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Too sick (icky cold) and worried about daughter to write much.  My 10 year old is having these weird, extremely painful, nightly headaches… I have to take the next step with the medical profession, and it is so much work.

Go to the doctor, explain the symptoms, and insist repeatedly that they can’t brush it off and something is actually wrong.  I went through it as a teenager when I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism – doctor after doctor telling me the symptoms were from stress, and me telling them over and over again that they weren’t.  I insisted on tests and they all ate their words – but it such an uphill battle.

How do doctors sort out the cry-babies from the people with real health issues?  How to I skip the persistent nagging.  How do I get a doctor to be concerned and creative?

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This is a repost of an article I wrote for my business website.  You can read it there if you like: http://www.socialfire.ca/component/content/article/1-latest-news/36-our-backyard

This is an opinion piece about taking responsibility for our own community.

A few years ago my doctor went to Africa with family (wife + 3 kids) for 6 months to volunteer as a doctor there.  I remember asking him when he returned to his normal practice here in Kamloops “How do you adjust to coming back to work here?”

In Africa most of the cases would be life or death scenarios.  Look at childbirth – in Africa it is a very dangerous scenario for a woman, on average 1 in 16 die!  In the US that number is 1 in 2500. (stats from this article: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/3206960.stm).  Compare that to Canada where healthcare is free and so many of his patients will be there due to cold viruses or are hypochondriacs who refuse to take responsibility for their body and health.  How do you remain passionate and supportive in such a different environment?

His answer has stuck with me for many years (I asked this question 9 years ago).

To paraphrase him, he talked about the fact that there are many problems in our community, but most people seem to ignore them – become desensitized.  It is much easier to travel to another country for a limited amount of time and focus on fixing a finite problem.  There is no lingering responsibility.  Goto Guatemala and help build a school – it is discrete and satisfying.  Conversely, if sign up to tutor children at a group home in your own community, is a much longer commitment and won’t deliver the same consistent gratification as a one time project.

I support helping out the global community, so don’t construe this article as me saying we shouldn’t volunteer or fund-raise overseas.  But there are so many people with altruistic intentions and sufficient resources – how do we get everyone to channel some of that energy to fixing problems in our own backyard.  How can we ignore, or claim to be powerless to help, the bums wandering downtown or the line up at the food bank; then go visit a foreign country and build a well or bring clothes to an orphanage.

We need to do both.  We to see everything going on around us at home – in our country, in our neighborhood, even in our family – as well share our wealth with the global community.  Try to be fair with your resources.

On the flip side, I find it interesting that most business CSR initiatives are locally based.  In Kamloops for example, the last United Way Day of Caring was a group from RBC building a community garden downtown (http://blog.unitedwaytnc.ca/?p=4663), Interior Vault is big supporter of the Food Bank (http://interiorvault.com/about.html) and many businesses are stepping up to help out with volunteers for the Western Canada Summer Games (http://www.2011wcsg.com/sponsors/).  So maybe business entities are compensating for the tendency for individuals to look elsewhere.

Food for thought.

I can see my blog evolving into some kind of social commentary.  Not sure if I enough to say to keep that stream forever, but for now I like it.  It is just so interesting to see how ourselves, our communities and our countries have evolved.

I guess I would call myself a runner.  I did track pretty competitively as a teenager and I am currently training to definitely run a 1/2 marathon, and hopefully run a full marathon next year.  However, as my daughter bluntly pointed out, I spend most of my time jogging slowly – not running!

Everyone knows this: eat well and get regular exercise and you will be healthy.  Rocket science!  Any of us who have tried regular exercise, know it can be hard to get out the door, but afterwards we feel great.  And if we are in a rhythm of regular exercise and eating well – we feel great, more energy, healthier, all that stuff.

So why is it that bad habits pull people in like gravity?  Why does my brain say ‘I am tired, stop running now’ all the time, when if I keep going I will be better off in so many ways?

For me it is the great mystery of our generation.  Laziness is easy and we are so attracted to it.  Eating is so gratifying and we are programmed to love salt, sugar and fat.  How is this an evolutionary advantage?  It is more like a self-destruct mechanism…

I generally like people and can find good in everyone.  This is perhaps my darkest opinion of humankind.  I think it will be impossible to get millions of people to wake up and take responsibility for the state of their bodies.  Something in human nature is working against us in this one regard.

Can you imagine if people had to run and play everyday.  What if it was a priority on everyone’s list all the time, naturally, like sleep.  But most of us, anywhere in the world, given the opportunity, would prefer to sit down more.

What if eating past full and binging on junk food was naturally repulsive.  And lemons were more delicious then sugar.

There are a lot of problems in our world that are really complex, both how they evolved and how to possibly solve them.  But this one is a done deal – our brain is old fashioned, with instincts that completely work against us in an efficient, modern society.  To be healthy, an individual needs to put in a concerted effort for their entire life to work against those instincts. The cards are stacked against us.

What do you think?

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