I’m sitting in the waiting room of a local hospital. I’m waiting for my mother to come out of a cardiac procedure to fix her atrial fibrillation. It was scary watching them wheel her away. After all, they are working on her heart. They reassure you that they’ve performed this procedure thousands of times and tick off the risks like they’re telling you the chef’s specials of the day.
But I can’t help looking around this waiting room and feeling anxious about myself and my future health.
How did all these people end up here like this? Can it be avoided or is this just the way it goes?
We are living in a time of great ease. Never before in the course of human history have we had the abundance we have here in the U.S. The sheer overwhelming availability of food, goods and resources is astounding.
A scant century ago we made our own clothes, washed them by hand and hung them to dry. We raised our food or at the very least bought them from the grocery in a recognizable form. And we walked to that grocer. We mowed our lawns with a push mower.
Now we buy our cheap clothes from the store and throw them in our washer and dryer so that we have more time to hang around or shop. We can grab dinner premade from the grocery store, no need to kill and prepare a chicken. We have our ride-on mower for the yard.
Has this life of ease bought us a future of illness?
I know that some of these conditions are simply the inevitable course of aging. I also know that much of it we have brought upon ourselves.
Through our mechanization of the world around us, we have increasingly lost touch with those aspects of life that are necessary for our health.
When was the last time you made dinner from scratch? Can you pronounce the ingredients in your breakfast today? Do you know how much you work your upper body when you carry wet laundry outside and hang it on the line? Can you walk to your nearest store?
These changes aren’t easy, if they were we wouldn’t be in the health mess we are collectively in! But something must change. I, for one, don’t want the future I see before me in this waiting room.