Nobody loves going to the doctor. So many fear the dentist, but that’s never been one of mine. I guess I have a really healthy mouth and I’d like to keep it that way.

There are other places I don’t want to go, appointments I try to delay. I have my reasons. Partly it can be from bad experiences in the past. It can also be because I want to avoid a long process of follow-up meetings and an adjustment period.

I was telling a friend some of this story yesterday because I knew I had my yearly visit to the “lung doctor” this morning. That’s what I call the pulmonologist who monitors my overall health as it relates to my breathing and sleeping.

Back in high school I dreaded going to my “lung doctor”. They were sometimes scary, especially after I was sick for about a month in ninth grade. The doctor said I would have to start using a breathing machine called a Bipap and I thought he meant all the time, like day and night. I couldn’t imagine going to public school with this mask on my face helping me to breathe better. Later I realized he meant just at night to help me sleep much better. Sleep was the main thing I’d been lacking and this affected my health and ability to fight any infection. Once I adjusted to using it every night, my health drastically improved. I gained weight and grew 4 inches to finally reach my ideal height. I always wanted to be 4 feet 6 inches and I got there. A funny dream, isn’t it?

My next pulmonologist as a teenager scared me again. She said I was looking to need a tracheotomy in the future. What?!, I thought. Why was she telling me this when I could still breathe on my own just fine? Was it because I was sick a lot growing up and my health record led her to that conclusion?

I’m still not sure, but I didn’t like hearing that. I was glad to become an adult and move on to a new “lung doctor”. This is one I don’t mind visiting now. He listens to me as the patient and he doesn’t make me do extra tests. Sure, my health has stabilized a lot as an adult, but I feel more freedom with this doctor. I don’t have to fear that my diminished lung capacity is headed in the wrong direction. I know what signs to look out for if and when I get sick.

And another bonus: this doctor likes to talk about life beyond my lungs. We’ve chatted about writing, movies, books, and today’s topic was coffee.

In case you want to know what kind of coffee is the best…he says Colombian. He may be partial to that country, but their soil is rich and deep. Now you want a cup of coffee, don’t you?

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