I just had my annual physical. Every December or January I make it a point to have one. Even when my healthcare provider, some years back, said that I did not need to come in yearly, I ignored them and visited annually.
While I was awaiting my doctor I had an unusual and disturbing conversation with a nurse who I see when I come for appointments. She was very distraught and told me that she was changing jobs (in the medical profession) for several reasons but that one was how unsettled she was about the condition of Black American health.
I assumed that she was talking about the statistics with which many of us are familiar, such as the discrepancy in treatment for blacks vs. whites, or the higher rates of prostate cancer among black men compared with white men. No, that was not actually what she was talking about. She said, “Mr. Fletcher, our people are just not taking care of themselves.”
Once she had started to talk there was no stopping her. She was both angry and sad at the condition of Black American health. She spoke with me about how patient after patient refuses to come in for important tests; that when notified about special clinics, e.g., diabetes, too many Black clients take a pass; and that appointments that are made, are so quickly broken.