“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”
I am in love with this quote and sadly, today’s U.S. healthcare system is not set up to support this thought process. By the time we assess a patient, provide education to them and develop a plan, we are already playing catch-up. We are too late for prevention. Often, we are at the point of preventing further damage to our patient’s bodies, and can do minimal to reverse the damage that has already been done.
There are many reasons for this approach including lack of access to care, lack of financial support, lack of a flexible and supportive job, among many others. We don’t need to get into all of that here, but as well all know, prevention is my passion. I believe what Benjamin Franklin said. We must cherish and care for our bodies. We have literally one and it has to house us for 80-100 years. That is a pretty long time and up-keep and maintenance are essential. As a homeowner or car owner, we often prioritize maintenance. These possessions are important to us. Why? Cost? Worth? Longevity? Pride? Shouldn’t we treat our bodies with even more respect than this? Aren’t our bodies worthy and deserving of that?
This is where self-care comes in, yet again. Prioritize yourself. Do what needs to be done now even if it is inconvenient. Not only physically, but also mentally.
Just this past weekend, I injured myself crawling into a tent. I know what you’re thinking…why were you in a tent at 33 weeks pregnant? Well, that is beside the point and honestly, the mental self-care that happened surrounding that camping trip was completely worth the physical strain. However, I still needed to address my physical injury. I could have continued working, in a setting that requires me to lift and re-position patients, as well as walk at a fast pace for 8-12 hours at a time. While this is normally not an issue, the fact that I couldn’t walk more than 50 feet or climb the stairs without crying in pain led me to believe that lifting patients twice my size would not be a wise choice. I could have, but what would the repercussions have been? Likely, a lot of discomfort on my already very pregnant body and a much longer recovery.
So what did I do?
I got proactive. I do not want to be in this discomfort for the next 2 months. I want to get back to my workouts and continue to live the active lifestyle I enjoy. So, I immediately talked to my job and worked out a short medical leave. Honestly, this week is probably all I will need off. It is 3 shifts. I struggled a bit, knowing that this leave would be taken unpaid, but decided that the financial inconvenience to my family for a couple of weeks was not worth further injuring myself. I also immediately made an appointment with my midwife to ensure baby’s safety, saw a physical therapist and got in to see my osteopathic physician. I still have some healing to do, but after just 2 days of rest and therapy sessions, I feel 75% better.
Why put off these preventive measures when something can be done to help our issues?
In the long run, it could save me a lifetime of discomfort. It may also prevent a more serious injury. Do I want to work? Absolutely. Do I want to exercise? Definitely. Sitting at home and taking it easy IS NOT something I am good at.
But this approach is necessary.
Look at the positives surrounding you too. I have been able to organize a few things around the house and get baby’s room ready. I am able to get some much-needed rest after a very difficult school semester. I am able to catch up on some reading and to-do list items. AND my stress level feels a million times better than it did a couple of weeks ago. Sometimes when we hurt or get injured, our bodies are telling us something.
Slow down. Give yourself some grace. Refocus and reset. Your body and mind need it.