Good afternoon. I'm going to tell you a little story today. And in an attempt to withhold my opinion on the matter, I will simply state the facts.
An 80 year old man came in to see me a week ago for (according to his paperwork) "pain". When I asked him to locate and describe his pain, he simply took his hand and pointed to his head, all the way down to his toes. He then went on to explain that he's had a total of 14 surgeries over his lifetime, 10 of which were spinal, including a laminectomy of the lumbar spine and a spinal tap in order to determine why he was having chronic pain between his shoulder blades.
After further discussion, I asked him if he drank water. He replied, "not really." When I asked him to quantify "not really," he told me that he has never drank very much water, but these days he was lucky to drink half a glass/day. I asked him why that was, and he further explained that his Doctor had him on a specific diet to lose weight, and that this diet prohibited the drinking of a lot of water. So rather than drinking water, according to his diet, he was drinking "nutrition" shakes and eating "health" bars comprised of a long list of ingredients that consisted solely of hazardous chemicals and toxins, and no actual nutrients.
Yes, this is a fact.
At this moment, I held up a replica of the spine and explained to the man that the intervertebral discs of the spine contain two parts: an outer ring for shock absorption, and a soft, hydrated gel-like center that is comprised of fluid-this fluid being water and proteoglycans. The center or "nucleus" of the disc is considered "hydrophilic," meaning that it attracts water to maintain it's normal, healthy state. I told him that, with age, these discs can lose elasticity, and begin to shrink. While these discs need movement to prevent shrinkage, they need water as well. I went on to explain that while over consumption of water is not good, neither is under consumption.
He grabbed the plastic spine from my hands, repeated what I had just explained to him, and asked me why no one had ever told him this before.
Rather than going on to explain the other numerous health benefits of drinking water, I figured the explanation of this one benefit in particular would suffice.
I sent the man home that day with homework to simply "drink water."
When he returned a few days later, he walked in the door and embraced me in a strong hug. I smiled and asked him what that was for. He told me that that with only a few days of drinking water, he was sleeping better at night, some of his pain had subsided, and his wife even claimed he had less wrinkles! I told him I agreed with his wife, that he, in fact, did have less wrinkles.
The man then asked how much he owed me. I told him nothing, that I hadn't done anything yet, that he had helped himself.
The term "healthcare" is much too friendly a phrase to describe what is going on in our society today. And that is a fact. In my opinion.