New Year, New Methods!


Last year’s January article was entitled New Year, New You! The article’s main point was for readers to become more involved in their personal health. In 2014, health care changes bring even more reasons that we should be involved in taking care of our selves. However, there’s a twist. It requires a vested interest in a new partnership.

I’m an optimist. While I have yet to speak to a single physician that believes the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will improve health care in the United States; I hold the hope that we may actually be able to make a little progress toward better health care. As a United States Air Force flight surgeon, I find similarities between the system the ACA proposes and the system that we use to take care of our military members and veterans. As both a current military member and a veteran, I have been able to experience the services provided within both systems and have been satisfied with my health care.

Does my satisfaction have anything to do with knowing that I could trust the system to ensure that my annual wellness visits, my blood work, and required exams were taken care of? Not a bit! My satisfaction came from knowing that my vested interest kept the train on the tracks. I learned the hard way that I always needed to keep a copy of any military record. More than once I had to produce my copy to ensure that I wasn’t charged for an item that I had returned to the supply sergeant or to prove that I had received the required immunization. Our systems will always be fallible. We will always need to take a personal interest to ensure that our concerns are well represented. After all, who cares more about you than you? (Okay, your mother may be an exception, but it is doubtful that she will be involved in your healthcare).

New Year, New Methods. We have all tried things in the past that haven’t worked very well. Call any gym in the world and ask when their membership picks up. January! The gym is always crowded the first 2-3 weeks of January as the New Year’s resolutioners try again to desperately make changes that haven’t been possible in the past. Sure, there are a few folks that will still be present as winter turns into spring, but the majority of the new members will have given up. Why? Change is difficult!

We need to change more than just the surface level. For change to survive it has to be systemic. Systemic change requires help. Going to the gym on your own hasn’t worked in the past, so find a personal trainer. Kicking that habit didn’t happen, so enlist the aid of a life coach or counselor. You weren’t able to keep the weight off on your own, so get professional help!

I would like to say that my military training and background prepared me to go it alone and do well throughout life. I was certainly well prepared to stand on my own through any manner of difficulty. I appreciated the camaraderie and fellowship that is difficult to achieve outside the military. However, it wasn’t until I got married that I truly appreciated the value of having someone that would always have my back.

The New Year is an opportunity for change. Stale marriage? Invest more time with your spouse and change it! Stale sex life? Work on improving your libido and spice things up! Stale body? Shape it!

Enlist someone else’s help. Going it alone hasn’t worked well in the past. Try partnering with someone else!

Disclaimer: Dr Stephen Rath, MD, DABA is a board certified anesthesiologist, Air Force flight surgeon, FAA AME, paramedic, ski patroller, and pilot as well as the owner and medical director of Fusion Medical Spa located in Ruidoso, NM. He is very fortunate to have found a loving partner that doesn’t complain while she puts up with his other interests. Comments or questions? His email address is: