Tag Archives: health

Do You Lie to Your Doctor?

lie to doctors

Eight years ago, I received at work, a shocking press release. In part of it said, “It’s an open secret in healthcare communities: patients lie.”

Sometimes when we lie to doctors, it's simply to keep them from reaching a wrong conclusion and subjecting us to needless pain. Click To Tweet

The reasons were many. Some lie because they don’t want to admit unhealthy behaviors to their doctors. For others, by not voicing a concern they subconsciously deny its existence. Still, others make their own determinations as to what’s important and what’s not, lying to keep from revealing what they deem to be irrelevant.

Yet I think I understood this. I’ve made casual comments to doctors and the next thing I know they would want to schedule me for a series of tests unrelated to my visit or they would prescribe a medicine for a minor issue and the drug’s side-effects were worse than my minor ailment.

Sometimes these trivialities were verbally regurgitated visit after visit, long after I’ve forgotten them. As in, “Are you still suffering from blurred vision?” I respond, “That was three years ago and I haven’t accidentally poked myself in the eye since then.”

Too often doctors only half listen. Once they hear a certain keyword, they tune out the details that surround it. They leap to diagnosis or treatment for a problem that isn’t there.

Sometimes when we lie to doctors, it’s simply to keep them from reaching a wrong conclusion and subjecting us to needless pain.

Do you like this post? Want to read more? Check out Peter’s book, Woodpecker Wars: Discovering the Spirituality of Every Day Life, available wherever books are sold.

Do You Need to Find Time to Slow Down?

Do You Need to Find Time to Slow Down

Recently I had a birthday. Don’t feel bad if you missed it—I have everything I need and most of what I want—so it’s all good!

For a birthday, it is the time spent with family and friends—be it directly or indirectly—that are the most significant and the best remembered.

I now often say 'no' to good things so that I may have time for the best things. Click To Tweet

Not to be dismissed are the cards from service providers, such as insurance agents and financial advisers. This reminds me, from ten years ago, I was amused and then taken aback by the generic message in one such card that read:

“Wishing you time to slow down and enjoy your special day.”

What does that say about the pace at which we move in today’s society? Is being too busy so common that a wish to slow down has become a universal sentiment? I hope not, but I fear it is so.

Take Time to Slow Down

That’s not to imply that at times I don’t need to slow down, because sometimes I do. Sometimes my workload overwhelms me; sometimes I get frustrated by the commitments I have thoughtlessly made; and sometimes I say, “I’m too busy”—but not too often.

It took awhile, but I’ve learned the freedom of saying “no.” I now often say “no” to good things so that I may have time for the best things. And when I consistently do that, I don’t need to take time to slow down to enjoy the day—I’m already moving at the right pace, which allows me to enjoy just about every day that comes along.

Regardless of the speed of your day, I hope the same for you.

Do you like this post? Want to read more? Check out Peter’s book, Woodpecker Wars: Discovering the Spirituality of Every Day Life, available wherever books are sold.

Breaking Needless Habits

Breaking Needless Habits

Several years ago, I realized that a ritual had crept into my morning hair-combing routine. This added activity was inconsequential, not contributing in any way to my final appearance, yet morning after morning, I persisted in this needless habit.

It took only a few seconds and eliminating it did not substantially increase my free time each day—I calculated that time I freed up through the elimination of this habit garnered me an extra 30 minutes per year. Break each needless habit. We need to identify needless habits and eliminate them from our routine. Click To Tweet

Another Needless Habit

Recently, I noticed another time-wasting habit relating to brushing my teeth. For some reason, I would wet my toothbrush, apply the toothpaste, and then wet the paste, before brushing. Why? I don’t know.  It’s not in the instructions—-in fact, the instructions don’t even say to use a toothbrush.

I eliminated the initial application of water on the brush with no discernible change in the teeth-cleaning experience. Removing the second hydration only slightly changed the initial feel of toothpaste in my mouth, but likewise did not detract from the final outcome.

However, this has been a hard habit to break.

