Health and Bodily Wellbeing



      “The scorn of death is again one of the methods of prolonging life...The best way not to die too soon is to cultivate the duties of life and the scorn of death.”  (Alexander A. Bogomoletz).  In part, the amelioration of illness can be purchased, but vibrant health can only be had at the price of sweat and sacrifice.  Remember, while your illness may happen to you, your response to that dilemma happens to your illness.

 Personal health is a paramount critical life arena.  Unlike many other important life arenas, poor health has the capacity to completely nullify the joys and pleasures arising from other life arenas.  Indeed, over a short period of time, even a paltry flu with fever, vomiting, muscle aches, and lethargy, can totally nullify the immediate joy of riches and a great love.   Needless to say, a life threatening illness like cancer, heart disease, AIDS, etc., can, and usually will, decimate all of life’s bounty.  In contrast, even poverty does not necessarily make happiness impossible.

Health issues are not only critical because of the magnitude of pain they create, they are also paramount because they are virtually inevitable and difficult, or impossible, to control.  One hundred percent of the population will die.  Every one will die; Most will become quite sick before they die. Almost no one travels throughout life without encountering a significant episode of illness.  Additionally, we are destined also to encounter the insult of health problems in our siblings, parents, and children.

In light of the importance of health issues, it is paradoxical that a high school graduate is more likely to know how to solve problems in geometry than to be able to articulate even the most basic knowledge of disease and medical treatment.  Typically, the obsession with health information does not arise until late middle age, when health problems are either knocking at the door or well ensconced.  In youth, and even young adulthood, feelings of invulnerability and/or the temporal remoteness of death foster a palpable ignorance of the most rudimentary issues in medicine.

No matter how knowledgeable one becomes regarding health issues, and no matter how wealthy one becomes, thereby permitting access to healthcare solutions, death and illness are virtually inevitable and accordingly, we may never really attain any high degree of control over physical pain and suffering.  Despite all the advances in medicine, the maximum life span has changed very little in modern times, and indeed, even the typical life span has only modestly changed.  This change is due mostly to the advent of antibiotics and the reduction of infant mortality, relatively old features of modern medicine.  Because life is the only game in town, however, we must make some efforts to lengthen life and reduce physical suffering during life. 

While the most dramatic increases in well being come from self-promulgated life style habits that are preventative, the treatment of health problems almost always requires the intervention of a professional.  Choosing this professional wisely can have life saving attributes.  The two critical qualities for a health professional are integrity and good training (skill).  Ordinary people, without special training or experience in health care are prone to judge health care professionals based on their apparent compassion, warmth, interpersonal skills (He remembers my name!), and so-called “bedside manner.”  In fact, these human dimensions have no particular correlation to actual skills, and, indeed, they are sometimes adopted as a substitute for careful evaluation and skill.  While it is tempting to use interpersonal attractiveness as the primary basis for choosing a physician, it should be avoided.  Furthermore, in many modern countries, the level of health care will depend less on the qualities of the physician and more on the economics and organization of health care delivery.  In choosing your medical care, one needs to be aware of the economic motives of the system, not just the integrity of the individual providers.

Advice on Our Body – Our Health

             1.  On both your computer, and in hard copy, keep copies of all of your health records including reports, evaluations, surgery notes, blood tests, procedure reports, etc.  In this regard, be diligent in acquiring these records because they will not be produced to you as a regular practice.  In addition, in a separate single document that you create, record the following information:  Your name, address, phone number, emergency contact, blood type, serious allergies, each of your diagnoses, your current medications (with dosage), your history of surgeries and hospitalizations, your insurance information (including all numbers and codes necessary for billing), and the name, address, and phone contact for every physician that has treated you.  Bring a copy of this information to your first appointment with any health care provider.

             2.     By age 30, you should acquire good health insurance.  Many will be insured by their employer or through some government mandate, and accordingly, they will have limited choices about the system or the provider.  However, if you have a choice, you should avoid health maintenance organizations (HMOs) and you should avoid insurers who do not allow you to have a wide choice regarding providers.  If you do not get insurance from an employer, or through government mandate, purchase it even if the cost will interfere with some of your more discretionary expenses.

            3.   Be an active participant in your health.  Use the internet to research every diagnosis you are given and every medication that you are prescribed.  Use the internet to research any physician that treats you and to search for highly qualified physicians.  Do not passively accept referrals or diagnoses without attempting to educate yourself.

            4.            Make sure your general practitioner schedules you for all routine health screenings including PAP, HPV, HIV, Colonoscopy, Bone Density, and any others that become standard.  Similarly, make sure you and your children have all recommended immunizations. 

            5.            Don’t drink any alcohol more than two days in a row.  Don’t drink more than two glasses of wine (or the equivalent in hard liquor or beer) on any given day.  If you do not have the self-control to follow this rule, then don’t drink alcohol.

            6.            Don’t smoke or consume cannabis more than twice a week.  Generally, use all intoxicants moderately, and if you can’t follow this rule, don’t use them at all.

            7.            Have your teeth professional cleaned three times a year regardless of whether you think you need cleaning this frequently.

            8.            Gargle well (for at least one minute on the clock) with hydrogen peroxide (3% solution) once per week.

            9.            Brush your teeth, gums, and tongue thoroughly at least once every other day, and floss well at least once per week.  (Obviously greater frequency would be better, but this minimum will have remarkable preventative power for your dental health.)

            10.            Unless it is an emergency, never let a dentist extract a tooth, other than an impacted molar, without getting a second opinion.

            11.            Do not allow dental problems, e.g. cavity, chipped tooth, etc., to go untreated for more than 30 days.

            12.            Wear seatbelts, drive calmly and carefully, and never drive within two hours after drinking more than one glass of wine, beer or a shot of whiskey.

