Parapsychology Journalism: The People, The Theory, The Science, The Skeptics
If you are an American and you haven’t been living under a rock for the last year or so, you know about the great health care debate. If you are getting employer supplied health insurance at least you have something, but if you are self employed, as my wife and I are, then it is very likely that individual insurance is out of reach for you and if it isn’t yet, it soon will be. We joined the ranks of the uninsured many years ago and as time goes on, we are getting more and more company in that department.
Not having medical insurance is not the end of the world; it is possible to survive and even thrive without it. In some ways this can even be a blessing. Here’s why:
In chess, you can’t win by only reacting once you know you have a problem, you have to anticipate and plan to make sure that the problem doesn’t occur. And that takes thinking ahead and having a system designed to keep your health at its highest level. Because if you wait it will almost certainly be too late.
In the United States, catastrophic illness or injury without insurance usually means that the house gets sold, jobs are lost and lives are utterly devastated. So if you don’t have health care, then obviously you don’t want to get sick or get injured. In other words, if you don’t have health insurance, you should be putting as much money and effort as you can into prevention. This is where the blessing comes in. You can most easily resist illness and injury by being focusing on being healthy.
I can’t speak to health problems that are not preventable, such as cystic fibrosis or other genetic diseases that require on going medical care, but I can speak to the stuff we can do something about. The thing about not having health insurance is that this preventative stuff is not optional. You have to reduce your risk because you do not have conventional medicine to fall back on if things so badly for you. Your life depends on getting this right.
The motivation here has nothing to do with being a green loving tofu eating hippy, it’s about not having a debilitating change in our health that robs us first of our income, then our possessions and finally our home and possibly our lives. To be successful at this, we need to face this basic fact: Prevention is our only real option. We cannot see ourselves as victims; we have many options for healthcare, but we have to take charge. No one is going to hand it to us.
We cannot possibly foresee and prevent all possible reasons for getting injured or sick, so we approach this with an eye to preventative triage. That is, we eliminate the highest risks first and work our way down from there.
The good news is that prevention is way smarter and cheaper than treating disease and injury, so putting all of your efforts into prevention will reap many important benefits for you.
We do this in three ways which are all related:
1. Increase our alertness to prevent injury.
2. Avoid things that are harmful to us.
3. Embrace things that boost our health.
Increasing our alertness:
Accidents are not entirely random whether we’re the cause or not. In many cases, even when we’re not at fault we’ve put ourselves in a situation where an accident can occur. Our ability to perceive these situations and consciously or unconsciously avoid them depends on a sort of inner alertness that will not be present if we are not taking good care of our bodies or our minds.
Because I’m in construction, I’ve had my share of job injuries and I’ve also been in a few minor car accidents, some of which I’ve caused and others which were not my fault. Some of these were bad judgment on my part, and others were seemingly unavoidable. But one thing has been consistent in every situation: my mind was a million miles away when the accidents happened. I was only tangentially aware of where I was and what I was doing and not completely aware of my surroundings. In other words, the accidents happened because I let them happen. If accidents were a chess move, you would need to plan a couple of moves in advance to make sure that they don’t happen. This can be as simple as being aware of traffic and changing lanes, or as involved as training yourself to always handle power tools in a certain manner so that if you use them when you’re tired, your safe habits will kick in even if you’re focus isn’t all there.
This lack of focus is the result of a combination of things: Stress in our lives, dietary issues and exercise. Now in the case of construction injuries, those all stopped as soon as I went to work for myself. I have had no injury requiring a doctor’s visit since then, over 10 years ago. I simply have a lot less stress in working for myself. So if you are in the ranks of the uninsured or uninsurable, you need to focus on your stress level because this is a major determining factor in whether you will become involved in an accident whether it is your fault or not.
Happiness comes from within and so that is where your focus needs to be. You can do a lot for your alertness and general health by simply deciding to be thankful for the things that you have and deciding to become a happier person. Positive thinking is going to have to be part of your life if you’re going to thrive without health insurance. It’s proven, it works. And this moves us onto the next topic that also helps our alertness
Avoiding things that are harmful to us
This is a subject that requires triage of sorts because there is no way we can possibly keep all the bad stuff out. Mercury, lead, PCB’s and other toxic chemicals are prevalent in our environment, (such as toxic mercury in our fillings) and are entirely unavoidable. However, a lot of stuff is avoidable and quite dangerous to our health. Specifically, we want to avoid the stuff that we know will cause cancer, heart disease or diabetes since all three of these are financially catastrophic. Fortunately, we can do a lot to avoid them. Predator fish for example are high in mercury and should be avoided.
Number one on the list is clean living: Smoking cigarettes or weed ingesting cocaine, heroin, prescription drug additions, alcohol and obviously meth and crack are all going to depress your immune system, stress your liver as well as other organs and put you at risk for any number of health problems which will land you in the hospital either from health complications or an accident due to decreased alertness. You don’t want that.
But a close second are the ingredients in a number of processed foods. Specifically many forms of fructose, (a.k.a high fructose corn syrup) which is in practically everything and is more or less the express train to diabetes. In addition, it’s best to avoid foods that are known to contain chemical pollutants such as pesticides and herbicides as well as overuse of antibiotics that are common in agribusiness. Avoid the red meat that comes from the large packing houses because of their horribly unsanitary conditions and stick to organic stuff if you can. This is more expensive and certainly inconvenient, but this is the cost you are going to pay instead of having health insurance.
By avoiding the things that cause us the most harm, we are not only reducing the possibility that catastrophic disease will come find us, but also increasing the alertness you need to prevent being in accidents. So the benefits to our overall health extend beyond simply getting sick from stuff that gets in our bodies.
Embracing things that boost our health
It’s not enough to prevent things from doing us in, we also need to do the extra. This is where you’re going to have pay money for alternative health care. Once you’re out of the insurance market you have entered the pay-as-you-go land. Stuff is cheaper by a wide margin. First on you list should be preventative chiropractic care. This can be had for as little as $60 a visit and it is an important part of staying healthy. The back needs to stay limber and straight for the body to function properly and exercise is not enough. There are a lot of health benefits that you might not have considered. In addition, the aforementioned exercise should be part of your routine. Long term studies have shown that the greater the amount of exercise, the greater the health benefit.
Part of your medical outlay must be vitamin and mineral supplements. You don’t need super doses, but you need to make sure that you are getting ordinary doses of all the regular stuff so that your immune system has everything it needs to fight off disease. (Caution: Shameless plug for my side business. I distribute Shaklee nutritional supplements. They are extremely high quality; if you want to know more, click here.)
There is also massage, which can be addictive, acupuncture and you might not have considered it, but homeopathy has been shown to be effective in clinical trials. It’s cheaper than regular medicine and probably safer. And of course there are herbal medicines as well.
Positive thinking is also tremendously important as a means of boosting our health. Studies have shown that people who are happier live longer with fewer health problem. The master of this is Louise Hay. Her books are the definitive source for this information.
As you may have gathered from reading this article, I can’t possibly tell you everything there is to know about preventative care. There is just too much to know and it takes time to educate yourself on what you need to know. I can tell you this though, we can’t wait until congress fixes things because that may not happen in our lifetime. We need to be proactive now to make sure that we have minimized the chances that our lives will be turned upside down by a huge personal catastrophe. If you don’t have and can’t get insurance like we can’t, then I hope this article has been of some benefit to you. When it comes to our health, it’s all up to us.