Patients With Preventable Illnesses

Patients With Preventable Illnesses

I just got home from a 12 hour shift at the hospital. To say it was backbreaking would be an understatement. Everyday is hard but once in a while I come home feeling like I actually got hit by a truck. Today was one of those days.

I had an epiphany on my drive home. Right as I was pulling on the 405 I started crying about how shaken I was from the exhaustion of running between patients with a to-do list that was impossible and relentless for 12 hours straight.
A few things occurred to me:

  • Amazing is not a good enough word to describe the intelligence, dedication and compassion of the health care staff I work with.
  • Bedside nursing is wearing the crap out of me and I am chronically exhausted.
  • I am so frustrated that so many of my patients are sick with preventable diseases. Worse even is that many of my patients don’t even realize that their illnesses are preventable.  Therefore, they have a hard time taking responsibility for the current state of their health.

How are we supposed to properly treat our patients when so many don’t take responsibly for their own preventable illnesses?

Medication for a patient with type 2 diabetis

Patients have more control over preventable illnesses than they think.  Not taking good care of your heath will eventually catch up with you.

Our medical system and culture lacks and/or ignores preventative healthcare education. (OK so this isn’t really new news, its just that today it was so blatantly apparent on the medicine unit I was working on).

But why?  I ask myself this question all the time.

Preventative health information is available but somehow doesn’t make it to the masses (or if it does, people aren’t listening, or don’t care).

We all know that the poorer socioeconomic areas are lacking in healthcare and nutrition education (for a myriad of reasons, that’s for another conversation). However, the reality is that the lack of knowledge extends to all reaches of the economical spectrum.

In other words, even people who know better still end up as my patient. Including many people in the medical field. WTF!

“The best way to cure an illness is to not get one in the first place.”


This is so true. Many illnesses are fueled by a lack of health education and not understanding how important it is to take care of yourself before its too late.

I also realized that what I said in my blog yesterday was not entirely true. Trying to keep things positive was my way of starting off on the right foot. I made it sound like I love healthcare and everything about being a hospital nurse. Not always true, my friends. Sometimes I have very bad days and this was one of them.

This got me thinking….

One of my blogging goals is to give a little nurse education that may help people think more about preventable illnesses.

Staying healthy will prevent future doctor's appointments

Take care of yourself now or pay for it later.  Many ailments that patients come in for are preventable illnesses.

Preventative healthcare is way easier and less stressful than having to cure an illness.

I know what you are probably thinking. Way easier said then done. I hear you on this!

Although I try to take good care of myself, I am far from perfect (people who know me well would agree on this).

My preventative healthcare philosophy:

I have a 95-5 rule. If I am really good to myself 95% of the time (i.e. exercise, eat healthy, meditate, do yoga) then I can relax and not worry about it the other 5% of the time (have some wine, yummy desert, chill). Some weeks it’s closer to a 90-10 rule, and less frequently on special occasion it may be closer to an 85-15 rule (my friends wedding in Palm Springs recently was not even close to this, but I digress…).

My point: The occasional indulgence is a good thing so long as you treat your body good on the regular!

This evening after I walked in from work, I said a brief hello to my husband and went to start a hot bath to wash off my day, both literally and figuratively.

I could not get the pee/C-diff/blood//MRSA/(enter gross pathogen here) off my body fast enough. Today took a lot out of me, and I needed some TLC!

I threw some magnesium bath salts into the hot water, got out my favorite essential oils, retrieved my homemade coffee body scrub and lit a candle. Viola! A homemade oasis for my mind and body to turn out of fight mode and into a slow chill space.

Goodnight and thanks for reading!

Sarah, Mother Nurse Love