Confession: PCSing Is Bad For My Health

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When I'm PCSing, there are WAY more pressing things to do than to find a doctor or schedule a dentist appointment.

There are many reasons people complain about PCSing. Some comment that the moves comes too frequently. Others bemoan the time and energy involved. Still more note that their household goods get ruined. Me? I find that I’m failing to take care of myself.

That’s why I’m declaring that PCSing is bad for my health!

I went to the doctor the other day for an issue with my foot. It had been a problem for a long while, so I finally did the grown-up thing and called to get an appointment. While there, I realized that my birthday was coming up and so I should probably schedule a mammogram. The first question they ask you is, “When was your last one?” I replied that it was last May. I thought I was doing pretty well considering it was October. But when the receptionist asked where I last had the procedure done, I realized that it was at our last base. And that means that it was more than a year and a half ago.

When I'm PCSing, there are WAY more pressing things to do than to find a doctor or schedule a dentist appointment.

The realization dawned on me that this is not the first time that my health care has gone by the wayside.

Every time I move, there are more pressing things to do than to find a doctor.

Where is the grocery store? Down the street. Is it closer than the commissary? Is it worth the drive? Starbucks? Gotta find the closest one!

But ultimately, I know that first and foremost is unpacking my household goods. I find myself putting items away at a blistering speed. I hate the sight of all those boxes and paper lying around the house. By the weekend, I’m pestering my spouse to hang pictures and curtains. If I had my way, every box would be unpacked by that first weekend.

Then I must enroll the kids in school. With that comes all the secondary tasks to go along with it. If it’s the summer, I have to still buy school supplies and new clothes. Like many of us, I wouldn’t buy notebooks and pencils beforehand because that’s just one more thing to pack or keep track of. Then there’s the job of keeping them occupied while I wait for school to start.

I also need to schedule THEM for a school physical and that is a herculean task considering all of the students who have been at our new location have scheduled their exam much earlier so the pickings are slim at the base hospital. Do I dare try a walk-in clinic or do I rearrange all those well-laid summer plans to take the first available appointment? Each time it seems like I make the wrong choice but c’est la vie! Check that box off!

Next on my list is finding a dentist for the family. Here is where I find I can put myself in the mix. But of course, there are no appointments for a month out. Add that to the fact that it took a month or two to get to this point in my PCS move and I’m now three to four months past my regularly scheduled time.

But hey, that’s better than a year and a half, right?

Now the kids are in school, the house is unpacked, and I can go on with my life. When I worked full-time, the days were occupied with that and when I was done, I’d fill the rest of my time with the kids and their activities. Working part-time usually meant that I clocked in, worked, clocked out and then ran errands or volunteered until it was time for the kids to come home from school. When I was a stay-at-home mom, I filled my days with tasks that revolved around the kids.

In each scenario, I was my last priority.

Even though I nagged my spouse to see a physician at every issue, I didn’t do the same. Nor did I worry about yearly physicals for him since he is required to do so. I marked that as a small victory; I wasn’t responsible for that task.

When I'm PCSing, there are WAY more pressing things to do than to find a doctor or schedule a dentist appointment.

Just like the NyQuil commercial that says “Moms don’t take sick days,” I don’t take sick days. And since I don’t take time off for colds, I don’t go to the doctor often. That translates into never calling the doctor’s office.

And that means that I forget to make appointments for my well-being.

The only positive result of my neglect is that the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommend that you get a pap smear every three years. But I can’t get too excited. They still require that I see my OB every year. My little victory is still a failure.

The moral of my tale is don’t be like me.

Moving around the country or the world is a great experience and I need to be healthy to enjoy it.

Next time I PCS, the order of importance is: Find a Starbucks, call the doctor, and then get to the commissary! (I can only improve so much.)

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