Heart Choices: 2008-08-24 -->

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McCain Chooses Sarah Palin as VP Candidate

Who is Sarah Palin? The news confirmed this morning that she will be Senator John McCain's VP running mate on the Republican ticket. I'm avidly reading and watching the news reports to find out more about Sarah Palin.

My first impressions were YES, the first woman in Republican history to be on the ticket. And then my next thoughts were: Is she qualified?

I just finished watching the TV broadcast as John McCain introduced Sarah Palin for the first time as his VP running mate. I felt very emotional as tears welled up in my eyes. I was surprised by them as I'm not one who cries easily. As I listened to her speak, I learned much about this woman.

Sarah Palin is a wife and mother of five children. Wow; five children! She is 44 years old and is a Washington outsider. She comes from a middle class family with parents who were teachers. She was a high school point guard and earned the nickname "Barracuda". She went from being a soccer mom, to serving on the PTA, the city council, mayor of her home town and then elected as the Governor of Alaska. She ran on a platform of reform; to stop wasteful spending. So far, so good.

I loved it when she introduced her family. She spoke with such respect for her husband, Todd. She seemed proud that he was a fisherman and also a production manager in the oil field. He's also a snow mobile racer. They're celebrating their 20th anniversary today. Her eldest son Track is in the US Army and will be deploying to Iraq on September 11th. He wasn't able to be in attendance for obvious reasons but her other four children were introduced as Bristol, Willow, Piper and Trig. Trig is just a baby and has Down's syndrome.

An article on About.com was forwarded to me this morning by my friend, Laurel. I learned that Sarah and Todd Palin were aware of their baby's condition prior to his birth. The following quote was released by the Palin family after the baby's birth and I found it in the article mentioned.

“Trig is beautiful and already adored by us. We knew through early testing he would face special challenges, and we feel privileged that God would entrust us with this gift and allow us unspeakable joy as he entered our lives. We have faith that every baby is created for good purpose and has potential to make this world a better place. We are truly blessed.”

This says so much to me; Sarah Palin is pro-life. I think she must be Super Woman and Super Mom too.

She mentioned that it has been 80 years since women gained the right to vote. She went on to honor the two women who made such great strides forward in politics; Geraldine Ferraro, the Democratic VP candidate in 1984 and Hillary Clinton. I liked her graciousness in acknowledging other women's accomplishments. Way to go!

Sarah Palin spoke about what's needed in Washington; grit, integrity and a fierce devotion to the common good. She also spoke of having a servant's heart as a leader. One other aspect I like.

Yes, I have much more to learn about her ability to serve in such an important position. I love to read and learn about all of the candidates from both parties. But so far, I believe Senator John McCain made a wise choice. (After all, this blog is about "choices".) There are 18 million voters who are Hillary Clinton supporters. Is it possible that some of them might switch party allegiance? I don't have that answer and will be watching.

In the meantime, happy birthday Senator McCain... and happy anniversary to the Palin's. They all have much to celebrate today!

Choose To Take Charge of Your Heart Health

Coronary heart disease is the single leading cause of death in the US today. According to the American Heart Association, this year 1.2 million Americans will have a first or a recurrent heart attack. About 452,000 of these people will die.

According to the CDC, the cost of heart disease and stroke in the US is projected to be greater than $448 billion in 2008. This figure includes the health care expenses and lost productivity from death and disability.

As our population ages, the economic impact of cardiovascular diseases on our healthcare system will only get worse. Staggering as that sounds, heart disease is largely preventable!

My background includes working as a cardiovascular nurse specialist for more than 20 something years. I have worked with many heart disease patients in a variety of settings. I've seen people's lives impacted by this deadly disease and I spent many hours teaching them how to prevent future problems. And yes, that's actually me in this picture (many moons ago).

Healthcare has changed so much over the years. It seems that doctors are seeing more patients in less time partly due to decreasing reimbursement. A concern for many people is the rising cost of healthcare and whether they will be able to afford health insurance in the future. In this election year, these are concerns that the Presidential candidates must address.

Although I can't solve all of these problems, I believe I can help in some way. The focus of this blog is how your day to day choices will determine what your tomorrows will become. Making healthier choices and sticking with them will positively affect your health, which should decrease your future healthcare costs.

I distributed a survey to patients in a cardiology practice to find out what people were most anxious about regarding their heart health. The overwhelming response was that people were less afraid of dying of a heart attack than they were of surviving one and being left in a condition where they were dependent on others and unable to take care of themselves. They wanted to continue to enjoy the things that brought them pleasure; whether that was work, golf, travel or simply playing with their children or grandchildren. They wanted a good quality of life, no matter how old they were. I can certainly understand and identify with this. I've seen too many people look forward to the "golden years" and retire but find themselves too weak and tired to enjoy life.

I want to write a series of blog posts that address ways to make healthier choices so we can have a healthier tomorrow. A few of the topics I will address include:

  • How to develop habits that promote better health
  • How to motivate yourself to change (and why it's hard)
  • What you need to do to make successful changes

If you struggle in specific areas, I welcome your comments. After all, I want this to be a two way communication tool and not a lecture. Let's make the choice to take better care of ourselves, which impacts body, mind and even spirit.

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