Monday, May 28, 2012

Lessons Learned From the Emergency Room

Several weeks ago I had the thought provoking experience of spending the day in the emergency room with my mother.  What started out as a trip to her doctor for what she thought to be a urinary infection turned into a trip to the emergency room with a kidney stone and urinary/kidney infection complicated by a known heart condition and newly discovered COPD, which landed her in the hospital for a week.

First off I must say that the entire staff in the emergency room was really wonderful.  They looked to be pretty busy that day but were still very efficient and very caring.  They kept us informed as much as they could and really made a bad situation a little easier.  And for that I am very thankful.  One of the doctors even bought me a sandwich from the snack bar.  I was starving by that time and really appreciated that.  What a nice guy.

One thing I noticed while I was hanging around waiting while they poked, prodded and tested my mom, was that a good majority of the folks coming into the emergency room not only had a problem needing immediate attention, they looked like a lot of them had other health problems that were complicating things as in my moms case.  This really made me take a harder look at where I was with my own health and where I wanted to be in the future. 

I  have always been pretty health conscious, but this year I will be turning 50.  Wow!  Where did the time go?  And I think that the times that I wasn't so good at taking care of my health have started to catch up with my body.  I have had a few health issues pop up that I'm dealing with.  And while we can't take back the past, we can learn from others and hopefully improve our own future.

So I have stepped up my own healthy efforts a bit.  I am more aware of what I'm eating.  I will still indulge in a Baskin Robbins ice cream occasionally, but the key word is "occasionally".  I am more aware if I skip a few days of working out.  Actually, my body is very good at letting me know when I've missed a few days.

Some health problems we have no control over, but we make choices every day all day long that affect our health.  Sometimes the choices we make don't show up right now.  But years from now, we may have to live with those choices.  My mom has smoked and drank for years and now she is paying the price for those choices she has made.

The good news is that you can still affect your health now and in the future by making better, healthier choices today.

If you smoke, make the choice to quit and get help if you need it.
If you drink too much,  quit or cut way back.
If your eating habits need improving, make the choice to eat better.
If you don't exercise, start.

Start small if you need to, but start somewhere.  And keep building on that.

And if you need some motivation go visit your local emergency room.  Oh, and my mom, she is still in a rehab nursing facility trying to get healthy and strong enough to go home. 


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