Thundercloud and Eightball RANT - Cloudeight Internet LLC

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Our Little Rant by Eightball & Thundercloud
First published in InfoAve Premium Issue #145 July 28, 2006

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Summer's Half Gone

The summer breeze is gentle and sweet; the nights are starry and warm - and I am lucky, I think, to be able to enjoy this lovely summer. Taking long walks on sunny, warm summer days and picturesque, soft summer nights is one of my favorite things to do. I take the time for my walks everyday.

This summer, more than any summer before, I realize that I'm a very lucky guy. There was time when I didn't think I'd be able to enjoy this summer much - or even be able to stick around for it. Because, late last winter, I became very ill for quite a long while. And I thank God for that.

It may seem odd to thank God for being sick, but I do. I have always been fortunate to have had health good enough so that I never had occasion to think much about it. When I became ill last winter, I expected it to pass as swiftly as all the other minor illnesses that have come and gone in my life. This time though, it didn't pass; I didn't get well; I just got sicker and sicker. I'll get to why I'm thankful later.

I've never had much need (or use) for doctors. I guess because I've not had much contact with them and the ones that I have had contact with have not impressed me with their compassion -I haven't really much cared for doctors. There always seemed to be dollar signs in their eyes. I am probably wrong about most doctors but still it seems to me that money (and social status) is a prime motivator for many men and women who go on to become doctors. Well, maybe Wednesday golf too.

To make a long story short, my health had always been so good (or so I thought) that I didn't even have a family doctor. Well, I did, at one time, but the man was compassion-challenged. I guess that's the politically correct name for people who have no compassion. What's a guy doing in the medical field if he has no compassion? I don't know, you'll have to ask him.

So, as my illnesses grew worse and worse, I began to realize that I was probably going die if I didn't see a doctor. Up until that point, I thought I'd rather die than see a doctor, but when it came right down to that choice, I chose the doctor. The thought of getting a new doctor and of seeing him or her regularly was not a pleasant one as it evoked thoughts of reality - reality stuff like getting older, getting sick and maybe even becoming chronically ill. So? I think weirdly. I'll grant you that.

As I called around to find a doctor, I was shocked to find out the first question they all asked was not: "What seems to be your problem?" but "Who is your insurance carrier?". This, of course, gave credence to my belief that doctors care about money more than people; and even as sick as I was, I still said to myself: "See, I told you so!".

Finally, after making about ten phone calls, my ears were greeted with a message of a different kind. The doctor's receptionist's first question to me was not "Who is your insurance carrier?" but "Can you describe your symptoms to us?" I described my symptoms (I'll spare you the details of that) and within two hours I was sitting in the doctor's examining room, humble, fat and almost naked. And, I assure you, that you are lucky you won't ever have to see something like that in your lifetime.

The doctor turned out to me a nice guy. I was impressed. He was young and seemed compassionate. He spent a great deal of time talking to me rather than poking around my porky exterior.

As it turned out I had several things wrong beside being overweight. I was shocked when I saw my weight. I never had a scale around the house; I just kept buying larger clothes. I was even more shocked when he told me what my blood pressure was - I had immediate thoughts of how close I must have come to a cerebral hemorrhage - I might have even succumbed to one during the writing of one of these rants. Scary thought.

So why do I thank God that I got sick? Because sometimes we are given signs that it's time to change our lives and we ignore them and go on. But this time, I am not going to ignore it. It changed my life. My doctor didn't tell me to lose weight, he suggested it. My doctor didn't tell me to exercise he suggested it. My doctor didn't tell me to do anything but take the medicine he prescribed for me. But he suggested a lot of things gently and with compassion. Sometimes you hear a whisper a lot more clearly than a shout.

Since that day in March: I've lost 45 pounds, I walk at least 90 minutes everyday; I watch what I eat, and I try not to forget just how important good health is. I've studied a lot of material about what's in the foods I eat and to this day I try to avoid high fructose corn syrup, aspartame, sucralose, and other artificial sweeteners. I've written about some things I've learned and many of you have read them - Killer On The Cob and Sweet Sorrow for instance. I've even thought about passing my learning experiences on to others in an E-book. I think I'd call it "Thundercloud's Guide To Sensible Eating" or better yet "Losing Weight Is Easy - I've Done It A Hundred Times". But, I don't think I'm qualified to be passing on diet advice; after all I don't have enough initials after my name.

I feel better than I have in a long, long time. But, summer is half gone and this summer has been like a gift from God for me. My illness changed my life in so many ways - and all for the better. So, I'm very thankful for each day.

Soon the leaves will turn and the skies will be nitrogen blue again - and it will be autumn. Christmas is less than five months away, and I know it will seem only like a few weeks until my son and I take our annual trip to hunt for the perfect Christmas tree.

Sometimes old clichés are true: You never know what you have until it's gone. It definitely is true of your health. If you have your health take care of it; if you don't, do what you need to do to get it back. If that means turning your life upside down - do it. If it means losing weight, do it. If it means getting up off the couch and walking or riding a bike an hour each day, do it. You won't regret it. You might regret it very much if you don't.

Summer is half gone and I'm going to enjoy every minute of it: the hot scorching days, silky warm, summer nights; the smell of honeysuckle, the sounds of the insects; the thunder, the lightning, the rain, the wind; the storms - I'm going to drink it all in - because I know I'll never get full. There's not enough time; autumn waits just a whisper away. More than ever before I am thankful for each day that comes - summer, autumn, winter or spring.

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