Health Stock?


“We don’t care how you feel, silly, you look great!”

I don’t know what I said to that, but whatever it was Diba laughed and stepped into the kitchen. She cannot be called a step-grandmother, or anything involving “grandmother”, but she is Diba and she is my grandad’s second wife. She is from Guiana and I have always been jealous of her sense of style.

I did in fact know that I looked all right, but the discomfort from the four new holes in the back of my mouth made how I felt an important matter as well.

I settled back into the couch and the conversation with my grandad, mother, and uncle trundled back to something-or-other. Diba coming and going always resets things. We touched on how the school system is failing children with special needs, and how a certain aunt of mine (on the other side of the family) seems inclined to keep up her designer purse and jewelry expenditures, and perhaps a vacation for the family to Europe next summer, while bemoaning my cousin’s $9000 in tuition and refusing to send him to residence.

Unless she has been throwing out old acquisitions at a faster rate than I anticipate, her collection of purses must be monumental.

All this time my grandad is not really talking, and this is the concern. Zero participation.  He’s not that old, and maybe he was always forgetful, but the doctors he has seen say there is nothing wrong except his letting himself go.

Go, off somewhere where he responds “Well, I don’t make plans for the day, you know”, and where I hope he is enjoying leisure and books. But this isn’t really the case and it is hard to make a decline sound idyllic.

In my newly-begun healthcare economics course the professor said that the “health stock” of a person is modeled with a peak at 25, then perhaps a plateau, and a decline thereafter. I may feel horrible in the wake of forcibly losing four wisdom teeth, and the unfortunate complications thereafter, but my “warranty is still in effect”, as he put it. He is a funny lecturer, and I will be a bit regretful to drop the course.

Limited warranties on bits of tendon and muscle and bone, a healthcare system (Canada) that spends too much on too little, and an ageing population. No one close to me has ever died. A great aunt, who I met only once, made little impression though I did feel bad. The worst was when my boyfriend’s dog had to be put down (purebred golden retriever) and I couldn’t stop crying.

But people I know will die, and our hospitals and drug plans aren’t all they should be, and soon I won’t easily be able to bounce back from a week like the one I had.

What do you think, in this time when we are learning so much about the human body? Are there things you wish your society was doing to make the decline in one’s health stock a little less jarring?

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12 comments

  1. Hi Lily,
    Haven’t visited you for a while so I thought to stop and say hello and see how you’re doing.
    As for what you wrote above…, we can never do enough to provide the benefits of a healthy, meaningful life for all of our living generations, and those who will follow us. Yours was a very appropriate question. I will respond with one of my own though…, why does this healthcare have to be so terribly expensive that it is unaffordable to so many?
    Good to visit you again.
    Paul

    1. I suppose it is so expensive because of the R&D and production costs of equipment and medication, besides having to pay doctors enough that they are willing to go through the horrors of medical school and immense debt. I think that is where pooling our resources, and using them efficiently, comes in. It’s just the old insurance principle. I think that the problem (in Canada at least) is that we aren’t using the collective resources efficiently and this is hardest on those who have low incomes.

      Lily

      1. Lily, I think that pooling of resources is a problem everywhere, not just Canada. Too many medical supply and drug companies want to be exclusive and proprietary rather than share research to bring health products to people both at a faster and less expensive rate. It all goes back to greed. (with that I’ll get off my soapbox and bid you a good night)
        Paul

        1. Oh I thought you meant about why healthcare is expensive in general. In Canada, we simply get horrible value for money and keep throwing money at the problem to fix it. Without effect… Haha goodnight!

          Lily

  2. Lily,
    First off let me thank you for stopping over at my blog. 🙂
    With regards to healthcare, I am not sure what the answer is. I know for myself, I do have benefits, but with those and an ongoing health issues the co-pays can add up, altering ones budget and lifestyle drastically. I believe we are called the “working poor.” That aside, I think it is imperative that we teach children how to take care of their bodies with proper nutrition and exercise. The latter seems to be lacking greatly with the advancement of technologies and cutting recess and gym from school programs. Children are tuned in to their gadgets and devices, and tuned out from face to face socialization and activity.
    Learning proper nutrition at a young age will serve an individual well as they age, and perhaps make the aging process less difficult.

    1. That’s a really good point about personal health. I try to stay active, but I guess I do better at eating well than that. Because I am often tuned into my gadgets (ie. WordPress) in my free time. Games of squash sometimes help!

      But if I ever have children I hope to instill those kinds of values in them. Thanks for visiting, and your thoughtful comment!

      Lily

  3. Great post and a very important subject. I remember once working with a woman who had been a senior manager in our (Australia)’s health care administration and she noted a couple of interesting things. First, the aging population and second, the scarcity of students being willing to study for some medical/health professions (primarily aged care etc) had combined to see the rise of preventive and personal health management education. So a balance of growing need (the aged) with a scarcity of willing support, meant the government focussed more responsibility on the individual.

    This is all very well in theory and a reasonable response to a wicked problem, but preventive health management costs alot and the topic area is so contested, that – in answering your question – I’d like to see more of a collective/collaborative community health approach being fostered and supported by governments. Something that ensures good qualty, basic information and affordable options for self-determination and responsibility in health care.

    I agree with comment above about teaching good nutrition as a basic foundation – really practically everything comes from that. I’m no expert in this field, though, so I suspect my dream in this regard is unrealistic. 🙂

    1. Thanks for your reply, I love hearing about healthcare in countries like Autralia, New Zealand, and the Nordic European countries since you guys are so much more progressive than we are in Canada.

      I wonder if we have the same problem with few students training for medical professions – I know I’d never want to be a doctor. When you talk about preventative health management does it involve eating well and being active, or something so far as genetic screening so you know if you are prone to heart disease or something?

      More information these days would be really helpful. Our medical system treats our bodies like they are less complex than they are, but I’m no bio student and on the other hand I don’t know which natural/alternative treatments might work

      1. Preventive health is mainly the nutrition, being active, healthy lifestye stuff, but it does also involve the medical screening you mention etc. Her main point was that out of necessity the whole educational and policy program had shifted to be more pro-active rather than reactive based.

        I understand from other people that the medical world is also looking at ways to have microchip technology alert medical providers when someone in a risk category is having an attack or some other related physical distress. So some of it is a bit sci fi too. Most of that is just in its early stages now and involves a marriage of modern communications technology and healthcare that some might worry becomes too invasive and ‘Big Brother’-like. On balance I think its a worthwhle area to explore, but obviously with care for privacy and self-determination.

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