Monday, February 6, 2012

Health Care

Health care : the maintaining and restoration of health by the treatment and prevention of disease especially by trained and licensed professionals (as in medicine, dentistry, clinical psychology, and public health)

The above is from the online Merriam Webster dictionary. Hmm. Trained and licensed, eh? That's interesting.

How do you define health care?

Some people use the term to describe the details of health insurance coverage. It's from the legislative definition that terms such as as "Obamacare" originated. (You know there is no such thing as Obamacare, right? That "word" was created in order to discredit the president. It means nothing.)

Others think of health care in terms of medical testing, i.e. having blood drawn and tested for various conditions, pap smears, biopsies of funky looking moles, etc. I think these activities should be called health monitoring. Medical tests are not preventative. Keeping track of what's going on is definitely not a bad thing, but tests in and of themselves don't improve, restore or maintain health even when administered by trained and licensed professionals.

I think health care should always refer to the things a person does to care for her health, such as eating well, stretching and exercise, fresh air, sufficient sleep. Self care is the most significant aspect of health care, at least according to me. My dentist says they can clean the heck out of my teeth every six months, but unless I rigorously floss and brush between cleanings, it's not really going to help.

You can go to the doctor when you have a cold, though a day in bed watching stupid movies or reading magazines, drinking many warm liquids, is a much more practical way to care for your health in that situation. Health care is also about seeking professional medical assistance when needed. If your fever climbs too high, then you MUST see the doctor. Health care requires each individual to think very clearly and carefully about what's going on, so as to respond appropriately.

The next tier of health care includes actual maintenance of the body/mind with the help of practitioners. I'm talking about things such as getting your teeth cleaned, receiving massage and acupuncture regularly, scheduling some talk-therapy time when needed, that sort of thing.

Health care is not primarily up to legally licensed doctors, nor does it have anything to do with health insurance. Health care begins and ends with how much we care about and for ourselves. The trained and licensed practitioners are facilitators, nothing more - nothing less either. We can't do it all ourselves, but if we don't pay attention to symptoms and signals, if we don't care for ourselves, even the finest doctors on earth can not help us.

If you've entertained the idea that the state of your health is up to someone else, maybe today would be a good day to take the reins, take it on. How are you feeling today? Tired? Perhaps there are a few items on your list you could put off until tomorrow after a better night of sleep. Hungry? Eat well, don't starve yourself. Jittery? Skip the second cup of coffee. Schedule a massage, go see the acupuncturist, take a nice walk, meditate. How about that cough left over from a cold a month ago - perhaps you should go seek the opinion of a medical practitioner, just to make sure, yes? I say yes.

Check in with yourself today, assess what's happening. Make decisions based on your assessment. You are in charge! A votre santé!


jeanette from everton terrace said...

Light bulb on! Yes, health care is taking care to keep healthy - really like this seemingly simple but profound thought Reya.
I'm tired today. I'm tired every day. Have tennis shoes on for walking outside in just a bit and sipping some herbal tea right now so I feel good about that :)

jeanette from everton terrace said...

PS - still can't seem to meditate, I fall asleep every time.

Reya Mellicker said...

If you fall asleep while trying to meditate, that means you're sleep deprived. Can you sleep in for awhile, see if you can restore your sleep deficit?

xx oo

Jo said...

Thank you for this post, Reya. Preach on!

Each of us needs to take charge of our own healthcare and find what works most effectively. I don't advocate dispensing with the AMA entirely, but we have relinquished far too much personal power to it.

Most of what we need to do is actually very intuitively simple; eat real food, sleep enough, walk when we can, and be kind to ourselves and others. So glad you are here to give us the call to action.

Reya Mellicker said...

Can't you see me waving my finger around. Ha.