5 Visits to Make for Your Well-being
by Rachel Yeoh. |
Let’s start with a few inspiring travel quotes.
“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.” - Agustine of Hippo
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” - Mark Twain
“Live your life by a compass, not a clock.” - Stephen Covey
“I haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on my list.” - Susan Sontag
Doesn’t it inspire you to travel, see the world, and be in awe of its majesty? To see the lofty mountains in Switzerland, soak in the sun in Bali, or float up to the sky in Cappadocia...
HOLD UP, this article is not about travelling to faraway places. It is about going to a healthcare centre that will provide for your well-being.
In the culture where we encourage YOLO (I know, this catchphrase is so 2018) and ‘finding yourself’, there is one thing we often do that contradicts the former, and that is neglecting our health.
So yea, you do intermittent fasting, running, self-care (you know, candles and facial masks), and probably meditation, but have you gotten a report card on how your body is really doing?
It is time to set our priorities straight and make these five visits. Why? Because health is better than wealth and prevention is definitely better than cure. Cliched but a nugget of wisdom, nonetheless.
1. Smiles for miles
Ever heard of dentophobia? It is an intense fear of seeing the dentist for dental care. I know a few people who experience great anxiety when forced to see the dentist.
But you know what is worse than seeing the dentist? Rotting teeth!
You could be diligently flossing and brushing your teeth but plaque still builds up over time. Not to sound condescending, but I can’t help but stare at teeth when people are talking to me, more so if they have plaque lined on the gum line, looking just like the snow-capped mountains of Colorado.
A visit to the dentist consists of a check-up and cleaning. If there are no issues with your teeth and gums, you’ll be done in 30 minutes, tops!
However, if you delay your appointed visit, dental issues that arise will go untreated. Dentists can identify initial signs of decay, swelling, redness, cavities, and gum disease before it worsens. Remember, decay does not hurt until it is too late. Too late means that you’ll have to get an extraction or expensive root canal treatment.
Here’s a story - A friend of mine practices amazing dental hygiene. She brushes her teeth after every meal, flosses and uses mouthwash every day. One day, she got an ulcer that would not heal. She went to see the dentist.
Lo and behold, the ulcer has turned into something rather alarming. After examining the ulcer tissue, it was found to be cancerous. She was scheduled for surgery a few days after and thankfully, the malignant cells have not spread.
Moral of the story? Make an appointment with your dentist this year. The sooner, the better.
Where can I find a dentist?
There are dental clinics scattered around Malaysia. I would advise you to head to one closest to you (check Google reviews while you are at it).
How much will it cost?
A routine check and scaling session will cost RM100 or more. Unfortunately, if you need a root canal, it will set you back more than RM1,000. Ask if your company provides allowance benefits for this.
2. It's in the blood
Ah, the juice of life!
I believe that blood unveils more about your life than the palm of your hands ever will. Your blood can tell stories about how your kidneys, liver, thyroid gland and heart are working.
It is advised that you conduct blood tests (or a general health screening) every year. If you are sexually active, there are additional tests that are gender-specific that you should take too.
Why is this important?
For starters, it tells you how well your insides are functioning. Is your blood pressure too high? Is your bad cholesterol level hitting red alert? Is the glucose in your blood something to be worried about? Is your blood clotting well? Is there any abnormality in your blood that could be a telltale sign of cancer?
Your body is a wonder-working machine. If you've got info about what it needs to keep working, you'll have the power to steer your wellbeing toward the right path. The test shows you habits that need to be omitted and new habits that have to be cultivated into your lifestyle.
If you have been doing regular health screenings every year, you could opt to do more comprehensive tests such as cardiac screening, lung-function tests, and disease markers, just to name a few. These tests help save lives as early detection is the best protection - not just for your health, but also your finances!
Where can I do my general health screening?
How much will it cost?
It is around RM130 or more for basic blood and urine tests. If you are looking to do a comprehensive health screening, this can only be done at hospitals and could cost up to RM3,000. Ask if your company provides allowance benefits for this.
3. Vision 20/20
Your eyes are the windows to your soul. However, do you know that they are also windows to detect the state of your health? These wonder marbles are sensitive indicators that reveal health issues before obvious physical symptoms occur. We are talking about high blood pressure, hypertension, excess cholesterol, and diabetes.
