By: Barbara Bredell-Searle
As I was thinking of a topic for this blog issue, I was sitting in my primary doctor’s office waiting to get my yearly physical. That day, my husband was with me since he had a day off from work. As I continued to sit in the waiting room, I turned to my husband and asked him “When was the last time that you had a physical?” He looked at me and with an expression of uncertainty, he said, “I …think it was last year. Well, since we are so lucky to have the same primary doctor, I went to the desk and asked the medical assistant. When she searched the computer, I was stunned! – It had been 3 years since my husband had his physical. Of course, when he heard that, he tried to explain that his job had given him “sort of a physical” for work purposes. He received the typical: weight check, Tuberculosis test and the once-a-year Flu vaccine. Those are the requirements that his job needs to keep on file for certification verification when the Department of Human Services comes to his employment to conduct their annual inspection.
Well, just like my husband’s job (he works with the older generation), we who are in contact with the very young also need our physicals on file to meet the expectations of: PA Code 55 Chapter 3270.151 (Center) PA Code 55 Chapter 55 3280.151 (Group) Chapter 3290.151 (Family). But wait…I have a question, are you just getting those physicals to meet the requirement for employment or are you getting your physical to stay informed of your health?
Seeing your primary doctor to receive a full physical exam at least once a year is so very important for your health. How can you take care of yourself fully if you are not sure what is going on with your body? Having a regular annual physical will help you touch base with your primary doctor, address any health issues, as well as discuss preventative measures for your future.
Your doctor is there to support you, don’t let the “white coat” scare you from having a conversation about your health. That Staff Health Assessment Form that needs to be filled out every 24 months is just the beginning of your health. Take the time to talk to your doctor about anything that you need to discuss. Self-Care starts with your Physical Health.
Below are some suggestions to prepare you for your visit and to have a conversation with your doctor:
- Write down questions or concerns that you have prior to your visit (Note: If you don’t write those questions down, you are going to forget what you want to talk to your doctor about).
- Ask the doctor’s office what blood work needs to be completed prior to your visit, so you would be able to fast prior to the visit.
- Have a list of all your medications (prescriptions and non-prescriptions) you are currently taking.
- Bring any other medical documentation with you (or have them sent to your primary doctor) from other doctors or specialists.
- Be honest with your doctor when you are asked questions.
I hope that you will take that step of getting your physical for your own self-care.