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Scaling Cutting Stepping Back
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Scaling Cutting Stepping Back
It is very slow in my hospital nowadays. The census is low. Florida economy is reliant on retirees who flock in winter and fly back to north in summer. So people like me, who are per diems (by choice of course) end with less work-days, this somehow gives me a sense of how it feels to be retired. For those who rely heavily on big incomes due to heavy monthly expenses, these days will be mean and challenging. For me however, I have learned to live cheaply so these slow days aren’t that bad, and of course, this is my best opportunity to do my ‘other’ work. Yes, I have a reason for choosing per diem positions because there is another field I am so in love with. That is computer programming. I have been open about this ‘other’ love in this blog, I call it a hobby but deep inside I am also hoping it will generate some value someday, at least enough to pay my monthly bills, so I can go on and on doing this. But that will probably take years, (if it gains traction at all) and one thing I know about programming : You should never think of it as a source of wealth because that is a hit or miss thing. To succeed as a computer programmer, you must first fall in love with it. You know you are a programmer when you look forward to doing it in the morning and something that gives you an inexplicable joy at the end of each day. I am also in love with PT but at a certain point in life, now that I am 54 years old, I needed to diversify. Diversification is the reason I took a second college degree in the field of IT.
I knew that at one point in my life, I had to cut down on PT. But I also knew that I will never leave the field because PT was my entire working world for the past 30 years, 26 of those in the US. You can not just abandon something that nourished you, that gave you security, that protected you just because it became too heavy or monotonous. I felt that I should find a middle ground, a happy medium upon which I can enjoy the best of these two worlds, PT/Health/Rehab and Technology. And here is the result: my website Healthysport. Somehow, this website will give me a platform to develop my skills as a computer programmer and pursue more research in the field of health, specifically related to PT.
There are a few things I am passionate about. The art of movement, activity, exercise, dieting, avoidance of diseases, management of conditions such as stroke, diabetes, injuries. I love to review journal articles on the many aspects of “ living life to its fullest “ : balance, endurance, strength, mental alertness, relaxation, spirituality, life enjoyment through hobbies etcetera. I am a proponent of proactive approach to illnesses. These are important to me. Building wealth (unfortunately) is probably the last thing you want to read in this site. I am particularly averse to becoming rich but I have a full respect for those who seek wealth as a source of joy. Being happy in whatever way you want is what matters.
The good thing is - I can use computer programming to explore, express and demonstrate this passion. That is the happy medium I am talking about. Combining PT/Health/Rehab and technology is my ‘pursuit of happiness’. It is really great to be in my place right now. I wake up in a beautiful morning, opens my computer to write this and in a bit, I will proceed to a library to work on my project myPTClinic which is a virtual PT documentation stored in the cloud. I will discuss this project in more detail when I set it up in my other website (virtualclinicsusa.com). I have been building websites via cloud. I have created virtual servers and you can’t imagine how sweet it is to build them at my pace. These are what I studied IT for and I need to keep practicing on them because that is the nature of programming - you have to keep at it to stay updated and relevant. And now you understand why I am perdiem in PT.
I am reading articles on healthy lifestyle and obviously practice a lot of the things I preach about. I still run and swim and landscape and walk and sleep. I have been keeping my weight well under 25 BMI. Despite my diabetes for years now, I maintain quite a stable blood sugar, manageable BP, cholesterol and triglycerides. I am trying to train my brain to divert its attention from too much number/food/exercise-correctness-awareness because too much focus on anything to the point of obsession can also be dangerous. Sure I falter now and then but as I said in the past, “My ship may trip and swagger and shake and dip a little down the ocean, as long as it doesn’t sink, I feel alright.” My coming researches will be on self assessment of strength, balance, endurance especially those assessment tools for the elderly who are the most vulnerable to problems in these areas. Another area I need to study more is how to be consistent in keeping oneself healthy. A lot of our inconsistencies in habits are mindset-related, I think. There must be some kind of standard impetus to keep all of us moving and exercising and keeping healthy. These I want to learn more about.
I am living in my happy place for now until perhaps I need to get my butt out there to make some money to pay bills. But life is not all about earning money, for me (at least). It is also about cutting expenses and avoiding situations or conditions that will require big bills like hospitalization, medications, risky behaviors, vices, addiction, using credit cards beyond limits, and buying extravagant items. That’s just me. And I am not exactly the mirror image of everyone. Listen, there is nothing wrong with splurging and working a lot as long as that is your concept of happiness. Let me make that clear. I never think I am right and somebody else is wrong. In the first place, how many people will consider sitting in front of their monitor screen for hours working on a virtual project, spending only for bottled water and some cheap lunch? And this, mind you, does not even make money. I feel I am the only one. I have an old classmate who referred a friend of his (via Facebook) to hang out with me. I briefly wondered how that will work given my extreme focus (programmers call it ‘being in the zone’). I politely declined using my coding in my free time as an excuse(which is definitely true). In some ways I felt guilty for being a snob maybe? But there are people like me who can not simply go out there and be of social graces knowing their time could be spent more wisely in the program they work on. They call them people like me ‘nerds’ and mostly, ‘nerds’ are also associated with social awkwards. But each of us have a unique way of living. The point is - always pursue what makes you happy.
