My sister is irritated with me. That’s not unusual, but this time I actually listened to her.

"Why do you take care of everyone else and you never take care of yourself?" was the question of the day, and I didn't have an answer for it. I've been putting off making those doctor appointments I don't feel the urgency to go to, because I'm not sick.

The dentist was the first call, and it would be nearly three months before I could get in to get my teeth cleaned. That was a little amazing the teeth cleaner is that booked up, but I guess it's a good thing so many people want to be cavity free.

Too bad we can't just chew on some Milk Bones like dogs and have the tartar scraped off while enjoying a treat. It'll be good to get my teeth up-to-snuff. I always think I can fool the hygienist into thinking I'm doing my daily duty of flossing but she never falls for it.

I also made those appointments women dread, but need, so we can make sure that those life-threatening diseases that can linger in the body silently, are staying away. Why do we procrastinate for a one-hour doctor's visit when it could save our lives? Probably the same reason I continue to eat French fries and extra butter on my popcorn.

I rationalized making the other appointments with – can anything be as bad as having to hold your mouth open for 45 minutes while someone pokes your gums with extremely sharp objects? The need to have to see doctors, just for maintenance reasons, has my mindset in an, "I'm getting old" mode.

A simple case of indigestion can produce anxiety I'm having a heart attack and sudden headaches turn into worries of an aneurysm. I'm not sure if my obsession with reading the obits is because I write for a newspaper or I'm checking to see how many of those who have passed are my age. As I get closer to 60, the more real it’s become I'm not only over the hill, I’m on the downhill slide.

When the kids were little, I prayed I would live long enough to get them raised and out on their own. Now I’ve asked God for an extension on my time to see a couple grandchildren raised too.

I called my sister to let her know I took her advice and made those appointments I'd been putting off. Instead of saying “Good job,” she moved on to other parts of my body that needed some help. My first reaction was to scream "you're not the boss of me" – but that quit working when I was 12.

The only way to stop a big sister from continuous battering is to turn the tables – quickly and quietly and hope for the best. When I asked her when her last checkup was she fell silent. Then I asked if she had applied for her senior discount card and she hung up.

Victory is still sweet – even after all these years.

– Sandy Turner lives in Independence. Email her at