Just as the seasons change quickly in the Spring, from snow to sunshine to rain, our health can turn without notice.
My 75-year-old father fell recently. He tripped in the dark, hitting the tile floor hard in the middle of the night. The EMTs, along with my mother, took him to the ER in an ambulance. He bruised his entire left side of his body, sliced his head open and suffered a concussion. That injury is hard for a person of any age to endure, but for a man in his 70s, the aches and pains feel greater, the recovery feels slower.
But the beauty of the fall is that he is strong enough to endure it. There was a time in his life that he was not.
As a high-profile, Wisconsin state criminal prosecutor and father of four, he had a lot of pressure in life and often made his own health the least of his priorities. He stopped exercising when he got out of the military decades earlier. He ate higher fat foods, skipped meals and suffered high stress and high cholesterol. All of that lead to the tipping point.
He had a massive heart attack while driving to a wedding nearly 20 years ago that could have ended his life. Fortunately, he received immediate, medical care and the team of doctors saved his life. He would have never met his future grandchildren, or seen his own children get married and live their dreams. After the heart attack, his life was back in his hands. And this time, he chose more wisely.
After he received a second chance, he rebuilt. He completed cardiac rehab, joined a health club with my mother and has faithfully exercised three times per week ever since. He eats lean meats, fruit, veggies and a daily nutrient dense shake. He is strong and lean. He is active. He has hobbies. He still chooses to consult part-time in the legal field. He is mentally sharp and has embraced retirement with energy instead of slumping into a sedentary routine like many others his age.
For all of these reasons, I am proud of my father for taking control of his health and surviving a fall with great resilience. His good health saved him. The road to recovery is still long, but he is able to walk it.
Likewise, Alpena resident Judy Gaskell, age 75, used her history of good health and regular exercise to fight back from a puzzling medical condition and illness. She spent a long time at the University of Michigan hospital and just returned to Bay Athletic Club last week. It was her goal to make it back to her routine of three workouts per week with her supportive and fit husband Jim. Her smile lit up the club and she looked better than ever.
There is no greater medical care than having good health to start with. A fall, an accident or an illness can strike at anytime. The question is, are you strong enough to fight it? If not, take a step forward today. Ask for help. Ask for support. You control your daily choices and your daily choices control your life.