            13.            Weigh yourself (stripped, in the morning) everyday on a medical balance scale.  Purchase a medical scale (they are expensive).  It’s a great lifetime investment.

            14.            Maintain your weight within 20 pounds of your ideal weight (determined by ideal weight-height chart) for your entire life.  If you weigh outside this zone of safety, by even one pound, immediately go on diet until you are three pounds inside this zone of safety.  Do not postpone losing weight for any reason; do it when you have very little weight to lose.

            15.            If you suspect you have a medical problem (other than the routine cold or flu) seek medical help immediately.  Don’t let fear or cost slow you down.  Almost every significant health problem is easier to treat at the beginning stages.

            16.            Early in life, by age 22 or 23, designate for yourself a personal physician.  Use this physician as a coordinator of your medical care.  Be sure this physician is Board Certified in either Family Medicine or Internal Medicine.  Choose a physician who is relatively young (under 35).

            17.            Women should designate for themselves a gynecologist or family physician, and they should see this physician regularly for routine screening and health maintenance, including mamogram, PAP, and HPV testing.

            18.            Don’t consent to any non-emergency surgery without seeking an outside opinion from a relevant expert.

            19.            Don’t seek care from chiropractors or other non-physicians until you first consult your personal physician.

            20.            Don’t take medical advice or treatment from friends or relatives (even if they are physicians).

            21.            Don’t smoke cigarettes.  Don’t have even one.

            22.            Do some form of exercise, one that you enjoy, for twenty minutes at least three times per week.  Be sure you exert yourself enough to sweat, get your heart beating fast, and feel tired.  Additionally, walk casually at least one mile a day, five days a week.  Do not engage in obsessive exercising that inflicts painful wear and tear on your muscles and joints.   Be moderate in your exercise routine and strive for long term consistency, not bodily perfection.

            23.            After age 40, take 1,000 mg. of calcium, 2 "babby aspirin," and 1,000 I.U. of Vitamin D3 every day.

            24,            Don’t allow your life to be dominated by any theory that says foods can make you healthy or sick.  If you exercise regularly and maintain your weight within 20 lbs. of ideal, your diet will make very little difference unless it lacks sufficient variety to insure an array of vitamins and minerals.

            25.            If you need medical help from a specialist, be sure he is Board Certified in his specialty (this is especially important for plastic surgery, oncology, and cardiology).

            26.            Don’t have plastic surgery to perfect yourself.  Use plastic surgery only if you have a severe defect that makes you ugly or interferes with some bodily functions.

            27.            If you have children, then child proof your house.  Place all poisons and small sharp objects out of your child’s reach or behind locked cabinets.

            28.            Don’t ever put or have put a tattoo on your body.  Never walk into a tattoo parlor while under the influence of alcohol.

            29.            Never ride a motorcycle (neither as a driver nor as a passenger) regardless of whether or not you use a helmet.

            30.            Don’t engage in dangerous sports, like parachuting, or other sports where equipment failure can cause death, or where speed, height, or the presence of sharp objects creates risk of serious bodily harm. Don’t trade a few moments of excitement for permanent bodily injury.

            31.            Don’t ever have a gun in the house that is not in a locked cabinet and unloaded.

            32.            When you go to a physician, prepare a brief and clear list of your current concerns, symptoms and observations and use this list to insure that you leave his/her office with all questions answered.

            33.            Take a shower or bath everyday.

            34.            Men:  if you’re going to have sex with a prostitute, then use a prophylactic.

            35.            At around age 40 or 45, sit down with your wife or some other close relative and discuss with them the issue of death with dignity; spell out whether or not if you were very ill, say with cancer, and were unable to participate in your own medical decisions, whether you’d want your doctors to pursue extraordinary life saving procedures to keep you alive (e.g., surgeries, resuscitations, life sustaining machines).  Share the results of this discussion with your personal physician.  Fill out any state authorized forms used to insure your wishes are respected.

            36.            Make sure your child has a family physician or a pediatrician for the purpose of giving your child routine immunizations.

            37.            If you discover a lesion (abnormal area) on your skin that is new, dark, has irregular edges, or in any manner creates a suspicion that it could be a melanoma, then see a Board Certified Dermatologist immediately without delay.

            38.            All women should learn how to do self-examinations of breast lumps to facilitate early detection of breast cancer.

            39.            Avoid occupations (jobs) and hobbies where you’ll be exposed to asbestos, radiation or chemical fumes.

            40.            Do not allow yourself to get sun burned, or to suffer exposure to direct sun light for more than 30 minutes a day without good sun protection clothes or medication.

            41.            Find some method of relaxing yourself for at least a half hour each day.  During this half hour, do not work, don’t try to accomplish anything, breath slowly and deeply, relax your muscles, and think of pleasant thoughts and fantasies.  Taking a long casual walk at the end of the day works wonders.

            42.            Unless your physician specifically recommends it, don’t take laxatives more than two times per year.  In general, avoid non-prescription drugs and especially avoid using them on a frequent, regular basis.

            43.            The evening before any planned surgery, take one general vitamin, 1,000 mg. of Vitamin C, and eat a meal high in protein and fiber.

            44.            Attempt to eat some roughage; raw fruit or vegetables, whole grains (in bread or cereals), or bran, everyday.

            45.            Don’t force your children to eat when they are not hungry.

            46.            Don’t dye or bleach your hair before age 40.

            47.            If you develop a chronic medical problem, e.g., hypertension (high blood pressure), heart disease, cholitis, diabetes, arthritis, etc., go out and buy a book on the topic and learn about the disease, and especially attempt to understand what your role will be in controlling the disease.  Use the internet to research the disease and to learn of new developments.

            48.            If you need surgery, hire a surgeon who has done the particular procedure many times.