Caregiving

Be thankful; don’t take good health for granted

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A look at our neighborhood in Detroit. We’re thankful to live in this beautiful historic area.

Early Sunday morning I took a bicycle ride around Belle Isle island park in Detroit. There were some walkers, runners and a few other bikers.  It’s a little more than five miles around the island, so I went around twice to get in about 11 miles before coming home to start my Sunday chores.

While there I was intoxicated by the beautiful Detroit River and the site of men and women fishing along the banks.  The breeze was cool.  Another cyclist passed me and shouted, “Beautiful morning!”   I relished every minute of the 50-minute ride (yeah, I’m not that fast, but I do my best). I was cool, relaxed, and happy to spend some time with my thoughts. I stretched afterward for half an hour, stopped to get coffee for my husband and myself and headed home.

Riding home, I started thinking about other good things in my life:

I get to spend some precious weeks with my husband.  I am usually busy with work and he has been so ill that it’s been fun keeping his company. He’s rapidly getting back to his old self.

I’m really thankful for the cardiac team at  Henry Ford Health System and the LVAD (left ventricular assist device or heart pump) that is giving my husband’s tired heart a rest.

Spending a little time with my stepson before he goes to college in August has been an unexpected bonus.

My other son is doing well living on his own and thinking about law school,

I found a good barber, after my other good barber retired. And he got it right the first time! For me, dealing with hair is nothing but an ordeal, so I’m really thankful for this one.

My sister just found work. She’s in the entertainment industry and it has been going through the same pains the auto industry did. She works freelance so finding work is a job in itself.

Our beautiful home and neighborhood really make me proud. (I’m in part of Detroit you never see on television and Web sites, or in magazines and newspapers.)

Our great neighbors on both sides of the house ask about us almost every day and call when they feel there is reason for concern. They have graciously offered to help as needed, and they have.

My father is doing remarkably well for an 85-year-old. Our family is blessed to still have him, his dry sense of humor and his knack for fixing stuff – even if it means getting on the floor to do it.

I have a good, well-paying job.

Most of all, I am thankful for my good health. There are lots of reasons to stay healthy, and not just to help with caregiving.  If you eat well and take care of your body, you don’t get sick as often. You have more energy.  You get the endorphin rush that makes you feel good all the time.  You feel better.  Your skin clears up. Your blood pressure goes down. Your hair gets stronger. You halt or minimize  a lot of diseases.  You look good.

Staying healthy is, for me, the most important thing. Among other things, good health allows me to continue to be the primary caregiver in my husband’s life.

A good friend said to me recently, “Don’t you get sick!!!”  And she’s right. Hearing her voice in my head pushed me to work out this week and reminded me that I’m watching what I eat for a reason. I don’t want to be one of the 80 percent of African American women who are obese and overweight. I’ve seen women my own age who have difficulty even walking across the street. It’s a scary image.

I want to be an independent black women who enjoys a long healthy life, lives as long as I can in my own two-story home, keeps being active and enjoys life with my family. That’s definitely something to be thankful for. It doesn’t come easy; I have to work at it. And so should you.



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