Why Your Obsession with WebMD Might Actually Be Helpful

There have been a bunch of articles written about the idea of being “too busy.” No matter your gender or age or occupation, you likely feel crunched for time at some point during the week. This may be partially because we’ve gotten out of the habit of really, fully relaxing. Even when we’re watching TV or getting ready to sleep we’re checking e-mail, tweeting, and worrying about all of the stuff we have to do during the next day, maybe without even realizing it. There will be times when I’ve watched half an episode of a show and then been like, “Wait… I absorbed none of that. Time to put my phone down.” I’ve always been aware of the fact that I suck at turning my brain off, but I never really saw a direct impact on “too busy” until recently.

A few weeks ago I went to my doctor for my annual checkup and she saw something that made her go “hmmm.” She told me I should go get a CAT scan, but that it was probably nothing. I agreed that I would, but even as I was saying this to her I knew I most likely wouldn’t follow through with this because a.) I felt fine b.) I’m only 27 so I figured I was healthy and c.) I was super stressed and felt that my time was too limited to waste it doing something that was likely just an extra precaution.

Yet somewhere a little voice in my head told me that maybe I should just go so I could be 150% sure I was fine. Maybe my fondness for WebMD prompted me to actually go get the test, or maybe part of me is becoming a mature adult and realizes this stuff matters. Either way, I went and sat in a tube for a while as the tech took pictures of all my organs. It was relatively uneventful and didn’t take nearly as long as I had expected. The most traumatic part was having to admit to the tech that I still have a bellybutton ring even though 2006 ended a long time ago.

The issue the doctor was concerned about turned out to be nothing. Phew. However, the scan ended up revealing that I was born with a rare heart defect. It’s something I’ve lived for 27 years without knowing about, which is slightly mind-boggling to process. Given the fact that I haven’t keeled over yet, the doctors I’ve seen so far are pretty sure my body has found a way to work around the issue, but it’s still something I need to see other experts about. Now that I know about my heart situation, I’m able to consult the right people and get a treatment plan in place so that I can keep living a normal, healthy life as I get older.

This whole situation made me realize that it’s easy to come up with reasons why you’re “too busy” to take care of something, particularly when it feels like a fairly unnecessary something or something you might not totally want to face. You’ll see the dentist later. The doctor’s probably just being overly cautious. You can skip the gym for a few days. No big deal. But getting so busy you don’t fully pay attention to your health matters.

If I may offer a quick public service announcement, it would be this: being busy is great. See your friends. Work hard at your job. Go on lots of dates. But don’t let these things block you from prioritizing your health. Build in time to take care of yourself. Pay attention to your body. You wouldn’t let your car go for years and years without getting an oil change, so why would you neglect your own body? Weird, fluky things happen. Sometimes doctors are overly cautious, but other times you’ll end up being glad you had that random pain or bump checked out.

This has been a message from your mutant heart friend Lauren, who’s concerned about your health. Xo.

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