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One Woman's Opinion

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An Alternate View on Healthcare  

by Mary Wakefield Buxton
Urbanna, Va.— Healthcare reform does not come from government. Healthcare reform comes from us. We the people are in charge of our lives and we the people will solve our health problems.

That’s my philosophy. Another name for it is “Emerson: Self Reliance 101.”

I know my philosophy won’t work for everyone. But it works for me. It generates a lot of good sense into my health plan, too. While the nation debates whether federal government should take over health care, I have vowed to take over mine.

Government has nothing to do with the decisions I make about my body. Being responsible for myself—my definition of freedom. In my view, any entity that tries to take charge of what I consider my realm of responsibility robs me of my basic ingredient of independence.

If I am ill, I check in with such fine doctors as Jim Robusto or David Nichols and I listen carefully to their good advice. Then I do some research on the internet and check with friends and family members in health professions. After thinking carefully, I decide what my treatments, if any, will be.

No government bureaucrat need become a part of my decision. Thank you, but  I want to do it myself.

Much of healthcare is old-fashioned good sense. First rule for good health: Get a dog. Dogs are well known to bring down blood pressure, encourage daily exercise, teach tolerance (especially for other people’s pets!) and love us unconditionally. They heal whatever ails us. Get two dogs and you will be twice as healthy, not to mention twice as tolerant.

Good health takes discipline. Without discipline, all the free health clinics in the world won’t deliver good health. Discipline delivers two important ingredients to good health: exercise and diet—the two most hated words in society.

Exercise doesn’t mean having to join expensive health clubs or aerobics classes. It merely means leaning over every morning and lacing on walking shoes. Some mornings, I don’t much want to go for a walk, but the dogs insist. One on each side, they nudge me out the door. Who needs a federal government “nudge” when they have a dog?

Another easy avenue to  daily exercise routine is to turn on FIT-TV. This program runs exercise classes all day long. I favor a 30-minute workout with Gilead that includes body building, aerobics, floor work and final stretches, and all right in my own home.

Watch what you put in your mouth as if your life depends on it. Cut back on meat, include at least 5 servings of vegetables and fruit every day, and lots of fiber in cereals or whole wheat grain breads. Here’s the hard part. Limit sweets. One piece of dark chocolate can be a satisfying substitute for dessert, if you have a vivid imagination, that is.  

Of course, no smoking and very careful drinking. I love wine and limit consumption to one glass a day. On weekends I  sometimes drink more and I always regret it the next morning.

Laugh a lot in life. I have no trouble doing this. But over the years I have noticed that my ability to laugh is directly related to the amount of wine that I drink.

Be a positive thinker. We seem to grow more negative as we age. One has to see it in oneself and stop it before it becomes an ingrained habit. I am about as flexible as your everyday steel pipe. But flexibility is a trait worth cultivating.

Develop a faith in God. Even if you have strong current of doubt, and what thinking person wouldn’t, don’t give up finding faith. Attend a church that will tolerate honest doubt and never give up. Even in my darkest hours, I never gave up going to church. Allowing God into my life has made a difference in my happiness.

Carl Jung, a brilliant psychologist from the last century, came to the conclusion that having a belief in God improves mental health. He should know. Who am I to question such age old wisdom?

Be responsible for yourself as long as you can. Don’t expect the government to take care of you. Don’t retire from work unless you have a lot of money in the bank because if you really become sick, you will need every nickel.  

Lastly, learn the 23rd Psalm. Go to green pastures. Sit down beside still waters. Be filled with gratitude for life. Dwell not in the house of government, but in the house of God. ©2009

Copies of Mary Wakefield Buxton’s new book, “Middlesex Memories,” are now available at the Southside Sentinel office in Urbanna, Middlesex Museum in Saluda, and area stores.

posted 10.28.2009

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