Think about, for a moment, all of the things or people in your life that you rely on for services. Do you have a regular person you go to for a haircut? One who knows just how you like it cut? Do you have a great doctor who knows your medical history? How about maybe a chiropractor, who knows why your neck is literally bent the wrong way, and also knows just how to adjust you to relieve that chronic ache you get?
Back home, I had a gal who knew never to cut my hair too short, because if I asked for it short she knew I’d end up crying and feeling like I looked like a boy. I had an OB who delivered my daughter, and who knew exactly how much damage that wreaked “down there” (she should, she stitched me up after all); she also knew the ins and outs of my pregnancy experience, and brought my daughter into this world (one day I’ll tell you her birth story, and why I think my doctor is literally an angel). And yes, I had a chiropractor because of my bent neck and he knew just where to adjust me that gave me instant relief. I also had a dental hygienist who knew why I have gum issues (its genetic) and who did an AMAZING job cleaning my teeth. I trusted her endlessly. Really, she was my bff because she basically saved my teeth. That sounds like I don’t brush or floss my teeth, but I promise you I take better care of my teeth than anyone I know, even you!
I have been in Florida for almost four months (which I can NOT believe), and am just now starting to feel like I almost have all my ducks in a row. I never gave much thought to how much a person relies on various services to keep them running healthfully… But I guess now that I’m 31 and actually need to see doctors every now and then, and have to pay extra attention to my teeth, etc., I am painfully (pun intended) aware of how hard it is to find people you can trust for all of these things when you are in a new city, all the way across the freakin’ country. Here’s a little checklist of all the services I’ve had to locate since moving, just to give you an idea:
- General practice doctor
- Hair stylist
- Pediatric dentist
- Gym/yoga studio
Not to mention a great place for a pedicure, which I have yet to find. Or an eye doctor if you’re most people (I still have great vision but I’m sure that’ll be an issue one day too). Or the perfect coffee shop or favorite restaurant. We have found a Chinese takeout place that is better than anything in our little town in Washington, so I guess that’s a plus.
Anyway, up until this week, when I finally got an appointment with a general practice doctor, I felt like I was flying blind, listless in the wind because I didn’t know who to see to clean my teeth, or where to go for a pap smear, and so on. I have slowly been finding all of these services since we moved, but only recently found an OB/GYN whom I LOVE (without any recommendation, too! Score.), a good dentist (though I’m not yet convinced they are as good as my previous one) and a doctor for Claire. And because you probably never thought much about all of the doctors and services you need in your life, you probably have never considered what it feels like to not know who to go see if you’re sick, or have a tooth ache, if your baby is sick, etc. I know I never did.
(I know, I know: first world problems. I promise I am not complaining- I am very aware that my family is so very lucky to have these services available to us through insurance and Sean’s job. I would never complain about having these options or even paying for them. I believe it is everyone’s right to have these types of services but that is a different discussion altogether. I’m just trying to express that it’s difficult to constantly change everything every three years, just when you start to feel good about your choices.)
I can tell you, it makes you anxious. Unrooted. Like you have no support system, and you don’t know where to go if an emergency occurs, God forbid. And it’s hard to find all of these people and trust them at the same time. You’re new in a city, you don’t know a lot of people, how do you know you can trust all these doctors? It takes a lot of work finding ones who seem to actually listen to you.
Luckily, I knew one gal from our time living in Hawaii, who lives here now with her husband and baby. She has been a life saver- she pointed me in the direction of my chiropractor, Claire’s pediatrician, and told me about a great yoga studio. She also connected me to some other Navy wives who have told me of other good places to go for various things. I discovered a great park only ten minutes from our house thanks to her, and Claire absolutely LOVES it there.
As much as I like to call myself the anti-military wife, I have sure relied on her for help adjusting to this place… Hey, just admitting that is progress for someone like me, who thinks they can do everything themselves (and tries to). Have you tried finding a doctor based solely off of a list on your insurance company’s website? How are you supposed to choose from a random list of names??
So I guess my advice to you, the military spouse moving somewhere new and far away, is to think of anyone you might know from your past who might live in your new duty station. And if you can’t think of anyone, search Facebook for a military spouse’s group in your new city (I guarantee you there is one). Maybe you do know someone based off of that group’s members… And if you don’t, post on that page and ask for any recommendation for anything you need: daycare, groceries, the best fro-yo in town, whatever. Even someone like me, who is fiercely independent and likes the challenge of figuring everything out on my won, reads every post on my local mil spouse groups, and has asked for numerous recommendations for things. It can also go a long way in making you feel less isolated and alone. Seeing new people join the groups, and others moving away reminds you that it is a constant cycle and there are many many other wives out there feeling everything you are feeling.
You might even make new friends that way- this gal I’m speaking of was only really an acquaintance in Hawaii, but now we’ve gotten together for several play dates with our little ones, have done a girls’ night and have another one coming up next week. Without her I’d still be so lonely! One friend is better than none!
In all my lamenting and indulging in loneliness, I will say I am thankful for the way in which military spouses are so willing to help each other out. The more I live this life, the more I realize how important it is to lean on each other when you can. And that folks, is hard for me to admit, but there you have it.
Now that I have a doctor, I can check all those things off my list. I even found a hair stylist a month ago who gave me one of the BEST haircuts I’ve ever had! I am feeling much more at ease, knowing I know who to take my daughter to if she gets sick, knowing I have a trustworthy chiropractor to help with my chronic neck pain, and where to get my annual physicals at a fantastic OB clinic.
I’m not ready to admit to liking it here yet (I’d still move home at the drop of a hat), but finding all these services definitely has me feeling more settled.