Day 12: PSA – Check your health.

Dear friends,

Hello. Thank you for taking the time to read this public service announcement.

Check your health. And check it annually.

This entire experience has really opened my eyes to the importance of maintaining good health and an open relationship with a primary care physician (PCP). Had I had not gone in for a regular check up where lab work was done, they never would have caught the aplastic anemia and I could be dead right now.

So I beg you, please stay on top of your health. No one is going to do it for you. You have to do it for yourself.

There are normally a few barriers that people don’t get over when dealing with their health such as:

1) Being afraid of what they’ll find out.
This is not a good excuse to avoid having an annual checkup with your PCP. Wouldn’t you rather want to know you have stage 1 cancer, begin treatment, and nip it in the bud, instead of denying any pain for some time to find out that since you waited so long you now have stage 4 terminal cancer? Who wants that? Who wants to put their friends and family through that? Granted that’s a worst case scenario but it happens more frequently than you think. Knowledge is power people. Get with the program.

2) Not knowing about/taking advantage of company provided insurance.
I’ve found that more and more of my peers (20-somethings) have never taken advantage of health care provided by their company. This… this infuriates me. What’s the point of having healthcare provided to you by your company, healthcare that you’re paying for out of your paycheck, that you’re not using? It makes no sense. I’ve heard the excuse that it’s “really complicated” or “it doesn’t make sense.” Again, poor excuses. If you don’t know about it or it’s confusing, ask someone about it. Why do you think HR exists? Hell, ask *me* about it and I can give you a very clear break down about the difference between HMOs and PPOs, what exactly a “deductible” is, viable and reasonable insurance options available federally or by your state, and realistic costs for care. I’ll even help you find a PCP in your area. I cannot stress enough how important it is to have health insurance and to use it.

3) Not having/being able to afford health insurance.
This is a little more difficult to get around given one’s financial situation. But even still, there are very affordable insurance plans that are available for people of all tax brackets and age groups. You could argue up and down about how expensive it is, and how it’s not worth it, but in reality it is. You never know when an unexpected emergency will happen and you’ll find yourself in the ER. Nobody wants to have a surprise hospital bill of a couple thousand dollars. A few hundred a year could save you tens of thousands a year.
A simple Google search for “health insurance” will bring up a good number of places to start. Under the Affordable Health Act, you actually get a tax penalty if you’re not insured. So do it. Get insured. And use it.

4) Being to busy to deal with the hassle.
Don’t even get me started about how stupid of an excuse this is. Really.

So, I guess the point of this PSA is:

Check your health. And check it annually.

Your health is the number one, most important thing you have control over (for the most part). Some genetic conditions are just unavoidable. Even in those cases, you should be on top of your care. The reason why I’m harping so harshly about this topic is because you are precious, so incredibly special, and important in this world. You should value yourself not only through your existence and contributions to the world, but also by taking care of your body. You only get one shot in this lifetime. Why make things more difficult for yourself by not taking care of your body? Be good to yourself.

Day +12. My white blood cell counts and neutrophils have doubled again! The counts are in the normal range now, and I’m actually well enough to go home today, but we’re waiting for my dad to get here before I’m discharged. I must say having an intact immune system is amazing! I have so much more energy, I can actually think, and I’m able to do more than just lounge around feeling bad about binging Netflix all day. Guys, today is a wonderful day. 🙂


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