PHOENIXVILLE - The sun is shining brightly when we reach the noon hour of our life. However when evening approaches and the hours of daylight seem to fly past more rapidly, it is often too late to begin accumulating the greatest riches possible to make the twilight years more enjoyable. That commodity is good health!
Most young people believe that they are immortal. Unless they have some serious physical problems, the average person fails to understand that each of us is responsible for the sacred temple known as the human body. If I could choose but a single legacy to give to the younger generations, I would will them excellent health. When we have a large store of energy plus fitness of mind and body, all the other basic requirements seem to fall into place.
During the past century, medical advances have been achieved at an astonishing rate. However, we must realize that these new frontiers are not free but must be purchased by each individual with the help and support of their health care professionals. The current mentality of the welfare state projects that others are responsible for our good health. This philosophy will always make health care too expensive. An analogy that certainly fits with our modern problems states that more police, social workers and correctional institutions will erase a high percentage of crime in America. Until each individual makes honesty, hard work and responsibility the top priority, no amount of law enforcement will provide safe communities.
The same is true of responsibility for our health. No amount of government regulation, medical discoveries and corporate funding will provide for a more healthy society unless each person makes the goal a top priority.
New medicines and treatments that cure cancer, heart disease and respiratory problems will continue to allow us to live longer as each new discovery is made. But until each person prepares for the future with the same resolve that he or she makes for financial independence, the national cost will still be prohibitive.
Our new information age allows the average person to learn of the many new medicines that are available. Television commercials are a virtual super market of pills to be purchased at the neighborhood drugstore by merely asking your doctor. Most of these products are remedial in nature. They may help cure you after you have made the mistakes. This is not a third-person opinion, I know.
Like most young people, I believed that others got sick. In fact, I even believed that illness was a form of weakness so refused to pay attention to early symptoms. In fairness to our generation, we grew up at the time when scientists knew little of the primary causes of many illnesses. For example, suntans were good for you and staring at the sun while playing baseball or tennis did little damage. The latter concept was the primary cause of my first major health problem.
Obesity is a national problem that results in many later difficulties. But when I was a thin, 155-pound athlete, I envied the "Charles Atlas" ads that praised the bulky muscle man on the beach so I worked to fill that ideal. I succeeded very well, as 210 was a great weight for a variety of sports. Then the number ballooned to 250 during my later, less active years.
So what is the solution? Now we know so much more about maintaining good health than was known in earlier years. It is the responsibility of each parent to teach their children the most important facts of life and health. Schools are placing more emphasis on these issues but mom, dad, grandparents, etc. you are the role models whether you like it or not. Smoking is macho until you see someone with lung cancer. Fat and jolly people are fun until they need help moving in their later years, if they are allowed to reach them.
Obviously some people are going to get sick and need help regardless of how healthy a lifestyle they lead. However, this smaller percentage will be far less costly and physicians and nurses will have more time to attend to their needs.
Let's support all the wonderful health care professionals. It's time to insist that our legislators pass laws which take the way in excess profits made by pharmaceutical and insurance companies in order to provide incentives to recruit more talented men and women to become doctors, nurses and hospital staff personnel. These funds would also be used as a super fund in each state to greatly reduce the cost of liability insurance after common sense limits are placed on the ridiculous jury awards. While giving suggestions, how about a Citizen's Bank hospital wing.
If our system is truly free enterprise, which I doubt, why not require that all pharmacies publish the prices for each prescribed drug so that we could shop for the best deal. Either that or let "Oh, Canada" be our national drug anthem.
We are very fortunate to live in the greater Phoenixville area where so many amazing physicians are giving marvelous care to their patients. Personally, I owe these many friends my life and thank them for their talent and dedication.