Monday, January 16, 2012

"take two of these and call me in the morning..."

A few things weighing heavy on my mind this past week:

*The terrible news about Sherry Arnold is heartbreaking. What an unspeakably awful thing for any family to go through. I think of her and her family every day.

*It didn't occur to me until after the fact that I lost my tip money on my Dad's birthday. Another message from the Universe? Maybe. But it made me sad that I got so upset about it when it was clearly a day that I maybe should have been home, enjoying and appreciating my family.

*My mom got sick and checked herself into the hospital late last week. She's been doing alright so far except for pain from a bought of diverticulitis. There are no ruptures but she's indicated to me that she's been left with the impression that surgery might still be required. From what she's told me, the doctors aren't handling her case with any real sense of urgency, which I guess is good but it still has me a bit worried...

... and angry.

I'm not mad at her, specifically, just annoyed that no one has been in there to talk to her yet about her diet prior to this incident and how it needs to change from this point forward.* I'm angry that my mother was admitted with a complication that, compounded by other issues, killed my father.

Apparently, my mind's way of processing the information that my mom was sick had me running in my sleep. I ran so hard in my dream (I'm sure I was doing a track workout) that I woke up and swore my feet and calves were sore. That afternoon, I decided I really did need to do some intervals; to break a hard sweat and free my mind. I worked out as hard as I physically could after my dad passed away. I guess this is how I handle stress.

My run made me feel a little better, but I was still frustrated with the medical attention (or lack of it, it seemed) that my mom was receiving. Aren't they supposed to intervene and give us information to make better decisions? Why are doctors so afraid to really push a patient to make diet and lifestyle changes? They'll prescribe Lipitor by the pound, it seems, but won't address a patient's daily sausage egg & cheese habit. Type II diabetes? Here's some insulin, maybe you should drink less soda. A patient admitted to the hospital for pancreatitis is back out drinking within 24 hours of being released.

Where are the doctor's who will scare us straight? Isn't that their job?

I am not all about living forever. I'm about living well as long as we're alive.

Sherry's story reminds us that we don't know when our number will be up. Some will interpret this as a reason to forgo exercise and just eat and drink whatever they please because, hey, we all die sometime, anyway.

The flip side of that, however, is to consider how we actually want to feel while we are still here on earth. Do we want to struggle every time we take the stairs? Do we want to start every morning with a 12-pill drug cocktail? Do we really enjoy that even the simplest of tasks - playing "tag" with our kids or carrying in a couple arm-loads of groceries from the car - are so taxing that we have to sit for 20 minutes afterwards to recover??

I guess the main point to this long-winded, melancholy post is that just because life is short doesn't mean that what we do to or for our bodies doesn't matter. The converse is true:

We need to make every day count. Make the most of your body so your body can make the most of every waking moment. Don't wait for something to go wrong to make a change! Your quality of life starts with YOU, TODAY. Don't waste it.

(*1/17 - she's been released with an order to avoid chocolate and to introduce things back into her diet slowly. Nothing else has been said to her as of yet.)

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