Sunday, April 7, 2013

Chief Life Officer

"Chief Life Officer" is a phrase from a company that I can't remember (failure of the advertising effort) who sponsors NPR a lot lately. I like that idea so I'm going to make it my own. I am now my own CLO. Not that I have been otherwise in the past, but I have renewed my intention to be responsible and accountable for my life.

As I wrote before I have been pondering that article about myths of retirement, thinking about what kind of actions I need to take to help insure that my life generally moves in directions that I prefer. the first idea that I have thought a lot about is the "myth" that "you will keep your health."

Well, of course, someday I will die  and perhaps I will experience illness, maybe even severe illness, before I get there. But I have decided that the only plan that makes sense is to assume that I will remain healthy and then deal with whatever happens when it happens.

The alternative simply makes no sense. I should plan and assume that I will be unhealthy? can I possibly do that? What will make me unhealthy? Cancer? Heart disease? MS? Parkinson's? Dementia? Arthritis? Two or three together? None of the above? Other? And when will I become unhealthy? Tomorrow? Ten years from now? Thirty years from now? How will the world be in five/ ten/ thirty years? What will our technology be? What will our environment be like? What services will be available? What will care cost? How much money will I have? I can't plan not to be healthy. And wouldn't it be a big waste of time if I did?

So I am planning that my good health will continue. What I can do is to develop life habits that most likely will not harm my health and may, perhaps, even enhance it. I can also do my best to avoid things that are likely to be harmful to my health. I'm doing pretty good here right now.... I have never smoked or used harmful drugs. I only drink small amounts of wine. I am a conservative driver and I wear seat belts. My homes do not have big, obvious safety hazards.

AND here's the best new news right now..... I'm no longer taking any prescription drugs. This is not because I am not taking them; it's because I don't need them. I am becoming more and more suspicious about all these kinds of drugs we have available and about how easily people just write prescriptions and call it good. So many of these drugs have darn serious side effects that I think we ignore at our peril, and I am getting more and more dubious about the need for many of them in the first place. There are tons and tons of interactions, and we recognize more & more how dangerous so many kinds of drugs are for the elderly (& probably children too).

I stopped taking anything for "osteopenia" several years ago, and I also decided there is no point at all in measuring my blood cholesterol because I will never in a million years take cholesterol lowering drugs. My general philosophy of health care management has been for years that if you are not going to do anything about it no matter what, there is no point in doing any measurements about something. If the results of doing a measurement will be that nothing will change, then why waste the time and money on measurement?

I DO measure my blood pressure at home using correct technique nearly ever day at different times of the day and after doing different activities. It's been totally normal for a month or more now without the use of any medication. I don't know what I did to get this way other than to decide I did not want to take any prescription drugs anymore, but whatever it was, it worked. Now that I feel pretty assured that I'm OK, AND new research shows that it's probably not necessary to treat mild hypertension (the kind I used to have) anyway, I'll stop checking so often. I'm not worried about having a stroke at all which probably helps keep my bp normal.

I had to do a little more deliberate work to get off all drugs for GERD, but I have succeeded there too. because that's mostly and unpleasant symptom, it doesn't worry me at all that I'm not needed any meds for it. In fact, I was getting very worried about all the possible side effects of the drugs and really wanted to get off of them quickly.

So, one step in the right direction. I'm saving a bit of money. I feel good and have no indicators of poor health. I am healthy and I intend to stay that way.  Score one for the CLO. I plan to keep my good health.

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