Monday, May 16, 2011

Sage advice

For many years, Hubby and I received our medical care from a wise and wonderful physician. Then, four years ago, he realized he wasn't getting any younger and still had dreams to accomplish. He announced his retirement. The HMO where he'd practiced for many years, Group Health Cooperative, threw a farewell party for him. All his patients were invited to bid him farewell at a modest, daytime reception in the clinic where he worked.  Easily a hundred-fifty people showed up to wish him well. Not a few tears were shed, either. He was a remarkable doctor.

William Affolter, M.D. stood before his beloved patients and delivered a speech he'd written for the occasion. Reflections, he called it. I can't remember a lot of it, but something he said was so straightforward in its simplicity, I am unable to forget it.

"Good health has three main components," he said. "Good genes, good luck, and good choices. You can't control the first two, but you can control the last . . . things like sunscreen and seat belts and diet, not smoking, health screenings, exercise . . . these pay off. "

I've shared this observation with a lot of friends over the years. A surprising number of people are taken aback by the idea that they're not entirely in charge of their own good health. But when they think about it, they see the light. Ah, yes . . . genes and luck.

 If we do what we can to make healthy choices, we've done everything we can. The roles of luck (sometimes very bad, indeed) and genes (sometimes greatly lacking) will play out in time. Only choices--one third of the equation--can be managed by us.


Team Mockster said...

No kidding! The choices do, however, play a hugely important role when the bad luck and bad genes come calling! Thanks for posting this. --Jan

Healthcare Second Opinion said...

Wonderful observation made by your physician. Too often people forget the role of all three elements.