Time To Slow Down

The Star (St. Lucia) - - LOCAL - By Dr. An­dre Matthew

The in­di­vid­ual who is away from work on med­i­cal leave, but is seen walk­ing around the streets of Cas­tries, is in­stantly black-listed in many lo­cal com­pa­nies. Can you even imag­ine what would hap­pen if that in­di­vid­ual was “caught” re­lax­ing on the beach? For a sim­i­lar rea­son, many per­sons pre­fer to work their way through their ill­nesses.

I re­call one gen­tle­man in his early fifties; he in­sisted that he could not ac­cept med­i­cal leave be­cause his desk was cov­ered with in­com­plete as­sign­ments. He hur­ried back to work, his blood pres­sure read­ing 250/120 mil­lime­ters of mer­cury; a blood pres­sure high enough to cause a stroke, a heart at­tack, loss of vi­sion or re­nal im­pair­ment. He left my of­fice say­ing, “But Doc, I don’t feel a thing.”

Ladies and gen­tle­men, let us pause for a sec­ond. Have you all seen those tele­vised obit­u­ar­ies? Well, what you see is ex­actly what we ex­pe­ri­ence ev­ery day in med­i­cal prac­tice. Forty to sixty year olds suc­cumb­ing to diabetes, high blood pres­sure and other treat­able, con­trol­lable or pre­ventable diseases. Th­ese pre-re­tirees are lit­er­ally dy­ing in their quest to se­cure their fu­ture and that of their fam­i­lies.

Slow down folks and please take heed! Th­ese chronic non-com­mu­ni­ca­ble diseases are silent killers. Which means you may think you are fine but diabetes may be rob­bing you of your eye­sight. You may uri­nate and not feel a thing, but your prostate may al­ready have ma­lig­nant changes.

So what about those who get to sixty and be­yond? Are they far­ing any bet­ter? My peo­ple, I have to dis­ap­point you once more. The re­al­ity is that most of them end up two-D: with de­pres­sion and de­men­tia.

There are many med­i­cal ex­pla­na­tions for con­di­tions which lead to im­paired mem­ory and de­creased men­tal func­tion. Alzheimer’s, some claim, may be caused by tak­ing iron sup­ple­ments. Oth­ers blame alu­minium cook­ware, ad­vid­ing that stain­less steel is bet­ter.

I need now to make ref­er­ence to an old adage once taught at pri­mary schools. “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy,” is what our teach­ers would say. Your med­i­cal doc­tor may take that state­ment a lit­tle fur­ther by ad­vis­ing “Hard work and not enough play can make you two-D one day.” So, as hard as you work, just as hard you must play and ev­ery hour at the job must be matched with equal time hav­ing fun.

With all that said, I hope I have made my point. For the sake of our men­tal and emo­tional health some­thing just has to be done. The iso­la­tion that cur­rently ex­ists in fam­i­lies and com­mu­ni­ties can no longer per­sist. Ev­ery adult Saint Lu­cian must make time for fun, leisure, rest and re­lax­ation.

Pol­i­tics also has a role to play in all of this. Li­braries, the­atres, parks with benches and the de­vel­op­ment of more ef­fec­tive crime preven­tion tech­niques will en­cour­age folks to get out of their homes and min­gle freely on the streets. I long to see our re­tirees, greet­ing and chat­ting with glee, as they meet old friends and fam­ily.

Our gov­ern­ments must rec­og­nize that a healthy and happy adult pop­u­la­tion will be more pro­duc­tive; and more im­por­tantly, a lot less ex­pen­sive. We would also have more grand-par­ents, an­i­mated enough to share pre­cious sto­ries and strong enough to give just the kind of love, and pos­si­bly a spank­ing to an un­ruly child, that made many of us bet­ter hu­man beings.

Still my peo­ple, in sweet Saint Lucia we need not wait on the politi­cians to have fun or find a place of re­lax­ation. There are beaches every­where and fam­i­lies can al­ways or­ga­nize house par­ties. You might chose to join a gym, where you can Zumba your way to health and a fit­ter body. Pump­ing iron also has well known ben­e­fits. Look at Rick! He’s still on TV giv­ing voodoo politi­cians end­less mépwi.

Dr. An­dre R. L. Matthew MD is a lo­cal med­i­cal prac­ti­tioner

and a mem­ber of the UWP. He is vy­ing for the po­si­tion of deputy po­lit­i­cal leader at the Party’s con­ven­tion on Sun­day.

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