Un-sick?

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Contributing Editor Walt Pickut
Contributing Editor Walt Pickut

Here’s a conversation I’ve never heard:

“Hi pal, how you doing?”
“I’m un-sick today, thank you for asking.”

Get the point? Un-sick is better than sick, for sure. But just not being sick isn’t good enough, is it? It’s not as good as being well. I mean really well.

But wellness is a funny thing. Even the word Wellness barely existed in the English language before the early 1950s. But today, the word is used 10,000 times more often than it was back then. Check it out for yourself at: books.google.com/ngrams.

Before modern medicine and public sanitation were widespread, most people were probably either sick or not sick. Only the very wealthy or the rare, far-sighted “physical culture” enthusiast even thought of anything beyond being just okay, beyond just not being sick. Un-sick was just fine.

So what is wellness, if it’s such a new idea? Wellness is as far above “I’m okay” as sickness is below it. Wellness is the highest state of health. So if you’re okay now, how much wellness would you like to add on top of that?

This week, your Jamestown Gazette reminds all of our readers that August is National Wellness Month and we also bring you some good news about immunizations. We’re asking our readers: “How much better than “just okay” would you like to be?”

Here’s what wellness will give you. Wellness makes you more resilient, better at bouncing back from whatever knocks you down. Wellness makes you less vulnerable, less susceptible to sickness and stress. Wellness gives you the strength you need when you need more strength than you think you have. Wellness makes you confident.

See how much better wellness can be than simply living un-sick? And best of all, you do not need a prescription for wellness.

It is a blessing of modern medicine when a doctor can make you un-sick. But then the next step up to wellness is in your hands and there are no mysteries to that. First, stop doing things that make you sick—and you already know what they are—then start doing more of the things that make you well—and those are no mysteries there, either.

But wellness, unlike medicine, cannot be given to you. Use the resources of National Wellness Month and get yourself on track for the wellness you want.
There is, however one exception to the do-it-yourself method of wellness. It’s one of modern medicine’s greatest contributions to keeping you well.

Planet Earth is full of dangerous things. Some of them are germs and viruses. Vaccinations and immunizations save millions of lives every year by keeping people from ever becoming sick. They never have to become un-sick from something that simply can’t make them sick.

And for folks who distrust vaccines, we know the world will never be perfectly safe, but viruses are the deadlier alternative. Consider polio. At its peak in the 1940s and 1950s, polio paralyzed or killed more than half a million people every year. Polio vaccine has now reduced that to nearly zero worldwide. And people who don’t catch it, cannot spread it. Vaccine is safer than the polio virus.

Then there’s rabies. If a rabid dog bites you, the rabies virus will kill you with 100 percent certainty without the rabies vaccine. Some diseases are milder, but still more dangerous than their prevention.

So, this week, your Jamestown Gazette wishes all of our readers wellness far beyond un-sickness.

Enjoy the read.

Walt Pickut

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Walt Pickut
Walt Pickut’s writing career began with publishing medical research in1971 while working at the Jersey City Medical Center and the NYU Hospital and School of Medicine. Walt holds board registries in respiratory care and sleep technology as well as bachelor's degrees in biology and communication, and a master's degrees in physiology from Fairleigh-Dickinson University in New Jersey, with additional graduate work in mass communication completed at SUNY Amherst. He currently teaches Presentational Speaking in the Houghton College PACE program at JCC and holds memberships in the Society of Professional Journalists and the American Society of Business Publication Editors. He lives in Jamestown with his wife Nancy, an MSW social worker, and has three children: Dr. Cait Lamberton in Pittsburgh, Bill Pickut, a marketing executive in Chicago, and Rev. Matt Pickut in Plymouth, IN.