The Plumber and the Mechanic

Let me tell you a story: Once upon a time, there lived a plumber and a mechanic. They were neighbors. The plumber fixed clogged sinks. He sat and waited for customers to call, complaining of clogged sinks. And they do. One by one they knock on his door, each sounding more frantic than the other. “Help! There’s water overflowing everywhere!” cries one customer. “Mr. Plumber, you must come immediately, or else it will be too late.” Wails another. There’s panic in their voices, warbling with utmost urgency. These days the plumber’s business is really good.

On the other hand, the plumber’s neighbor, the mechanic, spends his days servicing cars. He tuned up vehicles on a periodic manner. The same cars come on a timely routine for checks, tuning, and oil changes. Sometimes he even indulges customers by giving their cars a fresh coat of paint, when it was requested. He rarely had to do major reworks, unless of course, those cars had suffered serious damages and required a total overhaul. Whenever his customers bring their cars to him, they drive up to his workshop smiling. He asks them how their day is, and they beam. “Everything is great, Mr. Mechanic,” comes their jovial response. “My car is running beautifully too. I just want to make sure it is in tip-top shape.”

What do you think the story is all about? Which industry does the plumber and mechanic each represent? Yes, you are right. The plumber might be a thinly veiled representation of the massive sickness industry, more popularly known as the healthcare industry.The lesser known alternative of the healthcare industry, the small but budding wellness industry, is symbolized by the mechanic.

Treat Your Body like Your Car

As you can see, customers seek the plumber when there is already damage done that requires fixing. A burst pipe with water spraying all over the place needs to be addressed pretty much the same way as a ruptured artery, at least in theory. You try your best to apply damage control and pray it works, depending on the severity of the damage. A plumber’s job involves finding new parts to swap damaged ones, removing debris, cleaning up the mess, and if you are lucky, he won’t tell you that you need to replace the soiled wooden floors resultant of the water spill. The plumber’s job is not unlike the surgeon performing surgery on a patient with that burst artery. Both do what they do best to treat damage that has already occurred. If the patient is equally lucky, he would not sustain lasting injury to his other organs or parts of the body from that heart related mishap. Results are never guaranteed, and it would certainly cost more than if it never happened in the first place; monetary wise too.

The mechanic works quite in the opposite way. His job is to maintain cars at optimum conditions, for the very purpose of making sure that they run in perfect conditions at all times. Cars that he services on a timely manner runs low on the risk of breaking down in the middle of nowhere, or surface with unpredictable dilemmas when the driver least expects it. In addition they are a joy to drive! No rattles, no shifty gears, no temperamental air- conditioning.

It is the same with our health. Wouldn’t it be great if we maintained our health the same way we maintained our cars? Sending in ourselves for checks and tuning even when there are no breakdowns? Then we can really benefit from a body, mind and soul that has no boundaries and limitations to what we would like to do and can accomplish, every single day. Like a perfectly kept car, it can take us wherever we want to go, whenever we want. Isn’t that a marvelous taught? It is yours if you want it.

I firmly stand by the old adage of prevention being better than cure. It is cheaper for sure. Research supports this. However we still live in a world where caretakers and medical practitioners make little or no money to make sure people stayed healthy. The sad truth is cancers and other chronic illnesses generate the most money in long term treatments. But instead of blaming the realities of profitability and its resultant preference for disease treatment instead of disease prevention, why don’t we take up the cue for accountability towards what happens to ourselves? The onus then, is really up to you and I. We really do need to step up and claim responsibility for what is truly ours: our precious health. Let’s seek that mechanic more frequently, and make sure that we too, are consistently in tip-top shape. As for the plumber, let’s do what we can to make sure we don’t see him too often.

Adapted from Wellness, Health and Sickness

Live Long Live Well

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