Thursday, May 01, 2008

I Don't Smoke

photo from flicker

I don't smoke. I've never touched the stuff in my life, and I never plan to.

I don't drink often - maybe once or twice a month at most - but when I drink, I pull out all the stops. But any medical textbook will tell you that that kind of drinking really doesnt count.

But that's pretty much all I don't do.

I love to eat at fast food joints, I'd die without chocolate, and you all know just how much I love anything cooked with coconut milk. Meals are not proper meals unless there is a salt shaker just within reach, and I always dash a liberal amount. Apart from the occasional banana, I hardly actively look for fruits to supplement my diet. In my world, fruit is not counted as a dessert. Ice cream and cheesecake are.

I have had periods in my life when I've had regular exercise - but this period in my life is not one of them. I would love to swim regularly, but there aren't any pools anywhere near my house. Everything else is a no-no because I don't like to sweat and because anything that has to do with athletics makes me feel as graceful as a pregnant elephant.

This is a point of contention between my dad - the worst patient I have ever had - and me. He's diabetic, hypertensive, and his cholesterol is going through the roof. I constantly scold him about the contraband he insists on eating and the exercise program he refuses to start. He's always on my case about being a doctor but not living healthily. I glibly argue that I'm not the diabetic in the family - and by virtue of that being an irrefutable fact, he loses the argument soundly. Still, he refuses to toe the line.

But, thankfully, he's the only one who doesn't.

Apparently, this is one thing doctors get away with just by donning a white coat. My other patients don't really ask what my eating habits and lifestyle choices are like, so I guess they assume that as a doctor, I live clean. Their blood sugars and blood pressures are generally good and their weights are steady when I follow them up, so I assume they're following my advice to live a healthy lifestyle - even if I'm not living it myself.

Quite obviously, the advice works. I just haven't gotten around to following it to the letter myself.

I know that I have to start eating smart and improving my diet. I know I have to get my cholesterol and blood sugar levels screened soon. I know I have to get my requisite 45 minutes of exercise a day, three times a week regularly.

Maybe I'll start tomorrow. Or maybe next week.

But till then, I can still tell my patients with conviction, "I don't smoke."


For 8th Edition - Practicing What We Preach, over at Dr. Emer's blog, Parallel Universes.


Manggy said...

I tried a puff once, when I was in first year college. Never again. It felt like my lungs had filled with death. I don't know how the surgeons do it, but I don't envy them. At. All. I've seen the patients.

I hope you'll allow me to provide some positive reinforcement (er... not really.. just advice). I think now is a good time to participate in some exercise program. If for anything, it keeps the endorphins up and it gives me a feeling of accomplishment. Also, gyms are not as likely to be crowded during particular hours when we can enjoy them without feeling self-conscious or being bugged. If you're not too well-versed with driving, just driving 3 times a week to the nearest swimming pool should make you feel even more accomplished.

I find myself eating healthier too-- I still love dessert, but I crave more fruity, floury things than creamy or buttery ones these days. Nakakabore din minsan ang lasa ng cream, haha :)

I don't drink, though ;) I am the worst at that :)

dr_clairebear said...

i know, i know! i've been meaning to enroll in a gym, but i keep thinking about the cost of gas to get there...

as for eating healthy... well. :) but i really will get started, promise.

Dr. Emer said...

Thanks for the early submission, Dr. Claire. I appreciate it. See you next week!

Anonymous said...

As an ex-smoker (6 months and counting...hooraaah!!), I go by one thing and one thing alone: NEVER gear towards an addiction unless you know for a fact that you possess the will power to quit. Otherwise, the excessiveness will kill you. Sooner than most people anyway.

Anonymous said...

i remember the neurosurgeon/anaesthesiologist team my sister had when she was confined at st. lukes, the neuro guy smoked a lot. he seemed like a walking ciggy to me.

i used to smoke, way back in college. i stopped when i had my baby.

dr_clairebear said...

@doc emer: no problem! looking forward to an interesting round up of submissions! i wonder if i'm the only delinquent one...

@janey: congratulations! my dad quit cold turkey years ago, and he's been off the stuff for more than 20 years... so i know you can make it for that long, too.

i don't like the taste of the stuff, thank goodness, but one big reason i never started was because i might get into it. i know some sensible colleagues of mine who got started AFTER medical school only so they could stay awake while studying for the boards, and they're now puffing like crazy even if the boards are way behind us.

@mari: unfortunately, a lot of doctors smoke. i'm not sure of the philippine stats, though - doc emer might be the one to know that stuff. you quit! good for you! :)

Abaniko said...

I tried smoking while drinking with friends and I really never liked it. So I didn't try again. Buti na lang.

Em Dy said...

Never smoked too but was tempted when the neighbor left her stuff in the house. Glad I didn't touch it.

I exercise and I feel the endorphins kicking in. I know I should do more.

lagal[og] said...

i find this camel ad irritatingly funny. then again, why do i seem to almost always stumble upon doctors who puff during their breaks? i used to be a chain smoker myself but now i disdain even the slightest whiff of cigarette smoke. i can attest to the addicting power of cigarettes, not even the death of my tatay due to lung cancer didn't make me stop. it was only very much later that i stopped.

dr_clairebear said...

@abaniko: good thing di mo na tinuloy!

@doc em: i wish i had the same determination as yours! it's really just inertia, really, once i get started i am fanatic about diet and exercise... but am so tinatamad. :P

@lagalog: ang ganda ng pictures sa blog mo! :) anyway, i'm glad to hear that you quit. my brother and my sister both smoke - kahit na our uncle recently passed away from lung cancer - ang tigas ng ulo. i keep on lecturing them about the effects of smoking, pero it just goes over their heads. frustrating!

Anonymous said...

That's so funny...Your colleagues and I have that in common. The reason I started was because coffee wasn't enough to keep me awake to study for finals in my senior year of college. I promised I was going to quit after that week. Well, the "week" lasted six years. So it's infinitely better to never start at all.

dr_clairebear said...

i read somewhere that the stuff actually enhances memory... but only to a certain extent. but the trade off ain't worth it. :p

J.A. said...

I remember being interviewed before entering med school by this faculty member:...
Dr. C: Do you smoke?
Me: No
Dr. C: Do you drink?
Me: No
Dr. C: What do you do for fun?
I'm a goody-two shoes except for the exercise thing, I guess, and an occasional food choice...
BTW, so far I'm also the only doctor around who doesn't drink cofee. For some reason, I abhor even the smell of it. I survive on ice tea. :)