If you take your eyes over to the right side of this page you will see that I am a certified group fitness instructor, personal trainer, and that I am a Registered Respiratory Therapist. Though I haven’t been practicing respiratory since our move to London, I continue to keep up my continuing education units, my RT license, and sometimes miss my days helping people breathe a little easier.
People often ask what an RT does. I feel like I have done a lot in my decade practicing. I have worked in the ER, the NICU, and all Intensive Care Units. I have also done a few years in home health care/hospice work, sleep medicine, as well as pulmonary rehabilitation. Each area is unique and offers a variety of challenges and rewards.
As an RT, (and any other health care profession out there), I have seen a lot. I have seen doctors crack chests open to save lives and people die of gun shot wounds. I have performed CPR more times than I can count, and have pulled life support off of terminally ill patients. I have comforted families of hospice and helped asthmatic and pneumonia patients. I have seen birth, sick kids, managed ventilatory support, and have had doctors screaming at me from inches away from my face. I have attended wakes for deceased patients I became close to, and celebrated with others who got better. Being an RT was a stressful job, but always gave me a sense of accomplishment despite even the worst of days.
As someone who has seen sickness, disease, and the results these circumstances can bring on, I am even more passionate about taking care of the body. One of my biggest frustrations as an RT was noncompliance. It is so difficult for me to understand why a person would choose not to take care of themselves. For example, if someone was told that they had Type II Diabetes, and by moving more and changing eating habits could not only feel better, but maybe even reverse the disease and manage it without medications, why wouldn’t a person say, Yes! I am in! You wouldn’t believe the amount of noncompliance that goes on around such conditions that can improve with lifestyle changes like diabetes, heart disease, and COPD.
Not all people are healed, but many at least have a much better quality of life. Despite the opportunity to feel better, many refuse to put in even minimal efforts toward their health. Dealing with this frustration was an area that I had to grow in by offering gentle coaching, and ultimately letting go and allowing patients to make their own choices.Even as a personal trainer I struggle with similar frustrations. I have people hire me for training and health coaching, paying me for my services. Together we work SO hard. But there is only so much I can do. Ultimately, when I am not with them, they make their own choices. At the end of the day, you can pay me for all of the training and coaching you want. However, after that hour together, you have 23 more to try to make health conscious decisions, and that is 100% in your control. I wish I could help more, but that just isn’t how it works.Yes, there is A LOT we can each do to take responsibility of our health and wellness. No matter, even the fittest, healthiest, strongest people get attacked by disease and distress. At the end of the day so much is actually out of our hands. Over the years of patient care and fitness training I have recognized that so much goes into the choices we make-so much more than willpower. We are all dealing with emotions, pain, belief systems, stress levels, and more. However, generally speaking, my habitude toward this issues is: while I look at the fact that there is so much I cannot control, why wouldn’t I strive to do my best with what I can? I can move, be active, and exercise. I can make healthier food choices.
Tell me what holds you back? What are your roadblocks? What stops you from making healthy choices? For me it is usually fear, time, and negative self talk. Are there any others for you?