If there’s one thing I ever wanted to do with my writing, it’s to make someone’s life just a smidge better. (Also, like, make people cry after reading my poems, but that’s another story.) So when I found out about health insurance provider Oscar Insurance’s infographic for CDC Girlfriend’s Day , I jumped at the chance to help spread some important information. Oscar is a new tech-based insurance company that wants their members to be proactive about their health. They have a Doctor on Call tool that allows you to reach a doctor with any question at any time of the day, and a Misfit fitness tracker that lets you earn cash back for reaching a daily step goal. (If you’re in the area, be sure to check out their New York and New Jersey health insurance plans.)
My close friends reading this are probably rolling their eyes back into their heads. “Hanna! You once had a sinus infection for nearly two months because you refused to go into the doctor!” Yes, I know. That happened.
But I am reformed! I promise!
When I was working as a camp counselor in Alaska, I got super sick. Maybe it was the roller coaster weather patterns (hot and dry to cold and foggy). Maybe it was the late nights and early mornings. Maybe it was living in platform tents with five other staff members. The week I got sick, I was a floating counselor, and spent most blocks at the boathouse. I helped seven-year-olds find proper life jackets, pushed kayaks of middle schoolers out into our lake and prayed nobody forced me to use my small craft safety training. As I was helping one of my favorite girls pull her kayak in, she turned her small, freckled face to me and said “Jaybird, are you okay? You look really tired. Are you sick?”
That’s the thing about working with kids. They are honest (sometimes to a fault). Let’s just say after that, I pushed meds every four hours on the dot and drank more chamomile tea than I thought was humanly possible. I was better in a day and a half. Two lessons there: 1) I have an easily readable face and 2) do not deny help because you think you’re better than modern medicine.
Since that oddly transformative head cold, I have ~seen the light.~ I always have DayQuil in my cabinet. I finally reached out and got medication to curb my crippling anxiety attacks and depression. I actually treated my seasonal allergies during the pollen haze that is early springtime in the Midwest.
More so than just medication, I learned to listen to my body. Instead of pushing myself to exhaustion four nights a week, I cut back on my involvement in clubs. I tried sleeping instead of propping my near-lifeless body up with coffee crutches. Of course, during my senior year of journalism school, this was sometimes more of a theory than a practice. But I tried, and that’s sometimes all you can do.
The reason I’m prattling on and on about my own (seemingly stupid) path to modern medicine and common sense is because it’s important. By taking care of your health, you can keep watch over your livelihood. I know not everything can be fixed with a trip to the doctor — trust me. My mental health diagnoses gives me hell every day. I have hormonal imbalances that lead to a huge barrage of side effects and chronic issues. My skin breaks out if you look at it wrong. But I am working on making conscious decisions to improve my health. Life is better experienced when you don’t feel like you’re dead on your feet.
Real talk: Check-ups and vaccinations are super important, y’all. Early screening means early detection means getting a jump on treatment before infections spread or compound. Check in to be sure your family and friends are getting the routine immunizations and screenings they need!
Let’s be smart about this, ladies: We are generally social beings, so why not use it for a good? Let’s say you already text the group text with dog pictures 10 times a day (me). Try throwing in a reminder every once in a while to drink water, go on a walk or make that doctor’s appointment you’ve been putting off. Get on Facebook and share an article with free flu shot clinic locations. Send your sister healthy lunch recipes you can make super cheaply (because let’s be real…we’re broke).
Establishing accountability from a place of genuine concern is a trend I’m all over. I love you — of course I want to make sure you live forever!