“It came without ribbons, it came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags.” Despite the Grinch’s best efforts, along with his unwitting accomplice, Max, the spirit of Christmas came to Whoville. When I watched the Grinch story as a kid, I could never understand what exactly it was that Whoville was celebrating after the Grinch and Max had made off with everything. To me, Christmas, Hanukkah, and the holidays in general, were ALL about the toys and the gifts. How could it possibly be anything else? What could possibly matter more?
As I have progressed through the decades of adulthood, my priorities have certainly come into much sharper focus. Perhaps enhanced by the 40 years I have spent in healthcare, I am acutely aware of how much can go wrong with our health and livelihood, whether it be from illness or injury, or just the aging process. With each passing year, I grow ever more thankful to have mobility, the ability to do the things I enjoy, to be free of major and life-changing maladies, and to be alive in the company of my family and friends. As a very wealthy man once said to me many years ago, “All the money in the world makes no difference if you don’t have your health.”
Indeed, we can’t buy good health. But we can affect our health through our choices. In fact, we can mitigate and avoid chronic conditions through the adoption of healthy lifestyles. There aren’t any guarantees, and we can’t change our genes. But the evidence is clear that our odds of living longer, and enjoying more active lives, are greatly enhanced by doing so. This is the vision of our Aspen Valley Hospital Board of Directors, to foster our community as the healthiest in the nation. As I have often noted, Pitkin County already is among the healthiest counties in the nation, and we won’t stop doing our part to rise further in the rankings. What could possibly matter more?
In this issue of our enewsletter, we have several articles of interest, as we officially enter the winter season, including tips from our Aspen Valley Hospital physical therapist Joe Kagan, PT, DPT, CSCS, for getting outside, staying active and optimizing your winter workouts. We also have staff recommendations for mind and body apps that can support and guide us in our quest for better health. And finally, we all know that sleep is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle, and our Chief Medical Officer and Emergency Department Physician Dr. Catherine Bernard has some helpful tips to catch more ZZZZs.
Cindy Lou Who had Christmas all figured out, and eventually even the Grinch’s heart grew three times its size. That sounds medically dangerous, but the point is well taken that embracing our health, our family, our friends, and our community is way more important than gifts and material things.
May the holidays be full of joy and knowing what really matters to you.