of “Soldier with a Backpack Living and Dying Simultaneously”. PTSD is no respecter of persons. I am a firm believer, “The truth will set you free if you let it”. I share my life’s journey to encourage others to be the best they can be and to enjoy life to the fullest. I am from Akron, Ohio and available for book signings and speaking engagements. For more information visit my website: www.lindadianewattley.com and email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.