There really are only two reasons why you would ever get someone else to do something instead of doing it yourself; either you can’t do it or you don’t want to do it, whatever the “it” might be. Of course, there is a wide spectrum of reasons, but all of those additional reasons are simply a variation of the two primary reasons.

As my wife can attest, I can cut my grass, but I definitely don’t want to do so. The result is that (somewhere between ankle and calf-deep height) I do cut the grass because I also don’t want to pay someone else to do that particular “it.”

Even though my hap-hazard waffling on lawn care serves to illustrate a point, we all should be a little more proactive when it comes to our health. There are some things we might be able to learn, given enough time, but with all the human body is and does — and the fact that many of us ignore it until it “breaks” — there may not be time to learn what we need to know to fix our particular problem. Take for instance (hypothetically) that I needed brain surgery. Even if I did have the time and intellect to learn such delicate procedures, I wouldn’t want to attempt it. It’s scary in there, and I would at least need someone to hold my hand.

Fortunately, we don’t need to surf the internet for “Home Brain Repair” kits and then wade through all the algebra homework nightmares, poorly remembered movie quotes and empty candy wrappers until we find the problem and hopefully fix it. No, there are people who have the intellect, training and experience to do that for us — and we should probably let them. If I tell myself that those are “load-bearing” weeds at the corner of the garage and neither cut them nor pay someone to cut them, and then the most negative effect is my curb appeal suffers. And my wife calls me out on it.

But if I ignore serious health issues, and self-diagnose and procrastinate, my wife could become my widow.

There are a lot of health-related things we are perfectly capable of doing ourselves, whether we want to or not — things like paying attention to the things we eat, getting some exercise, and now especially being concerned with hygiene, that will go a long way toward keeping us up and moving. That being said, the value of a competent health professional we trust is incalculable. Regular check-ups and a positive dialogue with those professionals can help to prevent problems before they occur. Not to mention they are experienced in the very things you may need to save your life someday. Honestly, learning anatomy isn’t something you want to attempt during an appendicitis attack.

Still, some of us (me included) put things off or arbitrarily decide what is and isn’t important. Yes, we definitely should be the ones making the important decisions, but those decisions need to be informed decisions. I could decide to drive down the road with my parking brake on simply because it’s my car — but every single automobile manufacturer on the planet (possibly even Mars) says that would be a bad idea. I can still do it, but if I do then I can’t be upset with anyone but myself when what I was warned would happen does. They might be able to fix the damage, even; but they wouldn’t have to if I had gone with the informed choice option.

Certified health professionals are sort of the liaison between what we can’t do and won’t do. They have the training and experience, and in a lot of cases they can give us the knowledge and the tools we need to eliminate some of the “can’t” in our lives. And maybe if we pay a little attention, they might also help to eliminate some of the “won’t” as well. But like everything else in life we have to decide whether or not we are going to listen and follow their professional advice. Funny thing, but answers are only useful when they are applied.

If all the assorted health professionals were giving away money, maybe more people would pay attention. But, unfortunately, most of them aren’t. Still, how much is avoiding a stroke or heart attack worth?

Reach CHARLES ROMANS at cromans@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2653.

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