Friday, January 09, 2009

Health is a wonderful thing...

... and we tend to take it for granted when we have it. For the last 3-4 years I've been struggling with several health issues. Considering that I ride my bike 5000 miles or so a year and take long hiking trips, most people I meet think that I'm a picture of health, and indeed, my health issues (Sleep Apnea and Osteopenia) are by and large under control --- the latter through a change of lifestyle (I used to ride over 10000 miles a year, and had to cut back), and the former with the help of some brilliant doctors, including Dr. Tracy Kuo who managed to get me to adapt well to CPAP Therapy. The alternative would have been surgery, which was too horrible for me to contemplate, though others don't seem to have the same terror of surgery that I do.

So there I was at the start of the year feeling quite good about myself overall, and in general proud of over-coming what could have been serious illnesses and still in general enjoying life, but my first week back at work, and I have lunch with one person who tells me that the reason I didn't see her around (aside from me being in Germany) was because she was on leave for chemotherapy for cancer treatment. And then today I got news that an old classmate of mine from college is also undergoing cancer treatment. Compared to that, I had no health problems, and I'm really grateful to have what I have. These are just people I know. Add that to the deaths of Tanta and OldVet, people who post on blogs I read, and it's hard not to be overwhelmed (at least a little bit) by the sense that Cancer is everywhere.

But incidences like these make me want to go travel and see the world --- who knows how long each of us really have on this planet anyway? On the political front, while I've had to hold my nose to vote for Obama last year (mostly because of his healthcare positions), if he manages to pull off his health-care plan, then all is forgiven. I don't even care what else doesn't get done. I can stand increasing inequality, and I can stand nothing getting done on global warming (something I consider the most important problem mankind has to face), but from a personal point of view, the fact that I'm un-insurable (health-wise) as an individual (as explained by my earlier post on healthcare policy) is definitely something that has made me into a single issue voter.
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