So this is progress…

One of the common arguments we hear against vaccines is “they didn’t have them hundreds of years ago, and we’re still around.” The counter-argument is “and they died young, like 30s and 40s, from preventable diseases.”

But in reality, have we really progressed from people dying of preventable diseases?

How many people die of heart disease which could have been prevented with regular exercise and cleaner eating? How about from complications of diabetes? Cancer?

The government officials and news media were very careful with how they worded the number of deaths from covid, but what healthcare professionals and coroners (you know, the people actually trained and educated and experienced in disease) reported was covid was a secondary cause of death in most cases. Pneumonia caused by covid. Someone with heart failure or COPD was not physically strong enough to fight off covid.

How many of the deaths instigated or rapidly progressed by covid could have been prevented if people actually took care of themselves and had built a strong immune system? Even those who have autoimmune diseases (my hand is raised…) can still strengthen their bodies to fight off disease.

In America, we’ve gone from people dying young due to climate and hunger to the point of cannibalism to people dying from over-eating, not eating real food, and not spending enough time outside under the sun and feeling the dirt between their toes.

We are creatures of the extreme. Geez.

Those people who died in their 30s and 40s died while living. They worked, raised their kids, maybe saw their grandkids and great-grandkids (don’t forget, they married and had kids young too). Their quality of life was reportedly the same as those just starting to live, just maybe with more aches and pains and a cough that didn’t go away.

Now, our elders are being kept alive but only if they’re attached to tubes and machines. They maybe see or hear from their posterity once a week. What quality of life is that?

Age is just a number. What you do with that number is what’s important.

My grandpa died in his 80s, in 2016, from traumatic brain injury-induced dementia. What caused the TBI? He was out riding a horse, in the fall of 2009, and was thrown from the horse/kicked in the head. He was in his 70s and was out with a green broke horse. My grandpa was raised on a farm, joined the army, worked in a plant, ran a business with my dad, was a firefighter for 52 years… He kept himself in decent shape to where he was able to be out training horses in his 70s. Others aren’t able to say the same. I would 100% prefer to be in my 70s out riding horses – with a helmet – than lying in a nursing home bed with a feeding tube.

This isn’t an anti-vaccine post. This isn’t a pro-vaccine post. This is a “wake up and take care of yourself and your family” post.

People are still dying from preventable diseases, but machines are keeping them alive longer albeit with a poor quality of life.

The government tries telling people to stay indoors, shuts down public parks, for an entire warm-weather season because it’s good for their health? Roll your eyes, go outside, and maybe send them information from a 3rd grade health book explaining how our body uses Vitamin D and other vitamins and minerals.

Last year, I watched as parents took their kids to the park, took down the caution tape someone had put up in compliance with Ohio’s dictator, let their kids play, and then re-wrapped the caution tape around the playground equipment. The caution tape lasted not quite a month before one of our elected officials with common sense went to the playground and tore all the caution tape down saying that kids and adults need to be able to play and exercise outside. I about gave them a hug!

Last year should have been the year that saw gyms and other fitness facilities over-flowing with people concerned about their health. It should have been a wake-up call. So far…no.

Not every disease is preventable. Not everyone who is wheelchair bound or bedridden refused to take care of themselves. Injuries happen. Life and different types of work take a toll on you. I sit in my car with the heated seats in 100-degree weather because it’s a simple way to help with my back pain caused by a work injury several years ago. I couldn’t prevent that injury.

(I actually could have but the consequences of preventing that injury would have weighed on me worse than a screwed up back for the rest of my life…I think.)

Back to the original point of this post:

Have we really progressed beyond our ancestors? They died of causes that we know we can prevent or fix now. They didn’t have epi pens to deal with allergic reactions 200 years ago. They didn’t have hospitals with radiology departments to see they had an internal bleed or obstruction or see what kind of stroke someone was having. They didn’t have medicine to stop exsanguination (look that word up; it’s one of my new favorites) in childbirth. We have all that now.

We also know what contributes to heart disease and diabetes and COPD…but we still have people dying of heart disease and diabetes and COPD because they prefer to eat out of a box than out of a garden or butcher’s shop, because they insist on smoking cigarettes and cigars and vape pens, because doing physical therapy or following an exercise program requires too much effort compared to remaining sedentary.

People are now choosing to die of preventable diseases and conditions. People are choosing to have poor quality of life. Our ancestors didn’t really have any other options.

Have we really progressed? Just because machines can keep someone alive until they’re over 100 years old? Are you really alive if you can’t talk, have no idea what’s going on, can’t even feed yourself?

Society has been so focused on looking younger with “quick” fixes and surgeries and living longer that we’ve actually regressed in healthcare.

What happens now: You have heart problems? Here, have half a dozen pills. Maybe try to go for a walk every day and watch your salt intake…oh, and you’ll need another half a dozen pills to deal with the side effects of the heart meds.

What should happen: You have heart problems? Here, we’re going to put you on these pills to handle acute concerns. I want you meet with an exercise physiologist who I will then talk to. We’ll come up with a plan to help you – fix the cause and get you off the meds – together while still managing acute symptoms.

That stupid BMI chart should be gone. Government-endorsed diets (DASH, food pyramid/my plate, etc.) should be gone. Insurance companies should be pressured by their customers into offering preventative healthcare coverage in addition to reactive healthcare coverage.

We need to backtrack in certain aspects of healthcare and forge a different path moving forward.

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