As a kid I worked with my brother-in-law on his sheep farm. At shearing time it was my job to herd the sheep into the yards that fed into the hearing shed.
Two things amazed me. One was that if just one sheep decided it saw an obstacle in the race, it would jump as high as it could to avoid the invisible object. Every sheep thereafter would do the same. The other thing was that if a sheep managed to jump the fence, it seemed to grow, and strutted proudly about, with the whole flock’s eyes on it. It believed it had escaped.
The jumping sheep remind me that we are not really different, and there are many social studies to prove this.
If we think that jumping, or taking a special pill, or doing pranayama will give us the same result as the jumping sheep and avoid an invisible problem, we will do it. Like the jumping sheep, we think that because we have the freedom of good health now, we have conquered ill health.
My overall conclusion is that most of us are very good at ‘living in the moment’ when it comes to our future health. We actually believe that somehow we will be the lucky ones to avoid all of the big diseases, hospital and an early death. Even though, like all of the sheep, all of us do actually die. And almost all of us do so via one of the big diseases. There’s no argument about that. Statistics don’t lie but our minds will seek a way to only see the facts as we choose them.
If we could train a sheep to only eat good grass, and to exercise regularly, perhaps we’d have healthier sheep that needed less drenches, antibiotics and more. And if we could persuade humans that preventive health is infinitely preferable to sickness and death, then profound changes would occur in people’s perception about the value of their body.
It has been incredibly frustrating to us to see scores of people who come to us for help reject what we say. We have learned not to blame them because we realise they are still under the spell of the myth that says if you are sick a doctor will fix it and hence there is no need to stay in top physical condition because there is a pill somewhere that will correct it – or there will be by the time they get sick. Not only that, most 0f them are under the double whammy spell of addiction to carbs and sugar.
So when another scary science report arrives in my email I now choose to view it not as just bad news. I look at it with a view to it assisting someone to change the way they think about health.
I have an 80+ year old brother in law. John has never looked after himself. He’s never really followed any health regimen. We all thought he would be dead years ago because he is a constant visitor to the hospital with one ailment after another. His life now consists of a procession of pain to doctor to hospital to pain to doctor to hospital. The last incident was when he collapsed at the kitchen sink. He wasn’t breathing. My sister – in her seventies – tried to roll him over to perform CPR – but he was lying in the wrong position and she couldn’t turn him. She had to do something – so in desperation she punched him as hard as she could in the stomach. He revived. A week later he was back in hospital with a skin ulcer that refused to stop bleeding.
John is quite enough evidence to prompt me to review my own health regimen. Am I doing the basics of eating good food, walking enough, exercising enough, keeping stress free? Yes.. but so many of my friends who do the same still end up in hospitals. We can all do more beyond basic preventative measures, and in my opinion we need to do so because the alternative, according to an article I retrieved from the paper, just got much, much worse. The Sydney Morning Herald’s December 28 issue carried a frightening article on drug resistance. And it was the sort of article I recommend anyone to read if they are still sheep-like about their perceived immunity to life, sickness and death.
The article outlined the biggest threat to our health in decades.
Britain’s chief medical officer, Sally Davies describes resistance to antibiotics as a ‘catastrophic global threat’ that should be ranked alongside terrorism.
The story of Maria Jarchow’s trip to hospital makes chilling reading. She now walks around with (in her words) a broken hip ‘swinging in the breeze’ because she is convinced that one more hospital visit will kill her.
In the same period ex-teacher Brian Poole died, becoming New Zealand’s first victim of a super, super bug called KPC-Oxa 48, because nothing the NZ hospital could throw at it had any effect. Here in Australia our chief scientist, Ian Chubb, warns: “Once we truly get into the post-antibiotic age, people will die from common infections such as strep throat.”
His office identifies the unrestrained use of antibiotics in agriculture and medicine as driving the growth of antibiotic –resistant organisms.
And in case you are one of the ‘sheep’ thinking that when your health challenge comes there will be a pill for the problem, hear this:
“Only one antibiotic that works in a novel way has been discovered in the last 50 years.”
We have an ongoing love affair with antibiotics. We are one of the highest users per capita in the developed world, even though the majority of scripts are written for minor infection that don’t even respond to antibiotics. Yes, it’s even worse in so-called third world counties. In a major Indian hospital the decision has been made to cease chemotherapy because the lower immunity resulting from chemotherapy exposes patients to an unacceptable risk of superbug infection.
Latest figures relate that if you stub a toe and bleed enough to have to enter a hospital in any Asian country, you have a one in four chance of contracting a superbug. Professor Lindsay Grayson of Austin Hospital sums it up.
“Three years ago we were seeing the superbugs only in immune-supressed people – those with cancer, transplant patients. Now healthy people in the community are getting very sick with superbugs, especially in thir bowel and urinary tract. The only thing these people had done was perhaps travel overseas. Some had not even done that. We had three recent patients from country Victoria who hadn’t been in hospital, hadn’t travelled, and they had superbug infections. Now how did that happen?”
For me, the sheep teach me a big lesson. Do I keep on following the line I am fed about a pill for every purpose and allow my personal health management to reduce? Or do I become the sheep who jumped the fence, thinking I’ve found the cure to all ills? I choose neither. I have been given a brain to use and I choose to use it along with the most amazing health support information tool in the history of mankind, the internet. I will continue what has worked for me over the last 13 years and what had kept me common cold and flu-free, with simply great immunity. Anyone reading this article who chooses to use his or her brain will understand that immunity is everything. It’s your choice about how you maintain that immunity, but without it – however you get it – the future looks bleak in the sheepshed/hospital.