Healthy Hike

Today we hiked in Forest Park along the Leif Erickson Trail, which is an eleven mile, one-lane, dirt & gravel road (off-limits to motorized vehicles) located within Portland's city limits.

As we were walking through the forest (being passed by the occasional jogger and bicyclist) I recalled a recent conversation with a friend. Our conversation touched on health issues and she commented that she thought I was real healthy. My response was more about the semantics of the word 'healthy' than anything. In a way, I must have sounded like I was claiming poor health.

She is my age (50) and her husband is no more than seven years older. He just had both hips replaced. She told me about the procedure and about his quick recovery as well as the total cost (US$180,000.00). This surgery is the latest in a long list of diseases, disorders, and down-right bizarre conditions that my friend and her husband have been diagnosed with over the past dozen years. They each take an amazing regimen of pharmaceuticals (12-20+ pills a day), and although I don't know all the diagnosed diseases—Lupus, MS, and hemochromatosis (too much iron in the blood) are three I do recall.

When I think about the odds of a single person having five to seven serious, debilitating, medical ailments...all which require drug treatment and/or surgery, I think someone is being less than honest with someone else. Either I am being lied to by my friend, or doctors are duping her and her husband.

In regards to my ''good health", I explained my hatred of the medical system and, specifically, my distrust of doctors—and that her impression was based on a non-existent 'clean bill of health'. I told her that I could be extremely unhealthy, but because I never go to doctors (nor do I comment about my health) it was not something anyone would know about until I was dead.

As explanation, I told her about my self-treatments for a broken foot (2004) and rib (2007); I didn't tell her about my other "symptoms of aging". I will—undoubtedly—die of something, someday (and it may be sooner rather than later...that is, if any of us live beyond 2012). My future heart attack or stroke or tumor may even have been postpone-able or patch-able or even curable...but (alas) won't have been, because I won't have seen a doctor about its symptoms.

Each year I hear about the complaints, and treatments, for more and more serious medical problems from my friend (I suspect they have paid for many a yacht and Maserati for many an MD). I rarely talk about my health, but, I may not be healthier.

Man has a gift for seizing hold of what is beautiful. And what inexhaustible riches the world contains for the man who knows how to enjoy his senses! Moreover, nature has given man the desire to make others share in the joys he feels. The beautiful always claims its right to primacy. — Adolf Hitler

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