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Thanksgiving: What Really Matters

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Dr. Ernest Levister, Jr.
Recessionary times are tough. You may have lost your job. You may be struggling to keep your house. If employed, you may be scraping by from one paycheck to the next. You don’t have healthcare because it’s too expensive.

In these uncertain times it is easy to take things for granted. One of my former patients who suffers from Alzheimer’s disease recently handed me a list of things he thought we should be thankful for:

You can sleep through the night without wondering if it’s time for breakfast yet or time to have dinner. It takes you less than 2 hours to eat breakfast and take your vitamins/ medicine.

You don’t need to take special medication because your digestive track doesn’t work properly any more. You can walk without using a walker or cane. You have enough strength to operate the handle that lifts the footrest on your recliner. You can get up out of your favorite chair without the use of a special cushion. You can still enjoy your favorite activities without falling asleep.

You don’t have to take 16 different medications and vitamins per day. You feel strong enough to get dressed every day and go out of the house.

You don’t have to see a doctor every week. You don’t feel uncomfortable because you realize how slowly you do everything and you know it inconveniences others even if they don’t say so. You don’t get confused about whether you’ve already taken your medications and vitamins or not, and you don’t feel that you need to argue with your caregivers about it You enjoy having friends over and don’t feel oppressed by the energy it takes to socialize with them. You can still enjoy doing the things you love.

You can watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving parade without thinking its Christmas. You can hug your loved ones and remember their names.  You can look in the mirror and feel blessed because you know who you are.

My patient frequently reminds me that there is always someone worse off than you are.

From our house to yours, Happy Thanksgiving!

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