Take Care Of Yourself, Or Else!
I recall some years back one of those emphatic, hand gesticulating BBC reporters starting his piece by adopting a lofty tone and saying "The . . refuse men . . have a saying . . . "sooner or later . . . everything comes to us"".
I laugh whenever I remember that. Wise sages standing on high ground, surveying all that lies before them. They wait patiently and confidently, knowing that one day they will cash in on all our spoils and follies. In the main it's true of course, most things nowadays do end up on the rubbish dump – and nowadays, in record time too! A good promotion in the refuse trade would probably mean a transfer to a more affluent area as naturally the wealthier the residents, the richer the pickings!
But our BBC reporter could also have said "Doctors have a saying . . . "
It's a plain fact that sooner or later most people will have to enter the doors of a hospital. And just like the bin men these other guys are also rubbing their hands in glee – together with big Pharma – anticipating the rich pickings they intend to extract from us – but in their case often by using our own fears and pain as their allies.
I was reminded of the BBC reporter's words just recently. I have been living in the north of Thailand on and off over the last year or so and also travel frequently, preferring to change location regularly rather than grow stale in one place but anyway, the long and short of it is that as a result of a business deal I recently acquired quite a nice property on an estate in east Pattaya which then gave me the idea that it might be nice to 'settle down' there for a while.
It was only after several weeks had passed after moving in that I got to meet my neighbour, as he appeared to be spending most of his time in his house. When I eventually did get to meet him, turns out he is 80 years old, lives alone, is as white as a sheet – and looks like a bag of bones. He was about to drive to Bangkok that day to the hospital for an overnight appointment. Chemotherapy. He had been diagnosed with cancer, I think he said about a year ago, and has since been receiving treatment at a Bangkok hospital every 3 weeks. At 280,000 baht per session.
Of course we all know that chemotherapy must be expensive. I am not a doctor, correct me if I am wrong, but as far as I know it is poison to the body, the idea being that the drug randomly kills tumor cells – with the unfortunate side effect that it also kills healthy cells, therefore the patient at the same time. It's just a question of who can hold out the longest.
During our brief conversation it became apparent that this gentleman was quite unsure about what was going on with his treatment. Remember, he is 80. He did not understand what he was being given (though he did later show me a fully itemised bill). Questions he had recently raised about his treatment were not being properly addressed – as it was only ever the nursing staff on duty who were available to advise him. Apparently the doctor was rarely around – in spite of the fact my neighbour had to stay in the hospital overnight to receive treatment and was there on each visit for at least 24 hours!
The brief conversation got me thinking. I steer clear of taking any medication unless absolutely necessary. There are many natural ways to cleanse the body of toxins and strengthen the immune system and I make this a part of my daily routine. Many drugs can create side effects almost as bad as the illness itself and I have also personally experienced, especially in the new breed of 'super-hospitals' (there for a check up only!) how doctors will, if you let them, try to create a feeling of dependence in the patient.
Personally, as I am fortunate to have always been fit and healthy I have always just shrugged this off – though I can understand how easy it would be to put oneself under a doctor's care and control when vulnerable through experiencing sickness, fear and pain.
Anyhow, I did what any of you would do. I told my neighbour that I would be happy to regularly call in to see him and offered to pick things up from the shops, etc. I enquired if the hospital had given him any advice on nutrition and how to take care of himself during his treatment. His answer astounded me. Nothing. No counselling. Questions were never raised about any support he had at home and how he would take care of himself during his ordeal. He simply drove to Bangkok by himself, suffered injections of some of the most dangerous drugs known to man, stayed overnight then was dismissed to drive back home – alone. 80 years old. Come back in three weeks . . . and Hey Mister! Bring 280,000 baht with you!
The above happened just about the same time as I was reading a very interesting sub on this site from an Australian guy who, while holidaying in Thailand, decided to get a medical. The test came back indicating that he had cancer and he was advised to take further tests (at additional cost, of course) without delay. The writer stated that the whole matter was handled in an unprofessional and off-handed manner and the reader would have been left with the distinct impression that the hospital's agenda was two-fold – to scare the living daylights out of the patient and, of course, to set him up to enable them to extract large sums of money from him. This rather unkind attitude towards the hospital, doctors and staff would certainly be re-enforced by the fact that once the writer returned to his native country he sought a second opinion at an Australian hospital . . . and was given the all clear!
My neighbour has health insurance to cover 70% of his hospital bills, the rest comes from his own pocket. He drives a very expensive, almost new, upmarket car. He is not short of money. He is polite, courteous, trusting and generous. Unlike the Australian man, he did not seek a second opinion (BIG mistake, we are all agreed!) but trusted his doctor's diagnosis. Who knows . . . .?
Here is the good news. I have been helping my neighbour and he is already looking a lot better. We (g/f and I) have cooked him several healthy meals but also I have been teaching him some basic health tips on nutrition, inner cleansing and breathing techniques plus a few easy exercise routines that anyone can and should incorporate into their day. The sad fact is that this man had never learned any of this and his diet was not helping him one bit! But isn't it wonderful . . . even at 80 years old and after chemotherapy he is living proof that the body WILL respond if treated properly. He now reports being less tired and having a lot more energy. He certainly goes out a lot more than before!
But I also want to send out the same message to the Stickman community. Many people here do not take care of themselves. Many are on prescribed drugs, a lot of which can cause debilitating side effects. A few beers at night followed by a bacon, egg and cheap white toasted bread for breakfast is not the way to go. A lot of Thai food is overladen with sugar, salt and MSG. Most restaurant food is prepared in advance resulting in precious vitamins and enzymes being destroyed before it lands on your plate. Your belly may be full – but your body is left crying out for the stuff it really needs to provide you with energy – and who doesn't want more of that?
The point is that there are real easy alternatives which you can quickly incorporate into your lifestyle that will turn your life around, literally within days! I'm not suggesting an SAS course or a diet of carrot sticks either. Just simple ways to detoxify and cleanse your body, improve your breathing and circulation and to provide your body with the kind of nutrients you simply must have to be healthy.
The experience with my neighbour has opened my eyes to a hidden tragedy that could well be going on in Thailand right in our very midst. If you do not devote time and effort towards taking the best possible care of your health (and lets face it, the heat, humidity and lifestyle certainly works against us) then you will become a sitting duck for the 'Health care" industry which will bleed you of the money you worked hard for and set aside for your glorious retirement.
I am quickly sending this in now in response to Stick's request for new material. I hope to follow up soon with some routines and a few do's, don'ts and suggestions.
What a shame to see that your neighbour has not received more personal care, over and above the treatment.
I have taken a much greater interest in looking after myself in recent times and two friends, one a regular contributor to this site, have pointed out the benefits of a vegan diet. I have only read up on it briefly but the benefits are huge. But you don't have to go to extremes, just eating better and regular exercise can have tremendous benefits.