Being a #HealthyDad is making sure that my body and time don’t team-up against me. Thanks to some modern technology. I caught a real issue before it was too late. Paying attention, seeing my doctor, and using my insurance properly has saved my life. Take that, Time!
Dad Health: How a Fit Bit saved my life
Being a #HealthyDad is making sure that my body and time don’t team-up
against me. Thanks to some modern technology. I caught a real issue before it
was too late. Paying attention, seeing my doctor, and using my insurance properly
has saved my life. Take that, Time!
Here’s my story:
This past summer, I bought a new tech gadget called a "fit
Bit". This simple device is a bracelet that helps track your daily activities
such as the calories your burn and steps you take every day. Another nice
feature is the ability to download the app on your phone and see your weekly
progress on the phone screen. Another subtle, but important feature on the fit
bit is its ability to track your sleep patterns.
This past summer, I had my annual check-up. As a father of
three children, I know how important it is for me to stay healthy and enjoy my
life at 50. I now have two kids in college and one just starting high school;
so I am now enjoying more of "my time" and less time being a "Dad Taxi". This year’s
checkup involved my colonoscopy as well as a full-scale checkup. When the
conversation came up with my doctor about my quality of sleep, I had mentioned
my new "Fit Bit" and shared the app information on my phone to him. The look on
his face was alarming.
My doctor asked me if I snored a lot. I said, "Does a bear
poop in the woods?" He smiled and said, "RJ, this is serious. We got to get you
in for a sleep study. It looks like your snoring is causing you to hold your
breath during your sleep, and that’s not good."
The Sleep Study
Based on the patterns that my doctor was seeing, I was given
an immediate appointment to have a sleep study. This study is an overnight
appointment where a bunch of wires are plugged in all over the body and "night
vision" cameras are mounted in a "hotel room" like atmosphere. I had tubes
coming in and out of my mouth and nose. It was a surprised that I ever fell
asleep, but I did and the results told me that I was not getting enough oxygen
during my sleep. The snoring didn’t help, but there was something more that was
going on inside me that they couldn’t determine just yet. I had one more
appointment to see a specialist to go over my study report and look at my
options for the best possible results.
"As we get older, gravity takes over…" That was the quote I
borrowed from my ENT specialist who basically summed up what was going on
inside of me during my sleep. It appears that having good, overall health makes
me one of worst patients to diagnose. My heart health, cholesterol, blood
pressure and other diagnostics have above normal readings. What seems to be the
culprit is age and gravity…
I am 50 years old. The skin in the back of my throat is
collapsing which is causing a smaller airway to breathe through. In addition,
I never had my tonsils taken out as a kid. Couple the fact that I had three
broken noses during my high school soccer career and that leaves me with a
In summary, I am heading for surgery next month for a "tummy
tuck" on my throat as well as a tonsillectomy, and nasal surgery to repair my
deviated septum. This all started with a "Fit Bit" report that I shared with my
doctor during my annual checkup. My recommendation to any Dad out there is to
be mindful of your sleep patterns. What you may think is harmless snoring can
lead up to bigger problems that go unnoticed. In my opinion, the "Fit Bit"
along with an engaged physician is what saved my life.
XY Media sponsored a #HealthyDad video contest on Facebook
and a bunch of healthy dads won some awesome prizes. Check it out: https://www.facebook.com/healthydads.
Thanks to Anthem Blue Cross who sponsored the
#HealthyDad campaign and for including dads in this important discussion about
family health care. My views are based solely on my experience as a parent, and
not as a medical professional.
Richard “RJ” Jaramillo, is the Founder of SingleDad.com,
a website and social media resource dedicated to single parenting and specifically for the newly divorced, re-married, widowed and single Father with children.
RJ is self employed, entrepreneur living in San Diego and a father of three children. The mission of SingleDad is to help the community of Single Parents
“Make Life Happen…Again!”