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Activity is fun. Activity should never be a chore or a bore. It should not be something we drag ourselves into doing. Activity should not be a source of bragging or something to be ashamed of. It should not prioritize ‘looking good’ as its goal though it can lead to that in the long run. Activity should be something to embrace and should be defined as all the fun things we do: walking in the mall, marvelling at the gardens in a park, paddling in a kayak on a very calm river, landscaping the backyard, cleaning the house, climbing the stairs to get to the office, standing up and walking to the water cooler, slowly pacing while talking on the phone, house cleaning, walking a pet - seriously, anybody can define an activity in almost all our daily lives yet we don’t count them as anything healthy. Truth is, they can mimic exercise if done in a significant amount of time. I was just talking with a friend about how people ignore the most important thing in life : health. You can have all the love, wealth, fame, support system in the world but if you can’t even open your eyes in the morning or walk to the bathroom without struggling from the bed to the wheelchair, then what is the value of all that? Many people have this complacent attitude towards diseases and illnesses until they are stricken for good.
Most family-owned business went bankrupt due to spending all their savings on illness or unexpected disease.
Some senior citizens cut down on food and leisure so their social security benefits can cover their medications’ exorbitant prices. And as we get older, our medicine increase in both numbers and costs.3
I have encountered patients who stroked out due to inability to pay for their BP meds.
There are lots of people on this earth who live ordinary lives without knowing they have diabetes or high blood pressure or impending heart attacks because they assume they are the most healthy people in the world.
The following are my ‘copy and paste notes’ from journals:
[From recent issue of PTinMotion]
Ten modifiable risk factors are associated with 90% of strokes, according to a recently published international study (abstract only available for free). Risk factors include physical inactivity, hypertension, poor diet, obesity, smoking, cardiac causes, diabetes, alcohol use, stress, and increased lipid levels...Researchers examined patient data from 142 participating facilities in 32 countries representing all continents (26,919 participants and 13,472 controls). Participants were assessed with a variety of measures, as well as MRI or CT imaging and blood and urine samples, within 5 days of acute first stroke. While all 10 factors were found to be significant overall, their relative importance varied by region. For example, lack of regular physical activity was associated with 59.9% of strokes in China, but was associated with only 4.7% of strokes in Africa. And while waist-to-hip ratio was associated with approximately 37% of strokes in Southeast Asia and Western Europe/North America/Australia, it was associated with only 2.8% of strokes in Eastern and Central Europe and the Middle East. The single constant: hypertension, which researchers determined was the leading cause of stroke in all 6 regions.One unusual finding McDonnell noted was that in South Asia, lower diet quality was actually associated with lower stroke risk. Similarly, higher alcohol intake was associated with a lower stroke risk in Western Europe/North America/Australia, which was not the case with all other regions.
Because hypertension was associated with 48% of strokes worldwide, McDonnell asserts, addressing it is the “key to stroke prevention.” Authors hope the results can “support the development of both global and region-specific programs to prevent stroke."
[From a British Medical Journal linking physical activity to a lower risk of death with people within age ranges 40 and above]
Boosting physical activity levels in this age group seems to be as good for health as giving up smoking, the findings suggested.
The 5,738 men under observation had taken part in the Oslo I study of 1972-1973, at which time they would have been aged 40-49, and again in Oslo II 28 years later. In Oslo II they were monitored for almost 12 years to see if physical activity level over time was associated with a lowered risk of death from cardiovascular disease, or from any cause.
The men were surveyed on, among other things, their weekly leisure time physical activities. Activities were classified as sedentary (watching TV or reading); light (walking or cycling, including to and from work for at least 4 hours a week); moderate (formal exercise, sporting activities, or heavy gardening for at least 4 hours a week); and vigorous (hard training or competitive sports several times a week).
The analysis indicated that more than an hour of light physical activity was linked to a 32% to 56% lower risk of death from any cause. Less than an hour of vigorous physical activity was linked to a reduction in risk of between 23% and 37% for cardiovascular disease and death from any cause. The more time spent doing vigorous exercise, the lower the risk seemed to be, falling by between 36% and 49%. Men who regularly engaged in moderate to vigorous physical activity during their leisure time lived 5 years longer, on average, than those who were classified as sedentary.
Factoring in the rising risk with age of death from heart disease and stroke made only a slight difference to the results, researchers said. Overall, these showed that 30 minutes of physical activity—of light or vigorous intensity—6 days a week was associated with a 40% lower risk of death from any cause.
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