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Chapter 16. New Year's Resolutions and O... > Making Medical and Dental Appointmen... - Pg. 170

New Year's Resolutions and Other Self-Improvement Promises 170 "I feel fine. The doctor will only find something wrong." Reality:If you're fine, that's what the doctor will find. If you're not fine, you should know about it before the problem goes undetected and worsens. "There's no history of serious disease or illness in my family, so I don't have to worry." Reality:It's a major myth that genetics account for most major health problems. You can get breast cancer, colon cancer, and many other terrible diseases with no family history. "The pain will go away." Reality:And just how do you think that's going to happen? Maybe you can cover it up for a while, and maybe it will even disappear for a while, but like a bad debt and bad ex-lovers, pain usually comes back to haunt you. "It won't make a difference. If I'm going to get cancer, I'm going to get it." Reality:Of course it will make a difference. Early detection does wonders in improving your chances of surviving most treatable diseases. If you'd rather not undergo debilitating treatments for a terminal condition, no one can force you to. "It hurts." Reality:The things that doctors, dentists, physical therapists, and other health care providers have to do to you sometimes don't exactly feel like lying in a bed of rose petals. But 9 times out of 10, the pain that comes with preventive care or treatment for a problem is much milder than what you'd experience if problems went undetected and untreated. "I don't have time." Reality:You do have the time for something this important. Action Tactic If you've been putting off quitting smoking, look for some motivation in the success stories, advice, and resources available in the iVillage Kickbutt Community at "I don't like my doctor." Reality:Get a new one. Even with HMOs, you usually have a choice of at least a few doctors. "I don't know who to go to." Reality:I know this is often a valid reason for delay. For a variety of reasons, my family's health insurance has changed several times in the last few years. Sometimes, doctors we've seen are in the new plan, but often we find ourselves having to choose new general practitioners or spe- cialists. I know that frustrating feeling of randomly choosing a doctor out of a directory based on nothing more than the office location or how you like the sound of his or her name. You can make the process less haphazard by asking for referrals from friends and neighbors, and then seeing which ones are part of your plan. Some health plans can provide patient ratings of mem- ber doctors. "My health plan/health insurance doesn't cover it." Reality:Most plans cover basic checkups and many tests. If you have a dollar limit you can't go over in a given year, however, and an expensive test would require out-of-pocket expenses, or if the visit isn't covered at all, look for alternatives. Contact hospitals in your area, as well as your state's Department of Health, for suggestions of any free or low-cost services you might use.