A reader recently commented on one of my posts, stating that they had been a ‘radical relier‘ on Christian Science for much of their life until they left Christian Science, and related a painful dental story. The last sentence of their comment really resonated strongly with me, and my own experience now as a former Christian Scientist.
” . . . I still hesitate to contact for medical help and the longer I hesitate, the more my imagination runs away with me!”
When I read that last line, I saw myself, and probably a large majority of former Christian Scientists. Many of us will wait a lot longer to seek medical attention than others would, and I’m certain me and my friend here are not the only ones who consequently end up letting our imaginations run away with us.
For example, for the past few years, I’ve started to feel noticeably lethargic, unable to sustain a lot of physical activity, and just generally not feeling 100% good. I lost interest in cycling, hiking, running, and other demanding physical activities I used to partake in with some regularity. I felt shortness of breath, occasional dizziness, and fatigue seemingly randomly. I began to think I had some terrible and potentially life-changing condition like diabetes, and/or perhaps heart disease. I have a cousin who has diabetes, and I was told one of my grandfathers may have had it. On the heart disease front, that is what killed my father. So, I had reasonable basis to think maybe I had one or both of these conditions. I was scared of the potential answer.
Earlier this year, I finally got connected with a regular doctor, and had a complete physical with blood work, and a check up with a heart specialist and an allergy specialist, when I mentioned the concerns I had. The blood work came back completely normal (no diabetes), and the heart check-up also came back good. What I do have is asthma, induced somewhat by allergies (I’ve been told to find my cat a new home), which accounts for pretty much most of what I was experiencing symptom and lifestyle-wise. Now that it’s getting under control, I’m getting back on track with physical activity, and losing some weight that I’ve gained. While not something to be scoffed at, the asthma is far less life changing that the other possibilities could have been. I can live a normal life, it isn’t severe, and it’s able to be controlled with medication.
More recently, I had my regular dental check-up, and when they asked the usual, “are there any concerns you have with your teeth?” question, I mentioned that one of my teeth that had recently been crowned occasionally felt “funny” as I put it. Not alarmingly painful, just occasionally odd sensations. During the course of the exam, they discovered that I had an abscess. I’m on antibiotics now to get the abscess under control, and I’ll soon be experiencing the pleasures of a root canal. My hygienist wondered why I hadn’t called, and I said that it didn’t seem serious to me–I wasn’t in excruciating pain or anything, and I knew I had the check-up coming soon, so I figured it could just wait. She said something that will probably stick with me for the rest of my life: “we’d rather you call it in and be dealing with something minor, than for it to end up becoming something serious.”
So, my advice to all former Christian Scientists, well for everyone for that matter is that if you think you do have something that needs attention from the doctor or dentist, or whatever, call. Get it checked out. Better that it just be something minor and they just take care of it or give you advice on managing it until it clears up, than it be something more serious, and something that becomes a serious danger to your health if it goes untreated.