Student, Henry Viscardi School at The Viscardi Center
I like to be active and stay healthy. I play wheelchair basketball – it’s very easy for me. I like playing with my team because we’re all different. To help build up my muscles, I’ll eat vegetables with my dinner and other foods to keep me strong. The doctor also tells me I need to take vitamins, make sure I drink milk to get enough calcium, get a flu shot, and other things like that to make sure I’m healthy.
Another part of being healthy is taking care of my teeth. I brush my teeth twice a day, with a good toothpaste that I like. I drink a lot of water and get dental cleanings. I also might get braces soon, but before I can, they have to remove some of my teeth in order to straighten them. Cleaning my teeth is a regular part of my day and it makes a difference to my overall health, because I feel good. I get up, I brush my teeth, I get dressed, eat breakfast, wait for the bus to come, and then I get on and head to school.
The first time I went to the dentist, I was a little scared, but brave. I was very brave because I had already had a lot of surgeries and MRI visits for other medical conditions, so the dentist was not a big deal. I see the dentist about once a year now, about the same amount I see the doctor, unless I am sick. I am not scared of going to see the doctor either. I also see the eye doctor and retinal doctors once a year, but my hearing doctor every other year. At one time I had to see around 12 doctors, but this got less as I got older. I think taking care of myself is serious.
I would like to see the dentists come up with a stronger toothpaste for kids, like me, who want to make caring for our teeth easier. Dentists and doctors also need to talk to me about my health like an adult, not a kid. I am 17 years old. And finally, their offices need to be more accessible with ramps. One thing that makes me really angry is when I am traveling around New York City and see how inaccessible the subway is. At the very least, I think we should be able to get in to see a doctor or dentist a lot more easily than the subway.