so i guess i’m not indestructible

February 9, 2005

from the surface, it seems that i live quite the healthy lifestyle. i try to sleep 7 or 8 hours per night. i really don’t eat much food that one would classify as ‘junk’, and lately i’ve been eating out less and less. i run 5 times a week (still training for a half-marathon on march 5th).

but dig a little deeper, and the picture changes. for example, i suck at taking my calcium pills, even though my 55-year-old mother already has osteoporosis and as a small-statured caucasian person, i’m a sitting duck for the disease. my reason for this negligence? ‘they’re hard to swallow.’ (if some random VA patient last year told me that they weren’t taking their congestive heart failure medications because of ‘swallowing difficulties’, i wouldn’t have been so sympathetic. but i digress.)

so why am i so conscientious about some things, and so terribly lax about others? the discrepancy confused me at first, but then i realized – running, eating healthfully, sleeping? these are actions fueled by:

a) vanity

b) actually feeling noticeably better on a daily basis when i do these things

c) love for the activities themselves (running and sleeping, especially)

so really, i’m not the responsible preventative-care princess that i appear to be. and today, for the first time, it has come to bite me in the ass:

i went to the dentist for the first time in three years. my mouth hadn’t been hurting, or anything like that; in fact, if josh hadn’t made us appointments, i probably wouldn’t have made it over there. i will admit, i don’t floss, because flossing is boring, somewhat painful, and has none of the instant-gratification benefits of running or sleeping. furthermore, no one can tell if you’re bad about flossing, so it’s not really embarrassing to let it slide.

but anyway: i went in expecting a gentle scold for my 3-year dental-care hiatus, but i never thought that anything bad would actually have happened to my young, indestructible mouth. wrong. i left with a diagnosis of 3 cavities and peridontal disease requiring special cleaning (or so they claim) that will cost me a total of around $1000 and 4 visits (2 visits and $462 for cleaning, and 2 visits for 3 fillings at $165 each).

so i have learned today that i am not indestructible. my irresponsibility caught up with me, proving that i’m not as young and resilient as i thought. tomorrow, i’m going to start taking the damn calcium. and (oh god) i guess i will actually start to floss. my poor diseased gums . . .

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by the way, my gums/teeth don’t look outwardly like one of those pictures you see in the dentists office. in fact, i think they look perfectly normal. if i had reached a point of superficial nastiness that i could actually see, trust me, the aforementioned vanity would have brought me to the dentist long, long ago.


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