Too good to be true! What lies beneath?

in Blog Rounds/Medicine by

“You’re too good to be true” a friend lamented I’m not into some form of “vices” these days. “I couldn’t afford any vice, I mean physically and financially” is my usual reply to this sarcasm.

And for a reason.

Sticking it out with “practicing what I preach” creates a “positive” impact on my patients and practice. But we all knew that of course. In a provincial setting and in a community so keen on nitpicking physicians for their lifestyles, vices and personal lives, I have to be on my toes always. Or I’ll loose my job.

But, I do it with a twist, in my own terms. Something I developed to avoid being too goody-goody but effective to the majority of my patients. Apart from the health benefits, if you translate what you preach into some monetary losses or financial gains, I get attentive ears. Like these lines;

“Smoking is expensive”
I couldn’t afford to die of Lung CA if I smoke. The hospitalization cost is just to darn expensive. Besides, every penny I spend for a stick of cigarette would probably be enough to buy me a car during my lifetime.

Never mind the difficulty of having to breath on COPDied lungs, I vomit on smoke aftertaste! The bad stench just don’t fit my stomach. So if you wanna go and make those cigarette companies (ciga-lords) and pulmonologist get rich, go smoke.

“Drink moderately”
Often a cliche, drinking what or how moderate is a debatable topic. Before, I seldom drink but when I do, nothing is near moderation. There’s no such thing as moderate drinking for alcoholics.

But now? Gone were the of drinking binge and the alcoholic swagger to lure liver cirrhosis. My dad died of that. And I hate the next day hang overs! Well, this doesn’t hit my patients of course. But if you compute the expense of their day to day alcoholic drinking plus the complications it gets and then tell them not any cure has yet been found for cirrhosis, you will be surprised.

“Alcohol plus driving= ER/surgery”
Half of my patients where intoxicated with alcohol while driving. Driving a motorcycle at that.”Thank you for making my practice boom, dude. With the severe injuries you got I’m pretty sure you’d go broke after this surgery” This is a joke of course, but most patients don’t get to see the benefits of prevention unless they’re already in deep shit!

“Over exercise regularly”
I have an overdose of this prescription. Now I’m into almost all sorts of extreme sports fitness program. But I did lost a lot of weight, and trimmed my waistline. No, no six pack abs yet. But I gained some savings from buying over sized pants!

There are so many other “preachings” I follow not only because of the health benefits I get, but also because of the financial woes I can avoid doing it. Practicing what we preach is a matter of personal choice indeed, but no matter what, our actions creates an impression on our patients and the community we live in. That is something we always have to think about.

Dr. Remo-tito Aguilar co-founded #HealthXPh. A board certified orthopedic surgeon, he is Chief of Clinics at General Santos Medical Center and Medical Specialist II Orthopedics at the Southern Philippines Medical Center in Davao City. Dr. Aguilar is a healthcare social media evangelist and writes his medical musings at The Cast & Curious (