Thursday, April 21, 2011

Nowhere To Run To, Baby - Nowhere To Hide

Less than a year ago I was continuing my lifelong habit of avoiding doctors. This was due to a few different factors – such as having little or no health coverage over the years – but mostly it was because of my irrational fear of anything doctor-related, especially needles.

Eight months – and an HIV/AIDS diagnosis – later, life has changed considerably. I no longer have the luxury of avoiding doctors at all costs. In fact, if it wasn’t for doctor visits, I wouldn’t have much of a social life at all.

Recent appointments:

  • 10 days ago: Emergency appointment with my doctor due to shingles.
  • Yesterday: Visit to Dermatologist to check out a suspicious patch of skin on my back.
  • Today: Regular monthly appointment with my doctor for blood work. He will also be assessing my blood pressure (which has been high), and determining whether or not I need medication to lower it.
  • 2 weeks from now: Follow-up visit to Dermatologist
  • 1 month from now: Regular doctor visit.

None of these are a walk in the park for me – but at least I’m getting used to the idea of being in a doctor’s office without wanting to burst out the door and run for my life.

However, there is ONE appointment – in almost exactly one month – that I’m dreading. On May 23rd I’m finally going to see a dentist.

This is extremely embarrassing to admit, but it’s been 20 years since I sat in a dentist’s chair. Some of this avoidance was due to my previously-discussed phobias, but mostly it was because I haven’t had dental coverage since moving to NYC in the early 90’s.

Luckily (??), the program that pays for my expensive HIV-related medications – NY ADAP (AIDS Drug Assistance Program), will also pay for dental care at certain clinics. And the Callen-Lorde Community Health Center, NYC’s only health care center dedicated to the LGBT/HIV communities, has such a program.

I’ll be honest – my teeth are in bad shape. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if they have to pull them all and give me fake choppers. And THAT news, my darling Bunnies, could very well cause me to burst out the doors of the clinic and run for my life…


Joy said...

Even bad teeth can be saved. They'll clean and repair and all that, but necessary maintenance will be up to you. Flossing will be your friend. Also get a water pic. They help tremendously. Do whatever it takes to keep your teeth! Don't make me come over there!!

xoxoxoxoxox Be brave, Little Bunny!!

froggy said...

Sigh... you are not alone. I HAVE to go now to - staying alive is a pesky but persistent requirement. I was always good with the kids and the round you have to do with them. They had the added bonus of interesting complications - the 8 month headache, the 6 lung surgeries, broken ankle, learning disabilities. I will be thinking of you Friday morning when I am back getting another 3 month lease on life.

Craig said...

oh a man living with AIDS and a health educator to boot, i can assure you your mouth/teeth are closely related to your immune system.

get thee to that dentist!

on the lighter side of morbid - if they give you fake choppers imagine the fun you can give future tricks as you gum them to my naughtier past i had been with a few men with falsies and it was good...

Bob said...

Yeah, dentists ain't fun.
I prefer to be knocked out, let the guy do his work, maybe let him get in a grope or two if he's cute and gives a discount, give me a margarita and let me be on my merry, er, Mary, way.

Mechadude2001 said...

Oh, i feel for you.
I haven't been to the doctor in about a decade. I've been trying to convince myself to make a damn apponintment.
But I had no idea you had to endure that many visits.
sorry, buddy.

Fluffycat said...

I think it's very common for people in our generation to avoid dentists. I know a lot of people who didn't go for years, myself included. I go regularly now. What helped me the most was using a Sonicare. Also, tell your dentist to be gentle with you and explain what they are doing.

dot4668 said...

psst, I'm still currently 'in hiding' from both, I call it my 'time out', don't want to know.

After 17 years and still running, it DOES get better, easier.

And always remember you have a whole bunny nation behind you, supporting your every move

Big Love
your faithful Bunny. D

p.s. Thanks for the honorable Pabst

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