We are a strange bunch of people. Until we let things get so bad that we can’t tolerate it any more, most of us don’t do anything to make them better.
It’s typical for those of us with diabetes that we let our health get almost completely out of balance before we begin to control it. Fortunately, most of us are able to make use of the amazing recouperative powers that our bodies have so that we can take control before we completely destroy our health.
So many people with diabetes have told me over the years that they are healthier now than they were before they knew they had diabetes. I know that’s true for me too.
Generally, we begin to eat little and exercise much when we learn that we have diabetes. These are the same basic requirements that everyone has to maintain his or her health. Ironically, it was our diabetes diagnosis that taught us how to be healthy.
It’s not just those of us with diabetes who play this game of roulette with our lives. It’s part of our national character.
In my reading about the American Revolution I just came across perhaps the first general expression of this concept. Fittingly, it was a doctor who put it into words.
Benajmin Rush was the only physician to sign our Declaration of Independence. He thought that the success of the American Revolution grew from our defeats early in our war of independence. Dr. Rush wrote that we refuse to deal with difficult problems until they became nearly impossible.
In 1780 he wrote to John Adams that, “We require adversity and appear to possess most of the republican spirit when most depressed” (Letters of Benjamin Rush, edited by L.H. Butterfield, Princeton University Press, 1951, Vol. 1, page 253).
We’ve always had to go to the brink of disaster before waking up.