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I am hijacking this great man's words for a very specific reason. They apply across the board in just about every situation, and this is no different

This afternoon after coming back from visiting a few local temples here in Chiang Rai, I was looking at my LinkedIn feed. Every so often I see something worth reposting, or at the least, commenting on, as long as doing so doesn't get me skewered.

The video I found, I promptly skewered. While I can't find it on YouTube, I did find its equal, which to my mind is just as idiot, insulting and irritating as the first one:

You will forgive me if I vomit first before I comment.

Here's what Desmond Tutu famously said:

'There comes a point where we need to stop just pulling people out of the river. We need to go upstream and find out why they're falling in.

Let's get real here. Such a device is another enabler for deterioration. As Gary Foster, who is in his eighties,  stated on the original LinkedIn post,

Yet another "downstream" solution to a problem created "upstream." A lifestyle that includes strength training - especially core, quads, and ankles - will prevent most falls for elderly.

Nailed it.

I am beyond sick and tired of devices which fix symptoms and invite more laziness. Easy ways out, pills, motorized this that and the other, ANYTHING BUT ANYTHING BUT ANY DAMNED THING to avoid the work involved in giving us long, lasting, vibrantly good life.

That takes hard work.

My buddy Nurit Amichai is 75 this year. She doesn't just work hard at her own health. She is a life coach, health coach, just about everything else coach who focuses on getting people fully in all aspects of life.

About Nurit Amichai | For The Health Of It
I thought that eating well, working out and doing what I knew were the right things for my body was the best I could do for myself, and in part, it was.

Nurit, who is right in that cohort assumed to be incapable of walking at all, is in the business of redirecting those folks who really are tired of being told they are just old.

There are, as I love to bark, four basic pillars. Research bears me out: good food, and not much of it; movement, and a lot of it; good friends and a reason to locate your socks in the morning.

Miss one, you wobble. Miss more than that, like most Americans and Westerners these days, and you bloody well WILL fall over.

Back in 2014 I got the itch to learn how to roller blade. It didn't last long. I bought all the right gear, all the right padding. I still fell hard, busted my ass and gave it up for things I preferred to do. Like riding spicey horses.

Still fell. I fall regularly. Of course I do. But not the way the medical community assumes.

I quite intentionally fall off bridges, out of airplanes, sometimes off horses. That isn't intentional but it's rather inevitable if you ride a lot.

I fall a lot because I am active, but I train for it. You can bet your bottom dollar that it's rare that I will wear much more than a helmet. I did purchase a padded vest for riding after I broke my back in Kazakhstan, however it doesn't inflate.

You still have to be a better rider and tuck and roll and wear the damned helmet.

I'm seventy in January, too. The precise cohort for whom this stupidity is designed.

I am really tired of being asked how many times I've fallen in the last year. How many times have YOU fallen, sis? Was it from sports? Then by definition it  is NOT the kind of fall you're talking about.

This is a favorite topic of mine for several reasons. First, those who write about falls, especially those who specialize in physical therapy or kinesiology focus solely on how to better train the body so that we have great balance and strong legs.

Gary did too, above, but that's only part of the problem.

colorful drug mix
Photo by Myriam Zilles / Unsplash

This is my big beef: the American Sickness System (let's call it what it is) doesn't particularly want us to be well. If they did, they would ask us to list every single over-the-counter (OTC) drug we have at home, in our pockets, purses and anywhere else we have access to them.


Let's start with this.

If you are of any age, for that matter, and you aren't aware of the side effects of the meds you take, and your doctor is telling you that you're just getting older, slap the SOB in the face and walk out. (Not really, just making a point)

Then slap yourself for not taking responsibility for your own health. After all, our doctors largely won't. Our job.

Let's look at prescription meds:

10 Types of Medication That May Cause Falls in Aging
Learn about the 10 types of medication that experts recommend doctors review, to prevent falls. Aging adults should avoid these or use them carefully.

Meds, and that includes but is not limited to OTC medications as well as any herbal tinctures and cures you're on can all cause all kinds of interactions and symptoms that your time-crippled health care provider is likely to label "getting older."

If you mix what you think are "safe" OTC meds with the above prescriptions, look out. Just because you can get it without a prescription is meaningless.

Then, kindly.

Your doctor needs to know everything you're taking.

That means ALL of it, including your CBD, your herbal remedies, ALL OF IT.

If they ask you and you don't tell them, I have no mercy. Your body, your job to manage it and what goes into it.

Now. Are there going to be times and situations when you have to take more because of something specific, a disease or illness? Of course. That's not what I'm addressing here. This is when we keep right on taking meds we may no longer need, and every specialist adds something else without checking out everything we're ingesting. That includes food for food is indeed medicine.

Your body is unique to you. What worked for your Aunt Nelly who lived to 98 isn't necessarily going to work for you. That said, there are general guidelines. We start with those. The first and BEST advice is first, move move move move more. Second, food is medicine, we don't need so much of it, and for crying out loud ultra-processed food is killing us off.

Please see Metabolical, by Robert Lustig, MD, in case you doubt me.

Third, if you have mystery symptoms, here's an exercise for you. Create a list or spreadsheet. Write out all your symptoms. Then research every single med, herbal supplement, oil, OTC drug you're taking for side effects. See how many of those mystery symptoms aren't a mystery at all.

Worse, take your research further and look for drug interactions.

Chances are you're not "just old." Falling for you may well be because you're suffering from polypharmacy. Don't believe me:

Polypharmacy in the Elderly: Taking Too Many Medications Can Be Risky
The average senior takes four or more prescription drugs each day. Use these tips for responsible medication management to prevent adverse health outcomes from taking too many medications.

Five years ago I did that exercise myself. At the end of it I'd identified the cause of what one provider told me was my "just getting older:" my meds. I cycled off in three months.

Funny. ALL the symptoms abated. So you see, I'm a fan, because this worked for me, and I will bet my bottom dollar it might well work for you too. I still take meds for migraines, but as it turned out, all the rest were prescribed for a condition I didn't even have. Do this with supervision, please. Those meds I still take do not carry side effects, and there are only two of them.

So no, I wasn't just getting older.

Oh, how I wonder how widespread that is, most especially for women, and very much so for aging women. Men, too.

So if you don't want to fall, let's start upriver, shall we?

What are you doing for your body to ensure balance and strength?

What are you doing for your brain to ensure no drug-related befuddlement which some lazy doc calls "just getting older?"

What are you doing for your spirit, to ensure that you do NOT buy into the messaging, the doping, the demand that you and I buy into the lies about aging?

I know too many people who are aging well. None of it is luck. It's hard work, discipline, thoughtfulness, mindfulness, a willingness to challenge and draw boundaries with a medical community which is overworked, overtasked and over-compensated for drug sales vs. our vibrant health.

Fire those providers who do not support your best self. Keep shopping until you find the gems who align with you and push you towards your health goals.

You and I can't afford anything less.

For that is how we end up in the river, which only heads downstream and over the falls, where we fall.

I would prefer we all paddle over those falls, in shape, in control, and having the time of our very healthy lives. But that's just me.

Airbags for the elderly? Hell. NO.

Green cascade in Bridal Veil Falls | Instagram: @timmossholder
Photo by Tim Mossholder / Unsplash

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