First, I would catch myself after it was too late. Within a week, I would stop myself after turning on the water, but before inserting the toothbrush into the water. The next phase was catching myself as my hand moved towards the faucet.

Now after a month of effort, the first application of water has been successfully stopped. However, avoiding the second time still requires some effort.

It is well worth it, however, because once I have successfully broken this habit, I will gain an extra two hours of free time a year.

Now, if I could just identify a bigger needless habit, then I would really gain some free time.

Do you like this post? Want to read more? Check out Peter’s book, Woodpecker Wars: Discovering the Spirituality of Every Day Life, available wherever books are sold.

Is it Time For a Checkup?

Is it Time For a Checkup?

In my newsletter a four years ago, I recommended we periodically check our credit reports. This is a wise move in order to correct reporting errors and catch possible identity theft. Other finance related initiatives include making an annual budget, having life insurance, establishing an emergency fund, and planning for the future.So we take control of our finances, watch our health, care for our possessions, and protect our time, all by preforming regular checkups. But what about relationships? Click To Tweet

On the health front is scheduling appointments with the doctor and dentist. In addition, some people regularly check their pulse or take their blood pressure. Even stepping on the scale is a form of a medical checkup.

Aside from health issues, we regularly have the oil in our car changed and follow recommended maintenance to keep it running great. Many take similar steps with their homes.

I also do periodic checkups on my schedule to avoid over-commitment and guard against under-involvement.

So we take control of our finances, watch our health, care for our possessions, and protect our time, all by preforming regular checkups.

But what about relationships?

I too often take relationships for granted. Either they work or they don’t. But I should be intentional about them, too. I need to do a relationship checkup. Maybe you do, too. In my checkup, I ask these questions:

  • Am I investing in the relationships that are important to me? Do I seek to make our interactions significant? Do people anticipate spending time with me?
  • Conversely, am I protecting myself from toxic relationships that demand much, give little, and drag me down?
  • Am I looking to build relationships with others?
  • Do I need to remove myself from some relationships?
  • Am I in any enabling relationships?

Even more important is my relationship with family. They, too, deserve a thorough checkup.

On the spiritual front, is God, the most important relationship of all. Maybe we should do this checkup first.

Wordsmith Peter DeHaan is a magazine publisher by day and a writer by night.

Time Lag

Time lag from daylight-savings time (DST)

We’ve all heard about jet lag, that messed up, disconcerted thing that happens to our bodies after flying across time zones. It’s been said that each time zone crossed equates to one day of recovery.  For my constitution, that may be a bit generous. Though thinking back to when I frequently flew, I suspect that the more regularly one travels, the less the effect. Interestingly, flying west (“gaining” time) doesn’t faze me as much; but the return trip (“losing” time) really sets me back.

A similar disturbance happens to me each time we switch from “normal” time to daylight-savings time (DST) and visa versa. I call this phenomenon “time lag.”'Time Lag'—happens to me each time we switch from 'normal' time to daylight-savings time (DST) and visa versa. Click To Tweet

Just as in flying west, the fall DST switch causes a relatively minor disruption to my sleep equilibrium. However, the “spring forward” time change throws me off for several days, just as does a flight east that crosses several time zones.

When we lived in Wisconsin (which is on the eastern part of the Central time zone), DST made sense—it was an appropriate shift of the clock to better match the rising and setting of the sun.

However, Michigan is on the far western part of the Eastern Time Zone, and it’s never made sense. For the majority of the year, my reasonable 6 am rising is in the dark. On the summer solstice, dusk doesn’t occur until after 10:30 pm. And a scant two weeks later, we have to wait well after 11 pm just to watch fireworks. What nonsense!

I’d just as soon forget the whole daylight-savings time thing and lose the time lag along with it.

Do you like this post? Want to read more? Check out Peter’s book, Woodpecker Wars: Discovering the Spirituality of Every Day Life, available wherever books are sold.

Age Is Not a Number but an Attitude

Age Is Not a Number but an Attitude

Many of my friends are younger than me, often by quite a bit. In fact, I’d rather spend time with people half my age, than my own demographic. I don’t know what they think about hanging out with me, but I think it’s great to be around them.

