Thankful for Health
November 02, 2017
Submitted by McLean County Orthopedics
According to The freedictionary.com, taking something for granted is, “to expect something to be available all of the time and forget that you are lucky to have it.” Everyone can most certainly create a list of things that are taken for granted, and at the top of the list for many would be good health.
It is human nature that we tend to navigate life without pausing to reflect on things that come naturally. The ability to breathe without tightness in our chest. The ability to get out of bed in the morning without having to use a walker. Being able to easily bend over to put on shoes and socks. Even just the strength to take a walk around the block or climb a set of stairs. It’s not just physical health that we take for granted, but mental and spiritual health as well: the laughter of loved ones, the companionship of a spouse, a positive outlook on the future, memories of fond times. The list is endless.
What happens when our good health is suddenly gone, perhaps by an injury or accident, and our ability to function normally is compromised? People who have recovered from or overcome a major illness or injury are often the most thankful for their health. Countless interviews and books have been written about how a health challenge has changed their priorities and caused them to have new perspectives on life. In these situations, we are especially thankful for skilled physicians that can “fix us up.” Cindy, a patient at McLean County Orthopedics says, “Many of the MCO Staff have been my heroes/heroines since 2000. Thank you for trying to hold me together rod by rod and pin by pin!”
Oftentimes, good health is something that is gradually lost. For example, pain often sneaks up on people over time. It’s common for people to experience back, hip, knee, or shoulder pain and think that it will go away. When it persists, gets worse, and various treatments don’t seem to help, people often think that their only choice is to just learn to live with it and accept it as part of getting older. They may put off seeing a physician because they are afraid of surgery.
There are many non-surgical solutions that can help manage pain, and the physicians and staff at McLean County Orthopedics are happy to explore options to find what works best for each patient. Sometimes, however, surgery is ultimately the answer. Michael was a very active 58-year-old who loved to run and play sports. He began experiencing joint pain in his hip, but ignored it initially. Before long, he couldn't sleep at night, medication wasn't helping to alleviate the pain, he wasn't able to run anymore, and even his marriage was strained as he became irritable because he wasn't able to do many of the things he enjoyed. This went on for several years before he finally decided that he couldn't put off seeing a physician any longer. After a thorough evaluation, his orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Joseph Novotny, recommended a hip replacement. Michael was understandably apprehensive about the idea of surgery, but he trusted his surgeon and had the procedure done right after Thanksgiving last year. Like many patients, it was only after the surgery that he really appreciated what it meant to have mobility and live without pain. According to Dr. Novotny, "enabling people to reclaim their lives by relieving their pain is one of the most gratifying aspects of an orthopedic surgeon’s job.” Michael now looks back and says, “I should have done this sooner. Why did I wait so long?”
The Thanksgiving season brings many opportunities for self-reflection of what we are thankful for. Social media newsfeeds will be filled with countdown widgets and ideas for counting our blessings up to the one day a year on which Americans practice being most thankful — Thanksgiving. Let’s not wait until Thanksgiving to express thanks — give thanks every morning for each new day. Don’t wait to be sick or injured to value and appreciate your health. If you need to make lifestyle changes to achieve better health, then start now. If you need to see a physician for pain or a health condition, do it now!
For more information on any orthopedic condition, call 309-663-6461 to schedule an appointment with the board-certified physicians at McLean County Orthopedics or visit their website at www.mcleancountyorthopedics.com. Their new office is at 1111 Trinity Lane in Bloomington.
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