What prompted me to write this blog you ask? I lost my mother when I was 21 to lung cancer, something most likely that could have been avoided with healthier life choices. My dad is currently in a Critical Care Unit in a Boston hospital. Why? Because of unhealthy life choices. The rest of my family struggles with obesity, and half of them smoke cigarettes on a regular basis. Yes, I agree some health related problems are not avoidable, and no matter how hard you try, there is nothing you can do to stop them. However, I could argue that the majority of health related problems are due to poor choices made earlier on in your life. So, what is the value of your health?
These are real numbers I use, and I use them to prove to you the value of your health. My dad spends approximately $320 dollars a month on prescriptions. What are those medications for? Things like diabetes, high blood pressure and cholesterol, top the list. He visits the doctor an average of 2x per week, or 8x per month. Each visit costing a copay of $20. He spends 3 nights a week in the recliner. Not a recliner in his house, a recliner in the middle of a dialysis center, getting treatment for his failing kidneys. His insurance, high because of all his ailments, costs $450/month. Factor in the gas it takes to drive to the hospital 3x per week for dialysis, and 2x per week for doctors visits, he drops around $100 per week for gas.
So let’s take a look at this at a monthly cost:
- Prescriptions: $320/month
- Copays: $160/month
- Insurance: $450/month
- Gas for Visits: $400/month
I’m no math genius, but that’s right around $1300 a month. That doesn’t include the fact that 5 out of every 7 days are spent in the doctor’s office, either receiving treatment, or consulting with a doctor. That also doesn’t factor in emergency room visits, lengthy stays in the hospital, medical supplies, and more.
Now, why does he have to spend all this money? Right around $20,000 a year goes to his health. Could all of this have been avoided with healthier choices? Some could argue yes. If he didn’t smoke a pack of cigarettes a day, consume unhealthy food and drinks, and not exercise he probably wouldn’t have any of the issues he has today.
Before my mother passing it was the same thing. Countless doctor visits, chemotherapy, prescriptions, etc. Her lung cancer was directly linked to her smoking, something that clearly could have been avoided.
So what is the value of your health? Do you want to spend your later years dropping $20k + a year on your health, and spending 5 days a week in the hospital? Or would you rather invest the $50, $75, $100, even $500 a month now to stay healthy?
Eating healthy is hard, and for some, working can be a challenge. Health food is expensive, and a gym membership may not be in your budget. My mom never saw my brother graduate high school, and she won’t see my brother or I get married. That’s something money can’t buy. My dad spends the majority of his week in a doctor’s office. He drops thousands of dollars a month to keep himself alive. Currently, he is in the hospital and they’re not sure what his prognosis is. That is time that he can never buy back. In both instances, this wasn’t bad luck. It was directly linked to unhealthy life choices. I didn’t write this blog to tell you my life story, and poor me, poor me. I wrote this in hopes that you will read it, take my advice for what it’s worth, and share it with those you care about.
You are given one life. Have fun, but take care of your body. I don’t care whether you do yoga, Crossfit, pilates, spinning, bootcamps, powerlifting, or go for a walk on the beach with the family you’re fortunate to have. Take care of your body, because you only get one of them, and your health, yeah your health, it’s priceless.