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Last week I was sick with what I thought at first was a cold, but turned out to be an infection. I went to the doctor’s, got antibiotics, and I feel much better now. It reminded me of how nice it is to have health care, and to be able to go to a doctor when needed.

I have had health care for periods of my adult life, but many times I have not, and my first impulse is not to call a doctor when something happens. Over time, I have developed an attitude of wait-and-see when things happen with my body. Two or three times a year, I get a lower back ache that lasts about three days and then goes away. I have chronic pain in my legs that is usually low-level and manageable, and when the pain increases above a certain level I will take some over-the-counter pain reliever until it subsides. When I didn’t have a doctor or could afford one, I learned to make do, and it became a habit.

When my cold last week didn’t get better, in fact it moved to my eyes, I still thought I would wait it out with cold medicine. My husband, Darren, urged me to go to the doctor, but I didn’t think it was that bad. I suggested he call the doctor’s office, describe my symptoms, and get their opinion. Darren called, the office said that not only did I need to come in, but that I was also highly contagious. Yikes. And they had an appointment that afternoon, if I wanted it. I said yes immediately. Turns out that I had a sinus infection and pink eye. I got antibiotics and forty-eight hours later I was no longer contagious. I got tired easily for a few days this week, but I feel much better.

It is nice to have a medical office to call with health questions. This is a luxury to me, having someone a phone call away to answer medical questions and give me information. It is nice to have a regular doctor that I know and who knows me. It is nice to have the right medicine at the right time. And it is nice to have it covered by insurance, so I can afford to do it.

I just have to remember this the next time something happens with my health.

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