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Yesterday I was out running errands and I noticed a woman standing next to her car in the parking lot, she caught my eye because she wore a pink bandana; it covered her bald head — a sure sign that she is a cancer patient – I notice these things a lot more, ever since I was a cancer patient. She also had a pink ribbon bumper sticker on her car. I found a parking space close to her and I planned to talk to her– until she lit a cigarette. At that point, I didn’t bother because I knew I would end up asking her “woman, what are you thinking?”
I thought about this woman quite a bit. She isn’t the only cancer patient going through treatment and sabotaging her healthcare with bad habits. Yes, smoking is a bad habit. I know smokers claim it calms their nerves or that cigarettes are too addicting to quit. I have heard all the excuses. I am married to a smoker. He tells me he is down to 2 cigarettes a day. I have a very hard time with people who claim its too hard to quit. Believe me, its even harder to fight and beat cancer.
I don’t know this woman’s story and I know its her right to do whatever she wants with her own body, whether its smoking cigarettes, drinking alcohol or eating crappy food. But now that Obama Care is about to kick-in, what responsibility do we have to keep ourselves as healthy as possible? I guarantee the new health plan will not be the panacea that proponents claim. We have to do our part.
Healthcare costs are through the roof and since we are a free market the cost will not go down anytime soon. The medical profession in the United States is used to getting $10,000 for a PET scan and they aren’t about to settle for $2,500 like Canada. Maybe there will be a hashing out over fees, maybe there won’t — but you can bet if there is, it won’t be sorted out for years. Meanwhile, people still get sick. And if you ask me, many get sick because they live an unhealthy lifestyle. I know — you say, we live in a polluted environment and I agree but its still up to us to keep our immune systems as strong as possible to fight the bad stuff, and it can’t be done taking a “magic” pill. It just won’t happen– I don’t care how many commercials claim it will.
A few months ago CVS required its employees to get health checks, to lose weight and stop smoking — or pay $50 more for their health insurance coverage. I really don’t think that’s a bad thing. People are all to willing to take a pill in the hopes of losing weight, or stop smoking, or the myriad of other health problems we face, without doing their part, like making better food choices– not processed, made in a laboratory junk foods — or exercising, like walking, stretching, dancing or whatever.
The medical profession is also to blame. Physicians are swamped with patients these days and most do not take the time to talk to their patients about living a healthier lifestyle, because they just don’t have the time or they don’t think about it. Or maybe it pays to just write the patient a prescription for diabetes (which usually has worse side effects than the disease) instead of telling their patients to lose weight, eat right and exercise. There are some who do, but not enough. I am around hospital medical staff weekly and eat lunch with a lot of them. They eat the same junk that I believe, makes their patients sick. There seems to be a total disconnect. And when politicians like the mayor of New York try to help their constituents lives better, by banning 30 gallon sodas at fast food restaurants, they are accused of running a “nanny state.”
Ever since the invention of the Internet, we no longer can claim ignorance, unless its willful ignorance. The information is out there. The information has been around for years and we are still getting fatter as a nation. I noticed the wheel chairs at the hospitals have gotten bigger — they look like small love seats. Hospitals now have special rooms just for large people, that have a crane next to the bed so the staff doesn’t hurt their back helping the patient get out of bed.
Health insurance is a good thing and I am all for single payer. I believe we should all be treated equally and that healthcare is a moral right, but we have to take responsibility for our own lifestyle choices. For those claiming their illness is genetic — sorry, that doesn’t cut it. Just because mom and dad had high blood pressure or diabetes does not mean we will. Yes, we might pre-disposed but it doesn’t have to manifest itself if we make different choices. I see too many people take expensive medications for weight related health problems, then buy a sugar free soda and eat processed, fast food.
For those claiming the excuse of not having enough time, I say they have a the time, but suffer from a time management problem. Stop spending so much time on the computer and use that time preparing healthy meals for the week that can be frozen. The Internet is full of recipes for the person “on the go.” For those of us with kids — meal time is a perfect way to get the kids involved– delegate… delegate…delegate. Its up to us as parents to teach our kids to make healthy choices. We can’t depend on our schools to provide healthy lunches — they bow to the fast food corporations. Its up to us as consumers to stop buying the “crappy” processed foods and support locally grown fresh foods– that means shopping the perimeter of the grocery store. If we vote with our dollars — we will see more healthy foods on store shelves. Its economics 101 baby.
And I repeat… its up to us to take charge of our own health care– not wait for the health care professionals, health insurance companies or Washington to do it for us.