“But my eyes are fine!”
Ah, do note that an eye exam is different from a vision screening. Remember the poster with flipping ‘E’s’ our teachers use to test our vision? Then the state of our eyesight will be marked in the blue ‘Buku Kesihatan’? That is a vision screening. It only checks our vision, not our eye health. You may possess the eyesight of an eagle but that does not mean your eyes are fine.
An eye exam, on the other hand, is conducted by an ophthalmologist. Special equipment and eye-dyes are used to assess our visual acuity, depth perception, the shape of our eye (if there are any bumps or shapes), and eye muscles.
If you are wearing glasses or contact lenses, it is highly encouraged that you do eye exams at least once a year. Only then will you be aware of any changes in your eye and take steps to keep your vision healthy for years to come.
Where can I do my eye exam?
How much will it cost?
Expect to pay at least RM50 for a complete eye examination.
4. Get the jab
I sincerely hope that you readers are already vaccinated. If you don’t know what vaccines are (tsk tsk, never listen to Science teacher during school), they are a weakened or dead form of infection that is introduced into the body. Our antibodies (soldiers fighting for our body’s well-being) will study the weakened ‘enemy’ and learn how to fight it. So, when you are exposed to the real deal, your body is already prepared to fight the infection. The government provides immunization jabs for all infants and schooling children at the appointed time.
However, do you know that it is also essential to get booster jabs as adults?
Adult immunizations are not really practiced in our country. In fact, I didn’t know I had to get a Hepatitis B booster jab until my blood test results came out. I was told that there was no trace of Hepatitis B antibodies in my blood and I had to get booster jabs to keep myself protected.
When I was frolicking in The States during my extended winter holiday, I found out that flu jabs are common come October or November, when the weather gets really chilly. Single booster jabs for polio, measles, mumps, and rubella are encouraged once we reach adulthood. For other jabs like tetanus, it is recommended that you do a re-orientation of the weakened virus to your antibodies every decade.
Ask your healthcare provider if you need a booster. Remember that vaccines do not only protect you, it protects the people around you. Don’t be the precursor of a zombie attack, ‘kay!
Where can I get immunized?
Inquire about vaccine availability at a hospital near you. Sometimes, they will have to schedule a time for you to get vaccinated as they are subject to availability.
How much will it cost?
It varies depending on the type of vaccine you are advised to take and the price quoted by the hospital. It can range anywhere between RM70 to RM170 per jab. Ask if your health insurance / company insurance provides coverage for this.
5. What's in your head
So tell me, how are you?
You could choose to be superficial or expose the avalanche of emotions you have been holding on for some time - but let’s not kid ourselves, it is much easier to say ‘I’m doing great!’.
Some of us may feel that we are really doing great. However, it is always good to gain clarity and perspective on our mental health. One way to do so is to see a counselor. Seeing a counselor seems to be taboo in our culture but it is encouraged that all of us meet with one, at least once a year.
Contrary to popular belief, you do not need a specific problem to be counselled. Having a session or two is a useful tool for personal growth. During the session, you can establish goals as well as your values and belief system with your therapist. He or she will then guide you through them in a structured manner, why a particular subject holds more meaning to you, and how you are progressing toward it.
It doesn’t matter if you have a topic to discuss or none at all, a counselor will be able to facilitate the session and give you perspective on how you can do better.
Having said that, if you are suffering from depression, anxiety, eating disorders, or relational issues (however mild it might be) do make an appointment with a counselor. You are not crazy or making a mountain out of a molehill. Just like how you can get physically sick, your mental health can also be under the weather.
Where can I go for counselling?
For starters, I would suggest Agape Counselling Centre Malaysia, a non-profit organisation that offers wholesome counselling service. Another would be HELP University Centre for Psychological and Counselling Services though the rates depend on who you will be seeing.
How much will it cost?
Since Agape Counselling Centre Malaysia is an NGO, they accept donations (so please give!) while other private practices will cost around RM100 to RM500 per session.
Now ask yourself, have you done any of the above in the past years? Since it is still the first quarter of 2020, add the above into your list of to-dos. Make it a priority because what quality of life do we possess if we are riddled with sickness?
Take hold of 2020 by completing these 5 essential visits! You won’t regret it, I assure you.
You may also find more about the writer on Instagram.