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Stay Out of the Hospital

Stay Out of the HospitalIt’s fine. Really. I didn’t want April anyway.

On August 6 (Saturday night, day before Easter), I took Samson to an after hours clinic. He’d come down with the flu Thursday evening, but seemed to be on the mend. When he started throwing up again, I wanted to have him checked out.

The clinic referred him to the emergency room.

The emergency room gave him a CT scan and admitted him for surgery to remove a ruptured appendix. And not just any ruptured appendix, but the worst his surgeon had seen in years and years of removing nasty ruptured appendixes.

I packed my bags and stayed in pediatric intensive care with my poor little 11-year-old until the afternoon of April 19.

The joy didn’t last long. He threw up all night, then settled a bit, only to start throwing up again on April 23.

By the morning of April 24, we were readmitted to the hospital for surgery to remove a partial bowel obstruction. And here we sit as I write.

Now Samson’s condition wasn’t preventable. At least not unless we could have divined that his nausea was a soon-to-rupture appendix — even though the symptoms didn’t present like typical appendicitis. But spending this much time at the hospital I’ve had the chance to see first hand so many procedures that came about as a result of, shall we say, “human error.” Of people who have, to a great extent, contributed to their poor health.

If nothing else, it’s made me more determined than ever to be serious about my health. Medical issues occur in every life, but to exacerbate those with bad habits and choices is just downright foolish.

I’ve been thinking healthy choices that are easy to make that may have a significant impact on the quality of our lives.

Smoking

Dumb. Idiotic.

Once I saw a man in a wheelchair, with an attached oxygen tank and tubes going into his nose. And he was smoking. Seriously?

When I hear the praise literally heaped on the supposed genius of Barrack Obama, all I can think of is, “Intellectual giants don’t smoke.”

I understand that nicotine is extremely addictive — which is a compelling reason to never, ever smoke (in fact recent research indicates that you can become addicted after one cigarette, even though you don’t feel the compulsion until weeks later). But the health impact is so profound, it would seem worth any effort to overcome.

 Alcohol Consumption

Since I’m LDS, I have a religious reason to abstain from alcohol. Having never consumed it probably makes it easy to continue. But when I look at the affects of alcohol on our society as a whole, I can’t figure out the attraction.

In my limited experience I see that alcohol can reduce inhibitions and relaxes concerns. In return for the “favor,” the consumer does really dumb, embarrassing, obnoxious, irresponsible things. They have impaired their judgment to the point that they claim not to be able to act as responsible adults. They have impaired themselves physically to the point of being unable to function properly. They might end up throwing up or with a screaming headache.

Does this sound like a bargain?

Weight

Coming to you as someone who has never been obese, but has struggled to keep the weight I want for years, I truly understand that wishful thinking and even careful planning don’t always bring desired results.

Abstaining from tobacco and/or alcohol is a simple formula. It might not be easy, but it’s very simple to figure out what needs to be done to succeed. If you don’t smoke and/or don’t drink, you’re there.

Weight is much more complex. It’s a function of the calories of food and drink consumed, the expenditure of calories through everyday activity and exercise, metabolism, and how a particular individual responds to all of the above. It’s fuzzy science, to say the least, and the recommended course of action changes on a regular basis.

Still, reasonable efforts to keep weight under control — or at least the steps that generally achieve that end — are well known. Eat lots of vegetables and fruits, drink lots of water, exercise regularly.

Whether your figure shows it or not, a healthy lifestyle will have benefits.

Sleep

Another area I’ve struggled with since birth, but extremely important nonetheless. Sleep impacts our mood, weight, attention, coordination, energy, and general health. Either too much or too little can be problematic.

Find your optimal amount of sleep and make the time to get it.

Other Factors

Sometimes maintaining health is as simple as watching for little things that come up and correcting them when possible.

If you have a problem with inflammation of muscles or joints (as my mother did), address it right away. Left on it’s own, such symptoms can lead to inactivity or withdrawal from favorite activities, which can further lead to other health problems. Then a spiral begins.

Nopalea, for example, is a wellness drink, made from the fruit of the Nopal cactus. It can help neutralize toxins in the body and reduce inflammation. When the inflammation is under control, it won’t lead to other, even more debilitating health problems.

If you have a problem with pain, don’t just medicate to cover it up. Find and address the cause before it becomes more serious.

If you have an ailment that doesn’t go away in a reasonable time, seek attention. Sometimes catching a sickness in the early stages can keep it from progressing into something chronic.

Rather than wait until you are sick, have regular checkups and get the recommended tests for your age and gender. My husband had a colonoscopy when he turned 50. Not fun, to be sure, but a clean bill of health brings stress relief.

While not all hospital stays can be eradicated — and I am more grateful than ever that we have such resources — we can do a great deal to keep ourselves healthy…and home!

{ 1 comment… add one }
  • Emmi Rinalin May 6, 2012, 10:47 pm

    Well seeing the post and going over it all I can say is that you really had a bad time during it…. I can only you can understand what has gone through…..

    Thanks for sharing
    Emmi
    Emmi Rinalin recently posted…Xbox 360 Cable: How to get Started With Xbox SystemMy Profile

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