health Archives - The Jose Vilson


For The Love of Self, Get Yourself Checked Out

by Jose Vilson on March 15, 2012

in Jose

For my thirtieth birthday, I got myself two ties, a blue cardigan, a metallic grey collared shirt, and an appointment for a general doctor.

The latter item didn’t come so easy, either. The last time I went to the doctor, it was because I had a serious heart scare that turned out to be nothing … but stress, and too much of it. The minute that doctor told me to calm down, the tightness I felt in my chest for the better part of eight months just stopped. Cold.

People wonder why teachers get the benefits they do, including the personal health days, affordable health care, and relatively early retirement. Before 30, I took many of these parts for granted. I accumulated over 30 days of unused vacation days, often stayed after school, and rarely used any of my medical benefits for prescriptions. I thought popping a vitamin and getting in the occasional exercise would do. I pumped over the counter drugs into and out of my system whenever I got a cold, and inhaled a few days’ worth of Vicks Vaporub for anything resembling a runny nose (because Latinos swear it’s a topical placebo).

If I cure it myself, then I didn’t care and just let it be. That includes the pain in my heel, the itch in my nose, and that annoying stomach burn I got randomly after a few negative thoughts. With all the time I had off, I could have scheduled all of my appointments for those times when I wasn’t working, but I didn’t. Actually, I used “work” more often than not as an excuse to not attend to my own health. I’m not afraid of doctors and their paraphernalia, nor do I have any pre-existing conditions that might make me nervous to go.

It’s also easy for me to blame the fact that men don’t go to the doctor, and an unwritten rule that going to a doctor often signals some sort of weakness. We tell ourselves we’re too busy, have loads of papers to grade, people to see, places to visit … in hopes that we can ignore those little things that become big things.

I’d like to tell you to do the right things to take care of yourself, like eating better and getting some sort of exercise, because I’m working on these things myself. I’d like to tell you to stop smoking, smile more often, and, if need be, step outside and decompress when the situation gets too crazy. More importantly, however, I’m imploring you to go to the doctor sooner than later. If it’s been a few years, get in there as soon as possible. You owe it to yourself to get checked out and make sure you’re solid.

Chances are, if you’re reading this, I value you. But I’m not the only one. Stick around a while. Get checked up.

Jose, who went through hell, so he’s expecting heaven …


Short Notes: Replete With Blessings

by Jose Vilson on December 27, 2009

in Short Notes

Peace of Mind ... by Ty Moore

Peace of Mind ... by Ty Moore

A few links:

A few weeks ago, I set firm on making sure I upgraded my health. The last time I visited a doctor, he seemed competent until he told me my air conditioner was the reason for my allergies (it wasn’t) and, upon setting up an appointment with me on the phone, said I need to stop smoking (I don’t). That and a crazy bill for what I call a “stepping one’s foot into the hospital” fee implicitly disenchanted me with the health care industry. While signs kept pointing me to not let these little incidents prevent me from staying at full health, I just got disgusted.

Then the pains came. Not just when my cousin died. When I was ready to sleep. When I was getting ready to take the train. On my way to and from work. During work. While I blogged.

All the while, people around me began to fall by the wayside, celebrities and family members alike. Even after my bouts with an extended flu and crazy allergies, I still didn’t visit after all of that. Even the crazy toothache (and eventual pullout) a few months ago, after taking care of that, I decided I’d just ride it out.

Then it happened: Cincinnati Bengals wide receiever Chris Henry and actress Brittany Murphy died.

Usually events like this wouldn’t affect me too much. We’ve become numb to semi-idols dying through various causes. However, their ages alone (26 and 32 respectively) forced me to look myself in the eye and check my ego at the door. No matter how intimidating and insecure the health industry seems, we have to look at our health as paramount to our continued survival.

Finishing my book outline. Redoing my website. Making sure my students graduate. Those other beautiful promises I could see over the horizon of 2010. And the idea that I couldn’t wait until January 1st to make changes in my life. These are the things I would have missed out on if I didn’t take care of these things. So I trooped it over to my new doctor, who did a couple of checks and exams. Then he looks to me and said, “Jose, you just need a peace of mind.”

Alas, Christmas came early. The biggest Christmas gift I got this holiday came in the form of believing once again that things will be alright. Since then, the little pains and aches I had simply went away. My sleep has improved. Even my mind feels less cloudy. Never underestimating the power of pleasant thinking.

I may not be rich, but I am replete with blessings.

And if you’re reading this, the same can probably be said for you. Never forget that.

Jose, who’ll do a year in review post again. You know you love them.