April 2, 2001
Debra Wood, R.N.
s we women pilot
through life, health choices constantly present themselves. We're
bombarded every day at a feverish pace with an array of alternatives.
Some occur so hastily and subtly we don't consciously ponder our
options. But still they exist.
By Debra Wood, R.N.
Once upon a time, not so long ago, most of us didn't think too
much about medical-treatment decisions. Sage doctors willingly stepped
forward and pronounced the best course of action. These days, however,
Dr. Marcus Welby practices only in celluloid heaven.
The medical professionals most of us depend on expect patients
to assume more responsibility for their health and to play a more
active role in deciding what their care will be. Overall, I believe
the shift in control empowers patients and offers possibilities
for improved physical and emotional well-being.
But in order to make good health decisions, we must deftly weigh
the risks and benefits of all available options -- and for that
we need accurate, timely information. After more than two decades
as a registered nurse, I've come to accept that medicine is not
a perfect science. Receiving excellent health care presents a formidable
challenge, even for those of us who fluidly speak the lingo, relate
to front-line care providers' frustrations, and thrive on the quest
for solutions to persistent puzzles.
Each of us must take the initiative to stay abreast of the rapidly
expanding sphere of scientific knowledge, especially in areas of
personal concern. We have the opportunity to be our own best advocates,
to make the most of short office visits, to ask the right questions,
and to determine the best course of action for our bodies and our
Big or small, well thought through or spur of the moment,
our health and wellness decisions affect the quality of
our days and nights.
I like to think of myself as a savvy health-care consumer and hope
to make you one as well. I plan to share my knowledge and experience
with my readers, just as I once did face-to-face with my patients.
I aim to make women's health and wellness engaging, entertaining,
and easy to understand. I want to start you thinking, spark your
interest in making wise choices, empower you with knowledge, and
increase your awareness about how being women ups our odds for a
variety of conditions and alters the type of care we receive. I'll
discuss everything from contraception, dieting, and depression to
osteoporosis, hormones, and heart disease.
Big or small, well thought through or spur of the moment, our health
and wellness decisions affect the quality of our days and nights.
Whether something as mundane as opting to stay up late to finish
the laundry rather than catching some needed shut-eye or as life
altering as switching careers to accommodate a not-so-hearty body,
we feel better about our choices when we're fully aware of the trade-offs.
Healthy habits and thoughtful determinations may help us live longer,
but the true essence and beauty of conscious decision-making lies
in creating a happier, more comfortable present, focused on appreciating
each day. Join me on a journey through women's health issues as
I share with you information to make life more energetic, healthy,
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Wood is a registered nurse and health writer living in Orlando, Florida.
Debra calls on more than two decades of nursing experience to effectively
communicate medical topics to lay and professional audiences.