If Santa Claus was my patient

Monday, December 12, 2016

Santa Claus

By Elizabeth Ziemann, M.D., NCH Medical Group, Family Practice

I love Santa Claus. However, as a doctor, I can’t help but be a little concerned about some of his riskier behaviors. If Santa was my patient, I’d raise a few red flags.

  • Mr. Kringle, smoking a pipe really is no safer than smoking cigarettes. It can contribute to heart disease, stroke, and chronic lung disease. And, I’d hate to see you light your beard on fire!
  • Staying out all night is definitely not healthy. Studies show that older adults need six to eight hours of sleep each night.
  • I know many people find your “little round belly that shakes when you laugh like a bowlful of jelly” endearing. However, I’d like to see you begin a diet and exercise plan for 2017. Why not gift yourself with an NCH Wellness Center membership?
  • I cannot condone dangerous behavior like climbing on roofs or bounding down chimneys at your age. I don’t want to cramp your style, but are you at risk for a fall?
  • Your rosy cheeks may not just be a sign of good health. Have you had your blood pressure checked lately? How many alcoholic beverages do you normally have in one week?
  • I’m concerned the weight of your pack is causing your posture to suffer. Studies show that wearing a heavy backpack can cause backaches and more.
  • This is a delicate subject, I know, but should you still be driving at your age? Do you have a current driver’s license? When was the last time you had your eyes checked?
  • Have you ever considered handing over ‘the reigns’ to one of your more senior elves? I don’t mean you should retire, just share the responsibilities a bit. Pace yourself! Consider FedEx or UPS.

Santa, you have brought so much joy to children of all ages, and we want you around for a long time. Take care of yourself, and, listen to Mrs. Claus. After all, women make 80 percent of the healthcare decisions for their family!

Happy holidays to all.

P.S. Don’t forget your flu shot.

  • Elizabeth Ziemann



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