In November of 2008, Governor Paterson of New York State announced that state aid to schools and hospitals would be cut sharply, and as a result thousands of state workers would be asked to defer five days of pay under an emergency deficit reduction plan. Other states quickly followed suite with similar plans, including South Carolina, where the National Association For Continence (NAFC) is headquartered.
While we may be facing the worst economic crisis in this country since the Great Depression, as many have decried, it seems illogical to cut the foundation of our country's welfare and the very soil that sustains our well-being, namely education and healthcare.
As much as we recognize that we cannot tax our way out of this crisis, as Kenneth Adams, chief executive of the Business Council of New York State pronounced, it is also ill-founded thinking that we can allow an avulsion of our very soul and sustenance.
Something is terribly wrong when we fight foreign wars without a future, but we don't educate our own children or care for our chronically ill and infirmed. Yes, this nation has elected a new President but there are so many priorities and so many conflicts facing him. How will we come out from beneath the battle on foreign soil, the war on Wall Street, the war on cancer, the protectionist war on terrorism, and the war on ignorance, just to name a few?
For the answer, let's bring the challenge closer to home, to the heart of NAFC's mission: to educate the public about the causes, diagnoses, symptoms, treatment options, and management opportunities associated with bladder and bowel control problems, voiding dysfunction such as retention, nocturia, and related pelvic floor disorders such as prolapse. In times of cutbacks, job losses, and lack of insurance coverage, it behooves all of us to become even better educated and equipped to serve as our own health advocates.
NAFC just published a new brochure for women on non-surgical options for treating stress urinary (SUI) incontinence. A large part of the advice in the brochure is behavioral in nature: losing excess weight that is directly associated with SUI, smoking cessation to eliminate the chronic cough that exerts pressure on the bladder causing it to leak, and faithfully doing pelvic floor muscle exercises and learning how to do them correctly with biofeedback and electrical nerve stimulation. You can request a copy by visiting the NAFC web site: http://www.nafc.org/online-store/educational-leaflets/education-for-women/
Of course, we need to still look to the government for strengthening the overarching infrastructure of our educational and healthcare delivery systems. And to defend our borders and protect us against terrorism. But the most valuable actions we can take as a nation begin right at home, with each individual and the priorities we place on our own self-care.
Published On: December 28, 2008