Preventative Care….for your loved ones

Yesterday, I attended the funeral of one of my weight-lifting friends, who had suddenly died of heart failure while sitting at the breakfast table.  This gentleman, only a year older than I, was a PhD Physical Therapist, and the go-to person on our team for any strains or injuries we thought we had incurred during a training session.  He was also a loving husband and father who cared for his wife and their children during both of his wife’s bouts with cancer.

But like the cobbler’s children who have no shoes, my friend never bothered to get checked out himself – in fact, it had been more than six years since he visited the doctor.  My friend had put on some weight over the years, and he enjoyed an occasional cocktail – did he stay away from the doctor because he didn’t want to be scolded for these lifestyle choices?  Was he afraid to get a definitive answer about something he suspected?  Or, as a partner in a busy practice with multiple family obligations, was it just something that continually moved to the bottom of a long to-do list?  Unfortunately, we will never know.

What we do know is that the choice to stay away from the doctor not only affected my friend, but also his family, his business partners, his patients and all of us who care about him. 

As part of the Affordable Care Act, both Medicare and private health insurers are required to provide many preventative services, including an annual physical and screening mammograms and colonoscopies, at no cost to the patient.  The purpose of this law is to give you the opportunity to learn whether you have a potentially dangerous health condition when it can still be effectively treated.  It can also prevent a much deeper pain for those who can’t imagine going forward without you.

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