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Thanksgiving – A Tough Year to Give Thanks

Thanksgiving is usually a time for families to gather together and remember the things we are thankful for. Instead, as the pandemic rages, many states are encouraging their citizens to not gather with anyone that lives outside of their house. What kind of Thanksgiving is this going to be?

I’m not going to tell everyone to soldier on, we’ve done about as much soldiering as we can stand. We’ve been avoiding getting together with our loved ones for almost 9 months and now, on the one day of the year when we all look forward to gathering with our loved ones, we are asked to keep to ourselves. In the vernacular of a younger generation, “this stinks,” or something like that. So . . . what do we do? What can possibly be salvaged from this terrible situation. I’m going to talk about two things that might help us as we strive to get through this tough time.

My first suggestion is, be grateful. We finally have some good news and can finally begin to see a time when this will all be over. The recent great news concerning two vaccines gives us hope that the virus will be contained. We have hope that by next Thanksgiving we will again be able to gather. How grateful we should be that our healthcare system continues to rise to the challenge of this pandemic. How grateful we should be that we will probably have an approval of two vaccines sometime next month and that they could be 95% effective. At the beginning of the pandemic, no one at the CDC had any hope that a vaccine would be developed this fast and would be this effective. In keeping with our healthcare theme, showing gratitude, according to one spiritual leader, “is a fast-acting and long-lasting spiritual prescription.” Showing gratitude is an excellent way to keep us positive.

There is another thing we can do this Thanksgiving that could have a long lasting and lifesaving impact on our families. Thanksgiving Day is National Family Health History Day. This is an ideal day for assessing the health risks for illnesses known to run in your families. Here’s a couple of reasons why we should share and document this family health assessment:  

  1. Some family members may have died young

If you have chronic conditions that run in your family, it’s important to discuss the family’s health history, especially if there were family members who died before the conditions became evident.

  • Many families tend to get these diseases

The most common conditions that occur in families are heart disease, diabetes, and cancer (including colon, stomach, endometrium, lung, bladder, breast, and skin) as well as high blood pressure.

The CDC has a great web page (click here) on how to collect and how to act on your family health history. This information could be invaluable as you and your doctor work to diagnose and effectively treat you or your loved ones. It could guide the doctor to look for specific conditions prior to them becoming a big health problem.

Now, you may ask, how can I do this great thing when our Thanksgiving gatherings are going to be small or non-existent? Well, consider this, use zoom or some other video conferencing software to virtually gather your family together. Tell them what you are planning and why and give them some time to gather information. A big requirement of these health information meetings is to document the results. By recording the session, you can ensure that you (or your assigned recorder) can go back and review the recording to ensure you don’t miss anything of importance.

This Thanksgiving will be different, but if we step back and think of the things that we are grateful for and then share those thoughts with those around us, we can create some positive vibes for us and those around us, and, if we document our family health history we will create a valuable tool that could have life changing impacts on those we love. We really could have some things to be thankful for and, best of all, we could have something positive to say when someone asks us how we spent the COVID Thanksgiving of 2020.

Stay healthy, Thair