Monday, January 21, 2008

ProActive Health Care

I am fortunate in that I have gotten my weight under control, my blood chemistry, and glucose levels back into normal readings. However, is it too late? I do not think so. Perhaps if I had started when I was 45 I might have a greater chance of living to 90. However, how long we live is not within the realm of choice. What is within the realm of choice is how well we travel the road.

I have a brother-in-law twenty-one years older than I. Recently he encountered two small strokes that have left him with some weakness on the left side of his body and a little forgetfulness. He will be hospitalized to undergo some rehabilitation work and hopefully go home and live out his days among loved ones. I hope for everyone's sake, his included, that some day in the future when his time comes that he goes to sleep and simply goes on from there. Up until that time I hope he is able to do things that are meaningful to him and not just passing time waiting for the inevitable.

With that in mind, I think all of us need to do things that help the quality of our life. My brother-in-law had severe leg problems about three years ago that resulted from blockages of the femoral artery. A Dr. recommended surgery, however warned that if there were complications they could be rather severe. Finally a Dr. at Mayo's told him that before any other procedures were to be performed he needed to start a walking program. The Dr. wanted him to walk one hour a day. My brother-in-law worked his way up to the suggested time frame and literally walked himself back into a good state of health. He went from limited mobility to playing golf again after several years of inactivity. So we can do things that improve our quality of life. My brother-in-law had a very enjoyable summer, played golf once a week with some friends, walked daily, and enjoyed an active social life. Now, things aren't so good, but perhaps he will be able to resurrect his health to the degree that he can again walk some distance and feel good about himself. He may not play golf again, I hope he can, but I give him credit for making a stand and trying.

Our health is not the responsibility of the medical community. It is our responsibility. I hope all of us live up to that responsibility and do all that we can to insure the quality of the time we have left.

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