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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Junk Food (08/30/12)

By James Dick


John Campbell was extremely stressed. He was working too hard and not eating right. His wife Sarah scolded him daily for not taking care of himself.

One morning, arising exhausted after little sleep, he realized that he must change his lifestyle. At forty-six, he was nearly the same age as his father when he died of a heart attack.

Finally listening to his wife, he scheduled an appointment with his family doctor for the following day.

Arriving at the doctor’s office, Dr. Johansen greeted him heartily. He said, “John, I’ve been reading about your good work turning around the large plant. But you wouldn’t be here if something wasn’t bothering you. Tell me what’s wrong.”

“Doctor Bill,” he said, “I feel stressed all the time and am not sleeping well. I really can’t slow down at work but I feel like it is going to kill me if I don’t make some changes. I don’t even have time to eat properly during the day.”

Dr. Bill also learned that John wasn’t exercising much, had little time to relax, and his only quality meal was at supper. Even that was a problem since he didn’t get home until eight. He was eating too close to bedtime.

Having a full service practice, Dr. Bill gathered blood samples, took his blood pressure, administered a stress test, and completed a general physical.

He was alarmed at the length of time for John’s heart rate to return to normal after the stress test. The test had definitely been tough for him. And his blood pressure was borderline, a sign of bad health lurking.

“John, I want you back for a follow-up next Monday when I’ll have test results. We’ll decide on a specific course of action then. For now, try to eat three good meals a day. Can you move up dinner time and cut back on snacks? Those snacks are wasted calories and full of fat.”

John thanked him and departed. Driving back to work, he worried about his health for the first time. A change in habits was necessary.

After John left, Dr. Bill called Sarah. He had been close to John since high school days and he correctly guessed that she was worried. He reassured her that things could be improved and gave her simple guidelines for diet and meal structure.

Sarah thanked him and said she would make him eat a healthy breakfast and would pack his lunch. She would adjust the dinner menu and serve earlier. She made it clear she would do what it takes to improve his health.
When John returned Monday, he chided Dr. Bill lightly saying, “So you called Sarah? I knew something was up when the menu changed.”

Dr. Bill laughed and said, “And how was it? Do you understand why I did?”

John nodded, knowing full well that without Sarah’s intervention nothing would change. She could be as immoveable as a rock when she made up her mind. But he admitted that better meal habits were having a positive impact.

Dr. Bill went over the findings. The stress test was alarming, blood pressure was elevated, and cholesterol, especially LDL, was dangerously high. Losing twenty unneeded pounds wouldn’t hurt either.

The icing on the cake was his reminder to John that he didn’t want to end up like his father. John remembered all too well. His dad died suddenly doing Saturday gardening while John, a teenager, watched helplessly.

John was now all ears. Before leaving, he and Doctor Bill designed a plan for exercise and nutrition that he would follow for now. They agreed to have a monthly follow-up to measure improvement.

On his way back to work he thought about the changes needed and how personal discipline would be the key. He said a prayer for God’s assistance.

So now the question for John was simple. Could he do it? Was his life worth it? It was up to him with the support of his wife and doctor.

John’s health situation has a striking similarity to several questions each of us must answer about our spiritual lives. Our direction forever will be decided by our answers.

Will we continue to fill our lives with junk food or accept the spiritual food of the Savior? Can we discipline ourselves to stay on course? Is eternal life worth it?

The answers will determine whether we live for eternity or die. The choice is ours to make with the help of Jesus. Choose wisely, friends.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 09/08/12
This is an interesting story. I will admit I thought you were talking about the country singer at first until I remembered it was Glenn not John. :) You did a nice job of developing an intriguing conflict that many can relate to today.

Your story would be more powerful if you did more showing and less telling. One way to do it would be to add dialog instead of telling the doctor called Sarah instead show the actual dialog. The other thing that I thought of his patient confidentiality. It would be unethical for the doctor to call Sarah and something he could even get sanctioned for.

With that said, I kind of miss the times when the doctors cared enough to act and attempt to really make a difference in their patient's life. Your story shows a compassion that we need to bring back into the world. Your ending was great and brought the story full circle. You covered the topic fully and delivered an important message or two in the process.
Sunny Loomis 09/12/12
Well stated. Thank you.