The topic of this post is something on my sort of imaginary (because I’ve never written it down) list of silly things I think about because I’m a former Christian Scientist, and it is something I’ve written on before. I recently had an appointment with a new dentist I recently switched to. As with any such appointment with a new care provider, there are the usual questions about allergies, medications, and any family medical history to be aware of. Proudly, I listed the three medications I do take (all related to asthma and allergies). Now, most people wouldn’t think anything of this sort of thing, but for me, it’s still a bit of a big deal to be a ‘normal’ person who sometimes does take prescription medications, or who is at least open to the idea.
Then came the question that usually comes with every visit: “Is there anything unusual or that concerns you that we should be aware of?” Now, when I was a Christian Scientist, I did visit the dentist regularly–this is an odd exception to the general rule in Christian Science ‘culture’ of not partaking of anything medical. When I was still in Christian Science, I would usually downplay or even decline to mention anything out of the ordinary, even if there was something. Now, I don’t hesitate to mention things, and the only struggle I have is to try to accurately describe what I’m concerned about (somehow just saying something feels ‘weird’ comes off as sounding stupid to me). At this appointment, I mentioned a recently crowned tooth that I had recently, but not currently, experienced some odd sensations, so they did x-ray it and examined it carefully, finding nothing, and since the sensation I had experienced was mild, and had abated, they felt it was probably some minor irritation from food or plaque. Nonetheless, the concern is noted, and the tooth will receive scrutiny next time.
Something else that dentists commonly do nowadays is to screen for oral cancer. I first recall this becoming the norm around 15 years ago, and when I was still in Christian Science, I always felt uncomfortable with this examination, and I recall at one time asking that they not perform this examination. Now, I welcome it, and this new dentist utilizes some new technology recently developed at a large university here in Canada, that enhances the screening process far beyond what the visual examination most dentists use is capable of. My dentist also pointed out the risk factors for oral cancer which, for me, are quite low. Most oral cancers are related to lifestyle choices. Since I don’t use tobacco, my risk is quite low. However, now I’m grateful that expert eyes are looking out for me every six months, and if there is anything to worry about, it will be caught early enough for successful, and much more minimally traumatic treatment.
As I drove away from my appointment, it really did hit me how I used to downplay or ignore symptoms that I should have been concerned about. Fortunately, I skated by without serious consequences, but many others aren’t so lucky; and as I’ve written in previous posts, neither would I over the past few years, as I have had some serious health issues arise that have been successfully treated thanks to my new-found willingness to not downplay symptoms or concerns. It’s been a gradual process for me to become more observant of my body, and more willing to answer that question, “Is there anything we should be aware of?” I’ve definitely had a few lessons on this, and am much less afraid to answer honestly.
- Don’t Let a Minor Become a Major: a post I wrote in 2014 on a similar topic.
- Giving Thanks: a post I wrote in 2014 where I mention treatment I received for a severe foot infection.
- I Am a Sensitive Guy: a post I wrote in 2015 about a visit to the Emergency room.
- The Ex-Christian Scientist – Healthcare Resources: a resource page on the Ex-Christian Scientist* website that lists useful health care-related resources, articles, and stories from former Christian Scientists and their experiences with medical care.
- Kindism: Christian Science Health Care Guide: a resource page on Kindism for former (and current) Christian Scientists who need to navigate the unfamiliar (to most of them) world of modern medical care.
*It should be noted that the author of this blog is an editor/writer for ‘The Ex-Christian Scientist’.