Too many people my age have settled; they’ve accepted the status quo and are coasting towards nothingness, but they don’t even know it. How sad.

Many younger people, however, have a zest for living. Life is an adventure. They are learning, dreaming, growing—they are alive. And so am I, especially when I’m around them. Yes, experience may have tempered my zest, but I’m still learning, dreaming, and growing. That’s life; the alternative is death. And I’m too young to think about that.Age isn’t a number; it’s an attitude. Click To Tweet

Once I was on a committee with people mostly my age and older. (For the record, they haven’t settled.) We discuss who to invite to join us. Our leader makes an astute observation: “There are no Millennials on our committee.”

I’m offended. Wait, I am a Millennial! Then I correct my silent words before embarrassing myself aloud. No, you’re not; you just think you are.

Ah, the joy of delusion.

Yes, I identify more with Gen-X and especially Millennials than I do the Baby Boomer I should be. I skew more towards the postmodern worldview of youth than I embrace the modern perspective people my age are supposed to hold.

Maybe I was born too soon. Or maybe I just have a young heart.

Either way, it doesn’t matter, because age isn’t a number; it’s an attitude.

Do you like this post? Want to read more? Check out Peter’s book, Woodpecker Wars: Discovering the Spirituality of Every Day Life, available wherever books are sold.

Are You Pro-Life?

Ask someone who is “pro-life” what that means and he or she will most likely say they are against abortion. True, but what else? If pressed, they may also mention opposition to euthanasia.

Are You Pro-Life?

That seems a lot like someone claiming to be a “music lover,” but who only listens to classical music—how limited and shortsighted. Can anyone truly be a music lover if they only experience a small segment of all things musical?

To truly be pro-life seemingly means to affirm all life and seek to improve the condition of all people.

As such, that means pro-life is not just about protecting the unborn and terminally ill, but also about addressing homelessness, unemployment, AIDS, poverty, prejudice, healthcare, social injustice, immigration, repression, war, slavery, genocide, and anything else that relates to life and living. To truly be pro-life seemingly means to affirm all life and seek to improve the condition of all people. Click To Tweet

Historically, the Republican Party has been preferred by the traditional pro-life crowd. However, given the preceding holistic, expanded definition of pro-life, it is the Democrats who are more fully addressing the majority of these life issues. For people who like convenient labels, this really confuses the issue.

So, the question remains, are you pro-life? I am.

Do you like this post? Want to read more? Check out Peter’s book, Woodpecker Wars: Discovering the Spirituality of Every Day Life, available wherever books are sold.

Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?

What Time It Is?

I used to be fixated with knowing what time it was. You might say I was slave to the clock. I was compulsive about checking my wristwatch and the more concerned I became about time, the more often I looked. I think it was the dark side of time-management.

As I planned my daily activities, it was under the optimistic assumption that each task would proceed ideally and without problems. I was constantly checking the time to see if I was on-track or falling behind. But since real-world realities would eventually overtake my unrealistic time projections, I often ended up feeling pressed and stressed. Why subject myself to this constant stress of worrying about the time? Click To Tweet

As a result of the time so frequently, I could generally tell someone what time it was—plus or minus a few minutes—without looking.

One day I had enough and I quit—cold turkey. I took off my watch for good. I made this decision after being on a delayed flight. I was concerned about making my connection and nervously peered at my watch every few seconds. How absurd! No matter how often I checked, I could not affect the outcome. I would either make the connection or miss it. So why subject myself to this constant stress of worrying about the time?

Yes, I still want to arrive places on time and don’t like to make others wait for me, but beyond that time isn’t nearly the stress factor in my life that it used to be.

The question, “Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?” was posed by the rock group Chicago in 1969. In the song’s chorus they follow-up their first question with a second, “Does anybody really care?”

That pretty much sums it up for me.

Do you like this post? Want to read more? Check out Peter’s book, Woodpecker Wars: Discovering the Spirituality of Every Day Life, available wherever books are sold.