Taking Care Of Business

I’ve been meaning to write about this and, well, you know how life comes along and you never get around to things, or you procrastinate?  Well, I’m guilty of all of the above.

I’m talking about taking care of the most personal and important business there is – YOU.

I am neither a health nut nor a health care professional.  But what I have tried to be is an interested observer.  I have tried to watch others – people I know – and learn from them.

A lot of the people that I am thinking about as I write this died years before they should have.  The warning signs were there.  They were ignored.

Gary was like a big brother to me.  He was three or four years older than I.  He was successful at a lot of things.  And even though he was a Democrat and held elected office, he was appointed to two commissions by a Republican governor.

We find out too late that Gary had a pus like substance oozing from his right nipple for a year before he said anything to anyone.  The breast cancer metastasized, he had bone cancer and he died at about age 65.

Many years before, , my dad died of a heart attack at age 67.  First, he was a Christian Scientist.  He did not believe in doctors.  The last few years of his life he was too thin and frail.  And then, surprise, he collapsed at the kitchen sink and they could not revive him.

It took some years and not a little detective work to piece together what happened.  First, I and all of my children suffer from hypothyroidism.  This is a inherited condition and my mother, who survived my father by eighteen years did not have it.  My father’s being tired was a symptom he should have caught on to.  Second, in 1970, bananas went over ten cents a pound.  He vowed not to buy any until the price came down.  Yeah, I know it sounds silly.  He was stubborn.

It just so happens that the combination of untreated hypothyroidism and a lack of  potassium, which bananas have a lot of, can cause ones heart to stop working.  I cannot find a link to that but I came across that fact years ago.  If anyone can provide a link, I’ll do an update.

And, now to the present.  My mother-in-laws husband (he was never a step-dad to Mrs. Chief because they got married after we did) is eighty-five years old.  Except for three years in the Army during WWII he was a farmer his whole working life.  He was always healthy, went for decades without visiting a doctor.  Apparently, that is a habit he cannot break.

About a year ago he spent a week to ten days in the hospital. A bladder infection went septic.  It was the first time he was ever admitted or stayed in a hospital.

Now he is sick again.  He was put on anti-biotics a week and a half ago and today was he third doctor visit in that ten day period.  He has lost something over 30 pounds in the last year.  Tomorrow he is going to drink a barium solution and they will do a CT scan of his lower abdomen.

There have been others from whom I have learned a great deal, just by watching.  But none of it was life threatening.  Perhaps career limiting, though.

The point of this post, or the point that I am trying to make, is that you are responsible for your health, for your well being.  Regular check-ups are vital.  Being macho serves no useful purpose.  While you and your doctor need to work together in a partnership, never for one moment lose sight of the fact that it is your health and your life and that you need to be proactive in looking out for your best interests.  One thing doctors can do is help you make an informed decision.

Four years ago, our family physician, after administering a stress test to me, told me that part of my heart was not getting enough oxygen.  He had done his job.  My job was to decide what to have done and where.

Your job is to watch your body.  To keep track of any changes and get in to see a health care professional on a regular basis.

Your job, also, is to keep an eye on those that are important to you.  If you think they have something that needs attention, be pushy if necessary.  Better safe than sorry.

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One Comment on “Taking Care Of Business”

  1. […] Liberty Street “Of all the various virtues, the most beloved is liberalism.” — Aristotle « Taking Care Of Business […]

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