Most of us believe in prevention but we don't always practice it. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, we've heard before.
The best way to keep a car healthy is faithful service. Changing the oil, taking care of the transmission and replacing parts are all part of the long-term game.
Our bodies are the same way. A friend of mine joked at 76, "If I had known I would live this long I would have taken better care of myself." The problem is he died at about 77 and spent the last few years of his life not walking much due to his 30-plus years of smoking cigarettes that had devastated his lungs.
A close family member who we loved suffered a lot the last three or four years of her life. Diabetes tormented her the last year of her life and brought a toll of suffering that was painful for her and us to watch. We had all watched her abuse herself with bad eating and beverage habits most of her life. Dialysis and spending most of her last two years in a nursing home was painful.
You can take good care of yourself 100 percent of the time and still end up with health problems. We see it happen to the best of people. You can take the best care of your car and still wreck it. A lot of healthy people wreck their lives so there is never a silver bullet.
However, we should try. We should eat less sugar, drink more water, and eat less red meat and exercise a little more during the week. Visiting the doctor and getting routine checkups are crucial as well. Senior adult friends have said to me in the past, "When you get old it seems about all you do is go to the doctor." As cars get old they require a lot of care and, if we are blessed with old age, there is going to be more routine care to keep us going. It's just part of it.
We have to be concerned about overall prevention in this country. We can't wait until we are ready to file bankruptcy to worry about the national debt. We can't wait to improve medical insurance for Americans. I am in favor of every American having health insurance but we have to improve what we are doing. I don't think the government simply issuing medical insurance to every American is going to work since we are already on the verge of bankruptcy ourselves.
Making insurance available across state lines is huge. Competition is important between insurance carriers, drug companies and hospitals. Medicare should be available for Americans to buy into if their insurance company ever disqualifies them because of a preexisting condition. If we are going to spend trillions on Iraq and Afghanistan we can at least make health care available to everyone.
There is a lot of gnawing and gnashing in America over guns. I own several. Chicago is a shining example of why making guns illegal is a bad idea. I don't have any automatic weapons. Well, I have a shotgun that will fire off three shells, but that's it. If I thought ISIS was coming up through Mexico I would want access to some automatic weapons. I know our military would be there. Although I do know that when you call 911 it always takes a few minutes for the police to show up. You don't have a few minutes if someone is coming up your drive to attack you.
Americans must maintain the freedom to protect ourselves. If would be attackers know we have no protection in our homes we are sitting ducks for assault, robbery and maybe death. I do agree that we don't need the kind of weapons the Las Vegas shooter had recently; the ones that he used to kill and wound so many people.
There are a lot of areas where prevention is the issue. Building a wall sounds dumb to some people but it is one aspect of securing our country. It's not a cure all by any means. A healthy military that is cared for and has up-to-date vehicles, weapons, housing and enough persons to get the task done are all crucial.
Prevention requires a lot of effort. There are so many areas to cover that's important. It's not easy staying alive. Personally and as a nation we owe it to our families and fellow citizens to take care of ourselves.
Glenn Mollette is an American syndicated columnist and author.
What's your view? Write a letter to the editor.