I’m a bit put off of late by all the ways “public health” limits the way my family can pursue our right to happiness.

Having just recently been quite ill, I think my privately insured self has a fresh perspective.

So, here’s my definition of public health.

If I’m sick, I think about why I am sick. Not enough rest? Inadequate nutrition? Change in a habit? Dehydration? Then I correct that issue first. But it won’t make me better right away.

• the average citizen looks for someone to blame, not oneself

So I think about what is making me feel poorly. Is it my head? Throat? Muscles? A fever? And I specifically address that first. Typically beginning with diet, then herbs, then homeopathic.

• the average citizen pops some pills and hopes for the best.

If I give those a fair shot (more than a few hours), then I consider conventional options. Do I want to go to the doctor? If I do what will I ask? How will I participate?

• the average citizen waits to be told what, when, and how to do what he’s told.

Then after going to the doctor (or in my case, a favorite NP) I take the information the doctor shared before just using the med.

• the average citizen just follows the directions on the label and never even opens the insert.

This is my public health. I don’t just race to the physician the moment I am uncomfortable. Some would say that I wait too long. Perhaps I have before. But I didn’t do so passively. I did so while actively working to solve the problem. MY problem. I wasn’t in a hurry to fix it and get back on the line or my kid back in school.

Oh, but I’m privileged because I don’t work away from home. Yes. And no. I *choose* to be home. We *choose* for me to be here so that there is no reason to rush through what life is.

I am a wife first. Then a mother. And, yes, I do believe these are the roles for which women are created. And yes, I do believe that my service to our family, in sickness and in health, is a service to the public’s health. What is better for the public than a healthy, respectful, honorable future in the children reared in the way Nature creates them? That’s my definition of public health.

• the average citizen? He’s just waiting to be directed in his next step from cradle to grave…

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