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November 2006: Be Thankful for...



            The harvest is in and we have enjoyed a fairly dry, temperate summer.  Now we prepare for two major holidays – Thanksgiving and a spiritual celebration (Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa).

            November is about family and friends.  It’s often about food!  We prepare for Thanksgiving with joy as we recall the first nonnative settlers needing the assistance of natives in order to survive the winter.

            With all this concentration on cooking and eating, it’s no wonder this is American Diabetes Month!  On November 14, we celebrate World Diabetes Day.  Let’s try to understand what this disease is and how to keep healthy while coping with it. 

            National Family Caregivers Month reminds us about those of us who must care for someone at home who requires extra attention.  This could be a parent with Alzheimer’s living with you and your family for whom you must care.  Or it could be a special needs child.  Keep these wonderful souls in mind in November, for these roles are difficult and draining but not without joy.

            From the 13th to the 19th of November, we must celebrate what the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation calls “World Kindness Week”.  Do one randomly kind thing for a stranger… and see how your mood lifts with that person’s returned smile!

            Of course, every November we attempt tobacco cessation with our friends and family.  On November 16th this year (always the Thursday of the week before Thanksgiving) it’s the Great American Smokeout!  Take those cigarettes or chewing tobacco and toss ‘em!

            Finally, we often forget “history” when we go to a new health care provider and have those history forms to complete.  By “history”, of course, we mean family health history.  Take some time this November to put in writing on an index card your grandparents’, parents’, siblings’, your own and your children’s health histories – from cancer to heart disease to surgeries to broken bones and births.  It may be the thing that saves a life later on.

            Finally, November 23rd of 2006 starts a long campaign by Mothers Against Drunk Driving (it goes to January 1st, 2007) called, “Tie One On For Safe Driving”.  Tie a red ribbon onto your car to symbolize how you feel about driving while impaired.