Wanted...My Own Health Reform

A look back doesn’t bode well for my future

Health Habits

Health reform, the Affordable Care Act, Obamacare—whatever you prefer to call it—covers an unbelievable amount of ground. My research has taught me that health reform includes hundreds of laws encouraging employers, insurers, communities, doctors and individuals to work toward good health and preserve it.

I was so impressed when reading the new laws—expanded wellness programs, free preventive care, tax breaks—but yet I found myself depressed: I fear the laws still won’t be enough to get me on the right health track, physically or mentally. Just look at my declining state throughout the years:

Decade number 1 (ages 0–10):
• Play outside every sunny day
• Regularly visit the pool
• Laugh often
• Sleep a lot
• Stress out little—except when I really, really didn’t like my first day of school outfit in third grade
• Go to the doctor every few years
• Eat regular meals with fruits and veggies
• Indulge in Mister Softee ice cream daily in the spring and summer
• Scarf down nightly bowls of ice cream, too

Health Grade: A-Decade number 2 (ages 11–20):
• Compete in gymnastics
• Ski often
• Cheerlead regularly
• Do aerobics occasionally
• Laugh some
• Sleep some
• Go to the doctor three times
• Stress regularly because of boys
• Stress all the time because of school. (Why did I take computer programming and calculus as electives?!)
• Eat regular meals with fruits and veggies
• Enjoy nightly bowls of ice cream

Health Grade: B-Decade number three (ages 21–30):
• Attempt to become a runner every few years
• Ski a handful of times
• Weightlift for a few months, give it up for a few years
• Go to the doctor twice
• Laugh occasionally
• Drink lots of beer
• Sleep some
• Stress some because of school and work
• Eat regular meals consisting of chicken wings and celery
• Eat less ice cream but many more candy bars

Health Grade: C-Decade number four (ages 31–40):
• Attempt to become a runner every few years
• Crave beer and wine but abstain as I am often either pregnant or breastfeeding
• Wonder, “What is sleep?” My children and I do not recall any during this decade.
• Experience many moments when laughter would be appropriate, but feel too tired to do so
• Go to the doctor every other week—for my pregnant self and later my children
• Stress lots from home and work
• Eat regular meals from the convenience section at the supermarket and fast food restaurants
• Finish my meals and the children’s
• Finish my desserts and the children’s, mainly consisting of brightly colored candy or smashed cookies
• Take prenatal and children’s vitamins, both consumed by me because the children refuse them

Health Grade: D-Decade number 5 (40 and beyond, in progress):
• Attempt to become a runner every few years
• Do spin, yoga and kickboxing like a maniac for nine months, then quit it all
• Stress less from work, more from a lack of money
• Sleep little—maybe because of worry over money, worry over children, or a reality show addiction
• Drink less beer and wine because four sips seem to make me loopy
• Eat occasional healthy meals when motivated
• Eat many unhealthy meals—once stooping so low as to grab dinner from 7-Eleven
• Go to the doctor for annual checkups—hear “you’ll want to start watching your weight before it gets really out of control” and “as you get older ... ”
• Burst into laughter—the kind after which people look at you, and you can tell they’re thinking you’d benefit from a lengthy stay at a mental institution

Health Grade: F-
And if my health grade could go any lower, it soon would: My eyesight will be completely gone in months, as I voraciously read the tiny text in the Affordable Care Act, all in hopes of finding this: “Every person too lazy/overwhelmed/clueless to take charge of their own health will be granted a personal chef/trainer/masseuse at the government’s expense.”