Preventative Maintenance PSA

Standby for a Public Service Announcement on Preventative Maintenance.


Since remodeling our cabin/garage into a house in 2010 we have subscribed to a semi-annual inspection of our HVAC and house generator systems.  Twice each year, a technician performs routine maintenance and inspects our systems.  Most times everything is fine but sometimes they have found little things that needed attention to avoid future breakdowns and expensive repairs.  We tend to sleep a little better knowing that we’ve taken steps to safeguard the workings of our house.


Likewise, before going on long journeys in our van Wanda we typically give her a thorough examination.  Check all the fluid levels, change the oil, rotate or replace the tires. 


We probably should have done a more thorough inspection before our last adventure.  I had anticipated we would have some required maintenance on an almost 10,000-mile trip such as needing to change the oil or rotate the tires.  I had even had a few dreams (nightmares) about engine or transmission failures on the west coast and having to leave Wanda behind.  As it turned out, the transmission was fine but there were plenty of other problems to fulfill those dreams.  Someday I will share more about our adventure of check-engine lights, the feeling of leaving van body parts on California roadways, and our tour of mechanic shops.  It’s still just a little too real to get into all that today.


The point is:  preventative maintenance is good.  Even for our bodies.


This past week I had my third colonoscopy since becoming “age qualified”.  (It used to be that you had to be over 50 to qualify for this exam but now the age has been adjusted down to 45.) 


The first colonoscopy I was scheduled for got postponed by either a migraine or vertigo.  It took me a year to build up the courage again.  But it was very routine and there were no complications.  Shortly after that, my wife Jenni had her first procedure but with polyps present and the pathology report revealed stage 1 colon cancer.  Following colon resection surgery she was deemed cancer-free.  We are forever grateful for that routine preventative maintenance examination doing just what it was intended to do.


As for me, five years after my first colonoscopy I had my next recommended examination.  I remember waking up from the anesthesia and the doctor telling me he removed 3-4 polyps.  My first words were “oh sh—” as my groggy mind immediately jumped to the worst case scenario. But pathology reports were all favorable and it was a relief to know that the routine, preventative exam had served its purpose.


Because of those polyps, I was put on a more frequent examination schedule.  When the message came LAST SUMMER that it was time to schedule another, I made the decision to switch to the same doctor Jenni used since he was on our insurance plan.  Once getting the referral from my general doctor, it took another SEVEN or EIGHT months to get on the new proctologist’s calendar.  They are obviously in great demand.


Prepping for the procedure is not fun.  It’s basically a day of fasting, drinking large amounts of sweet/syrupy liquids, and hanging very close to a toilet.  If you’ve done it, you know.  If you haven’t, don’t let this stop you.  Jenni and I both prefer affordable over-the-counter products to the much more expensive concoctions doctors might prescribe for the cleansing. Check into that once you are scheduled.


The procedure itself is a breeze.  The nurse tells me to roll onto my side, I feel a tingle in my arm, and then I get some really great sleep.  I wake to my wife stroking my face, drink some apple juice, get dressed, and they wheel me to the car.  After that, it’s a celebratory meal that the procedure is over!


I strongly urge you to talk to your doctor for a screening.  There may be a wait but it’s worth the effort for a little peace of mind.  


Never underestimate the importance of preventative maintenance whether it’s a house, an automobile, or your body.

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