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Burnaby Division of Family Practice Empowering Healthcare Healthy Living Physical Activity Positive Change

Achieve your potential in health

 

Dave and Baldev high five at WWYD
Drs. Davidicus Wong and Baldev Sanghera at the 2014 WWYD

When we think about health, many consider it from the negative.

The focus is on symptoms, injuries, illness or disease.

Many approach their healthcare the same way.

They see a doctor or other healthcare provider mainly for the treatment of these conditions. Health is defined in the negative: the absence of disease, and healthcare becomes passive: the treatment given by a healthcare professional.

I think of health as the optimal balance of the important areas of your life (physical, emotional, intellectual, spiritual, family, social, work, rest and play) – guided by what you value and where you find meaning – and the achievement of your positive potential in life.

I believe we each have a unique potential. It is our duty to realize our potential and to help others achieve theirs.

Though we all need the assistance of doctors, nurses and other healthcare providers at different points in our lives, most of your healthcare is provided by just one person. That person, of course, is you.

In this way, real healthcare is self-care. The best predictors of your future health are the habits you practice today.

The four foundations of self-care are (1) what you eat (what you put into your body), (2) what you do (physical activity), (3) how you feel (emotional wellbeing) and (4) how you relate (healthy relationships).

WWYD Albert and Donna Gomes
With patients, Donna and Albert Gomes

Over the past two years, I’ve led the Burnaby Division of Family Practice’s Empowering Patients health education campaign. Our goal is to improve the health of our community by providing unbiased health information on a variety of topics including the four foundations, chronic conditions such as heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes, preventive and proactive care, medical ethics, improving your hospital experience and communicating with healthcare providers.

So far we’ve delivered 14 free public lectures in Burnaby’s schools, libraries and community centres and created health education posters, handouts and videos. To see our growing library of health information, check the Burnaby Division’s website at divisionsbc.ca/burnaby.

The family doctor’s circle of care has expanded from the care of the individual patients of a practice to the care of our community. We care about our patients, and we care about our community.

On Monday, April 25th at 7 pm, I’ll be speaking at the Tommy Douglas Library (7311 Kingsway, Burnaby) on “Healthcare is Self-Care: Achieve Your Potential for Health.” You can register for this free talk online at www.bpl.bc.ca/events or by phone (604) 522-3971.

If you’re thinking of improving your future health by becoming more active today, jump on board with the rest of us next month as we celebrate Move for Health Day and the Doctors of BC’s Walk With Your Doc events. On Saturday, May 7th at 10 am, I’ll be the emcee for the Doctors of BC’s annual Walk With Your Doc at Kitsilano Beach Park.

To celebrate Move for Health Day in Burnaby on Tuesday, May 10th, I’ll be presenting a talk, “We Were Made to Move” at 1 pm at the Edmonds Community Centre and again at 5:45 pm at the Confederation Community Centre (to be followed at 6:15 pm with an easy Walk With Your Doc around the Confederation Park track). You’ll learn about the benefits of exercise, how it can improve your enjoyment of life and your ability to do everyday activities, and how you can make daily physical activity a new healthy habit. All members of the public of any age are welcome to join our team of Burnaby doctors as we walk the talk! Each participant at the walks will also get a free pedometer (while quantities last).

WWYD Greg Kennelly Michelle and John Albano
With patients, Greg Kennelly, Michelle and John Albano

For more information on the variety of fun events Burnaby has planned for Move for Health Day look on page 5 of the Leisure Guide (or check online at burnaby.ca). https://www.burnaby.ca/Assets/New+Things+To+Do/Festivals+$!26+Events/Move+for+Health+Schedule+of+Events.pdf

To find out about the Move for Health Day and Week events close to you, check out your local community centre or the BC Recreation and Parks Association website http://www.bcrpa.bc.ca/mfhd2016/events. To learn more about the Walk With Your Doc events in every community, check walkwithyourdoc.ca.

WWYD Burnaby
Drs. Davidicus Wong, Karime Mitha and Shelley Ross
Categories
Caregiving Compassion Coping with Loss Forgiveness Friendship Letting Go Love Relationships

Live with the end in mind

Nitobe Memorial Garden, UBC (Davidicus Wong)

Mindfulness of death is a Buddhist practice that informs more meaningful living.

If anything can happen anytime and if your next breath was your last breath, you would pay attention to the quality of each remaining moment of your life – every sensation, thought, word and action.

If this was your last week or today was your last day, what would you do differently?

You may update your facebook . . . or you might not.

Would you spend more time on social media, go shopping one last time, go to your favourite restaurant and eat all you can? Would you reflect on your life in retrospect, recognize what really matters and spend your remaining time there?

If you had one last chance to talk to the people you love, what would you say?

Dr. Ira Byock, a palliative care physician wrote in his book, “The Four Things That Matter Most” that those four things are what we need to say to our loved ones before we part: “Please forgive me,” “I forgive you,” “Thank you,” and “I love you.”

We are all human and imperfect. We hurt the people we love, and they hurt us. We take one another for granted. We don’t always speak or act in loving ways.

If we knew our time together was limited, we might be kinder, more patient and loving. The truth is our lives are indeed limited, and few of us knows how much time we have left. In fact, the only ones who know this have been diagnosed with a terminal condition.

My mother died suddenly in April 13 years ago.

I was fortunate that my profession had taught me how precious life was and that I was able to give back to my mom the love that she gave me. Yet I have often thought of how her kind and generous presence would have enriched my life and those of my children if she was still here.

When grieving, I recalled every word from those who offered comfort. One patient said that to die suddenly is a good way to go. Ten years later, that patient would die from end-stage congestive heart failure. Without warning or in palliative care: neither is easy for loved ones.

Last year, my dear aunt passed away in palliative care at St. Michael’s Hospice. She was surrounded by her loving family, and we all had the opportunity to express our love and gratitude for all that she had done for each of us.

Palliative care focuses on the comfort of the patient suffering from a life-limiting condition. The aim is the best possible quality of life even in the final stages of illness.

It takes a team to attend not only to the physical aspects of care but just as importantly the psychological and spiritual. Patients with their families and friends are supported by a team that includes nurses, doctors and volunteers.

Since 1986, the Burnaby Hospice Society has provided trained volunteers to offer emotional and practical support at home, in hospitals and in long term care facilities to those with life-threatening illnesses and their families. They also offer free grief counseling to family members.

On Sunday, May 1st, the Burnaby Hospice Society will be hosting the 2016 Hike for Hospice at Central Park to raise money for these services. The cost is $25/person (children under 12 are free). For more information, see their website at burnabyhospice.org.

Though we cannot predict how our lives will unfold, we can live with the end in mind. We can invest in our most important relationships with the gift of each day and each moment together. We can stop wasting our time, doing things that don’t matter, holding grudges or putting ourselves before others. In the end, what can we hold on to?

We can say what needs to be said. We can use each moment more mindfully. We can express all the love we have in our hearts because it’s only worth something when we give it away. We can’t take it with us.

Davidicus Wong is a family physician and his Healthwise columns appear regularly in the Burnaby Now, Vancouver Courier, Royal City Record and Richmond News.

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Nitobe Memorial Garden, UBC (Davidicus Wong)