This past Thursday my wife and I stopped at the Ludlow rest stop on the Mass Pike. We needed a late lunch or early supper, and Boston Market has reasonably healthy choices available. We shared our meal; what Boston Market considers an meal for one person is more than enough to feed both of us, though I suspect most Americans probably don't think it's enough for even one person.
As we finished our meal, a man about our age (mid to late fifties or so) collapsed to the floor. At first, people just thought he had tripped or perhaps fainted and were trying to help him up, but quickly realized that he was not breathing. There was a first year medical student in the crowd and she determined that he had no pulse. Fortunately she and another student had CPR equipment in their car, which they rushed to get while other people called 911. While we all waited for the police and ambulance, these two valiantly tried chest compression and resuscitation. A surgeon joined them at some point and helped also, but they couldn't get a pulse and couldn't seem to get air into his lungs.
The ambulance eventually arrived. I don't know why I had to yell at other people to help me hold the doors so that the EMT's could get in that much quicker - seconds count when someone isn't breathing or pumping blood - but never mind that. People are stupid, I understand. I don't understand the ones who were so stupid as to crowd around peering into the scene as the EMT's attemted to use a defibrillator, and I don't understand why I had to call for door help again as they took him out on the stretcher.
I don't know whether this man lived or died. He was a long time without heart-beat, and I don't know how much compression can make up for that. I'm sure it didn't help that this man had the enormous pot-belly typical on so many American men. I don't know why he collapsed; it may have had nothing to do with his weight. But it can't help, can it?
And then, as we walked to our car, we noticed several of the crowd that had been watching waddling back to their own cars. We couldn't help thinking that each of these overweight and obviously out of shape people could themselves be surrounded by EMT's and gaping on-lookers.
Computer folk often have sedentary lives. Some of the brightest people I know are the most stupid about their own health. Your body needs exercise. It doesn't have to be extreme; twenty minutes of relaxing walking is something almost everyone can do and even that little bit can make a difference in your health. As to overweight, yes, I know that some people have glandular problems or genetic predispositions to weight gain. Surely ALL the enormous people I see don't have these excuses, do they?
Please: take care of yourself. Watch what you eat, and how much you eat. Do at least a little walking every day. You'll feel better, you'll even think better, and you'll be with us longer.
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