Playing the Odds with Our Health.

I am reeling from a scare yesterday. Someone very dear to me suffered a mild stroke in her home. She is younger than I and lives alone. Luckily she was able to get out and get herself to the hospital within an hour of the occurrence so she is expected to recover 100%. But this reminds me of two important things: we must keep track of our loved ones especially those of us who live alone and we need to stop playing the odds with our health especially those of us of a certain age.

My loved one’s stroke came without warning or symptoms. Life can change on a dime. We have to keep in touch with loved ones. It’s worth the effort to create a system of check-ins with our friends and families. Share your door keys with trusted friends and family. Two weeks ago I had a fever so high that I couldn’t get out of bed to fetch my cell phone to call anyone. Luckily I was okay (just a virus) but what if something like a mild stroke hit me? I possess all of the risk factors.

I picked up some literature while I was sitting with my loved one in the ICU/stroke unit. I casually read the list:
Risk factors for stroke.
1. obesity Check
2. sedentary lifestyle Check
3. alcohol use Check
4. Tobacco use Check
5. Family history of diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart attack Check Check Check Check

Scary shit. I know these facts to be true, yet I still keep it up. I stay fat, I don’t move my ass. I am sitting here reading this list of risk factors and thinking: What the Hell am I waiting for? Am I waiting for a stroke? A heart attack? Living like this a form of Russian Roulette. Except the gun is an artery, the bullet is a bit of clotting and the trigger is my lifestyle choices. I don’t want to play Russian Roulette with my life.

So besides the check-in, we must take care of our health. It’s not something that we can put off anymore. I may feel young inside my head but my physical body says otherwise and the lifestyle changes I have to make – start today. I have been feeling lucky that I have not faced a serious health issue but I realize that it is just plain stupid to play the odds with regards to my health and life expectancy. I will not let the check-out girl at the grocer short change me, I will wait on hold with my cable service provider to argue about my bill or service but I won’t take steps to save and prolong my life? What sense does that make? I know that I am not the only one who knows they need to change their lifestyle. I know this. I know I am not the only one because I have this conversation with people every day. The message is screaming at us, yet we don’t heed the warnings. I am not stupid. I know what to do. It’s time to take action because I want to live and damn it, I have to say it: I can’t put it off any longer. We can do this step by step, little by little. The key is to start. And I am starting NOW. Because I want to LIVE and I want to live well.

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