Recently, my family suffered the deaths of two of its beloved members; my niece, Nella, who was 41 at the time of her passing and my sister-in-law, Sue, who was 54 years old. Both were relatively young. Both succumbed to maladies which may not have been fatal if treatment had been sought early on. As is too well known, we as women are nurturers and caregivers…nurturers and caregivers of others, first, oftentimes to our own detriment. How frequently do we know of caregivers who give out before the ones they are taking care of?
In honor of my niece and sister-in-law our family is planning a family health day on Saturday, April 28, 2012. The format is an educational forum. We have chosen 12 health topics to profile and talk about. Family members, in advance of family health day, will choose one of the 12 topics - research it, gather printed material to hand out and give a 3 – 5 minute presentation on that subject. The 12 topics we have chosen to highlight are: hypertension, diabetes, cholesterol, exercise, heart disease, glaucoma, contraceptives/sexually transmitted diseases, obesity, healthy eating, prostate cancer, medical tests recommended for each age group and depression. We are asking each presenter to be deliberate and thorough in his research and creative in his delivery. We will also have someone present to take blood pressure.
The caveat of this family health day is that each family member is asked to partner up with another family member to make the commitment together to be responsible for making sure his or her partner schedules and follows up to get a complete physical examination. The partner is also responsible for researching and listing the medical tests recommended for his partner based upon his partner’s medical history and age. The next responsibility is to follow through to make sure one’s partner gets all of the recommended medical tests. The results of the physical and medical tests do not necessarily have to be divulged to one’s partner, but the hope is that once armed with information we can fore go any more premature demises.
The deadline to have all of the physicals and medical tests completed is December of this year. This time frame will allow for everyone’s medical plan to cover examinations and tests based upon when they were last conducted.
The event is scheduled to be held at my mother-in-law’s house. Weather permitting; we will top off the event with a cook-out, highlighting some healthy food choices.
My partner for family health day is my husband. I can already see that he is going to be a problem. He is currently nursing a sore thumb that he has no idea why it is swollen and sore. My husband is a veteran and gets free medical care, but knowing him he is going to wait until his thumb falls off before seeking treatment. I hope his thumb heals before our family health day or I am going to look pretty stupid walking in with a partner who is missing an appendage. He makes me sick! I hope he is not contagious because I need my thumbs. How can I type without my thumbs??
Think of planning a health day for your family. We tend to be too busy to take the time to schedule and do the important things. Sometimes we need to stop and focus. We shouldn’t only stop and focus at funerals.