Scary Health

Does it help to worry about your health?

I’m a worrier. Wish I weren’t. Stiff back might be a slipped disc. Headache a brain tumor, bump certainly cancer. The question becomes are these things worth the worry?

At too young an age, I lost several good friends. With each, I rushed to my internist to check out my condition. He often told me concern about oneself is common after such experiences. His musing on the subject didn’t help for long.

Many people are sanguine about how they feel. Perpetually optimistic. Bad stuff is not something that is particularly of concern.

When you’re in your 20s and not bothered by some chronic problem, who thinks about their health? In your 30s, beyond an occasional physical exam, awareness of aging is not usually in the picture. But as the 40s and beyond dawn, the paradigm shifts. For whatever reason, becoming aware of the mortal nature of the human condition creeps in, at least that’s what happened to me.

This is not meant to be a woe is me piece. But a brief look at why I worry while many friend have nary a concern.

Dad was sick one day in his life. Just after having 13 teeth pulled by one yank crazy dentist. Mom’s nickname was Sunshine. She was the last one on earth who’d be concerned about how she felt. Not that she’d ever tell me. So with such good chops, why would I think my health is something to worry about?

It might go like this. I worry a lot about elephants trampling my house. And I find the more I worry, the more it helps. I’m almost to the point that I’m convinced it will never happen.

Maybe it’s because Dad told me I wasn’t patient enough or was relieved that as teenager I didn’t end up in jail. Who really knows and why should that have anything to do with it anyway? Maybe taking time to try to figure it all out is worth it? Well, probably not.

I’m no shrink. Never even got much beyond Psych 101. And I wouldn’t begin to compete with the thousands of books, articles and what-have-you that purport to explain how to squelch the negatives of life and enjoy the positives. But I can give you the one line which occurred to after a series of health scares:

Every Day is a Bonus.

While not a particularly profound thought, it’s what I got. But I’m here to safely say that despite all my worry about staying healthy it didn’t change a thing when it came to being healthy.

You might say I didn’t take the right precautions. But I did. Mostly ate healthy, exercised religiously, didn’t do an onerous amount of drugs. Went to my doctor yearly or when whenever a stray bump or rash emerged. Along with my go-to, always worked, worry wort feelings I might, this time, have some creeping sickness.

Well, I guess nothing is promised so I may as well stop worrying. Yep, I’ll get right on that!

I know, I should leave you with a moral to this piece. But while I would like to offer earth shattering insight, no particular revelation comes to mind. I seem to enjoy my friends a little more, I don’t stress too much about my golf game and I do try hard not to be overly concerned about every little pain that comes my way is the end of the road.

Will it help? I’ll let you know. Might be that nothing is as effective as making sure I worry with far greater intensity.

Now Reading
Scary Health