I've mentioned before that the gym where Ryan and I work out, Anytime Fitness, is right next door to Chen's Buffet. Yep, right next door. To a Chinese buffet. Seems like cruel and unusual punishment to me. Well, it did, anyway, until I changed my way of thinking.
You see, on the other side of Chen's is U.S. Renal Care, a dialysis clinic. Every time I go to the gym, I see the Chinese buffet and the dialysis clinic. Now, my workout happens before sun-up or it just might not happen, so I seldom see Chen's during their open hours. But that clinic is another story. It opens pretty early in the morning.
I barely noticed U.S. Renal Care when I first started Boot Camp. Mainly because I'm barely awake when I get there. Over the past few months, however, I've noticed it more and more. There are people going into the dialysis clinic for treatments starting around 5:30am. Every day. To have their blood filtered by a machine, because their kidneys just won't do it anymore. Some have friends or relatives who drive them there. Others ride the Go Bus, a rural public transportation system.
Now, I don't know the people I see going into there and I don't know their stories. But I know mine. And I know that I don't ever want any chapter or page or paragraph or sentence of my crazy life story to include "that time when I was hooked up to the kidney machine." From what I understand, that whole dialysis process is just no fun, and I'm just not down with that.
There are many reasons why someone would have kidney failure. Just check Web MD - they have lists and lists of symptoms and causes. Some of those reasons are things that can't be prevented, simply because things just happen. Other reasons, heart problems, high blood pressure and obesity, among others, can be prevented just by paying attention to one's health. This is where my way of thinking has changed. I believe, with proper nutrition and adequate exercise, the kidney machine and I will not become acquaintances. And I believe that I'm going to work really hard to stay out of that clinic.
These days, I get plenty of exercise. I haven't smoked the cigarettes in eight years. I have reduced my Dr Pepper intake to about one per month. I drink beer, wine and spirits, but not too much. Although it is a constant battle, I'm trying improve my nutrition. I don't go to Chen's anymore. I keep my stress levels pretty low. These are lifestyle changes that I have decided to make to improve my quality of life for now and for my future.
So, I'll keep what's behind Door Number Three. And I'll leave the buffet and the clinic for the next contestant.