Why Bother?

I get strange looks and frustrated questions from time to time, probably because I don’t fit into any standard role or mold. I’m a strange combination of medical doctor, wellness promotor, mental health advocate, Christian minister, and perhaps others. That may seem unfocused and strange to some, but it stems from the core philosophy of who I am and what we are about on the Dr Carol Show. We can’t be weak or “sick” in any area of our lives without it touching every other area. We are whole, integrated, human beings. God made us that way!

What happens if one area of our lives is unattended? Focusing on your religious life exclusively may well give you meaning and hope in this life, and assurance of life in heaven when this life is over. Knowing things are right between you and God trumps perhaps everything else – rightfully so.

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Can there be TOO MUCH Health Care?

As a physician I am invested in helping people feel better, treating and sometimes curing disease, and preventing death whenever possible. But I am also acutely aware that there are significant limitations to what we can do with health care, and that it is possible to cause much harm with the tests, medications, or treatments we have available. Alternative or complementary medicine can help in many situations, but even that doesn’t address what I see as a serious problem with health care today. And there is a truth none of us like to think about: every one of us will die!

About 25% of Medicare health spending is spent in the year prior to a person’s death. Is that wrong? Not necessarily. The U.S. spends dramatically more than any other country on health care, but we are not living longer or better. Are we expecting things from our health care dollars that they can’t deliver? I believe so.

It could be argued that doctors know more about healthcare than anyone else. And many of them choose NOT to have the dramatic high-tech interventions that are often brought to play especially near the end of life. Doctors die too.

This conversation is not about money! It’s about expecting something from our health care system that it cannot deliver. In many ways large groups of our society have developed an entitlement mentality – expecting someone else to deal with the results of our behavior, and to take care of us without our doing anything in return. That mindset impacts healthcare when people expect their doctor to “fix” them after they have lived a lifestyle that led to their illness, expect insurance companies to pay for anything and everything, and the government to pay for it if insurance won’t.

Managing your lifestyle behaviors is hard. And so is thinking about the possible end-of-life healthcare options you want or don’t want. So here are a few things I want to suggest in light of the limitations of medical care and the reality that we all live only once:

  1. Live intentionally. That includes your health behaviors. Don’t blame someone or something else. So what if it’s hard? Change what you need to change, whatever it takes!
  2. Think through what you want about your own end-of-life care. And talk about it with your family, doctor, etc. If you need a source for a possible advanced health care directive, consider www.uslegalforms.com. It may be an uncomfortable thought and conversation, but just do it!
  3. Remember that this world is not the end, and that our life here is temporary. Make things right between you and those you love, and between you and God, while you have time.

Do you think there can be TOO MUCH health care? And if so, when is it too much? What do you want for yourself and your loved ones? I’d love to hear from you.

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Help with New Year’s Resolutions

It IS the season for resolutions. Have you made any? If you do make them, the chance that you’ll keep them is only somewhere around 20%, according to most research. And for bigger changes, the percentages may even be worse. 70% of patients who have needed heart bypass surgery revert to their previous unhealthy habits within 1-2 years. Two-thirds of dieters regain any weight lost within a year.

But there are some proven strategies that can dramatically improve your chance for success. Among a group who tried to change along with a buddy, 45% were successful after six months. That’s a whole lot better odds than doing it alone.

Catherine Rudat has shared on the Dr Carol Show that if you carry out all of these steps, you have up to a 90% chance of sticking with your resolutions to make a healthy life-style change:

  • mentally visualize the change you want to make, and living that way
  • write down – specifically – what you plan to do
  • tell someone else about the change you plan to make
  • commit in some way to being accountable to someone for doing what you said you would do.

If you would like more information on keeping your resolutions, consider contacting Catherine Rudat. Some of the things she can help you with include an individual diet and metabolic profile, a personalized exercise prescription, free email “Get Fit” newsletters, and more. And consider her12-month personal development coaching for even more. 

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