I was driving my middle son to wrestling practice the other night when I noticed my truck just didn’t sound right. We had just picked her up from the dealership’s service center the day before. The truck was just about to go off warranty and we weren’t planning to extend it, so we were getting some minor work done that was still covered.
As I drove the seven miles from my home to the neighborhood Boys and Girls Club, I tried to figure out what the sound could possibly be, even though I know nothing about cars. I tried to mimic the sound, but I couldn’t. I tried to find words to describe it because I knew the first question my husband would ask, “What does it sound like?” I couldn’t. It wasn’t loud and obvious like a muffler. The sound was more subtle… more of a shallow rumble. The only reason I probably noticed it so soon is because I spend so much time on the road. As the mother of four children, I sometimes spend more time in my car taxiing my children to their activities than I do at home… wrestling practice, football practice, karate lessons, music lessons and the list goes on. My truck and I have become well acquainted over the two years we’ve owned her. I know how she usually hums when we’re on Route 50 West heading towards the beltway. I know how she handles the constant stop and go when we’re navigating through the streets of D.C. as I head to work. I know she just didn’t sound right.
I dreaded the thought of going back to the service center which is 30 miles from our home. I dreaded the thought of sitting in the waiting area drinking weak coffee out of a styrofoam cup, while watching CNN’s repetitive headlines on a big screen TV mounted on the wall in front of me. I dreaded anxiously awaiting the mechanic’s diagnosis. With Christmas just a week away, I didn’t have time. “What if I ignore it… maybe it will go away?” I thought to myself. “It’s probably my imagination anyway because I haven’t driven her for a few days.” I turned up the radio in an effort to take my mind off the sound. It worked for a moment. My favorite Christmas song was playing on the radio. As I sang along with the tune, “Chestnuts roasting on an open fire… “, the sound appeared to rise above Nat King Cole’s smooth baritone and invaded my ears once more. The sound would not be ignored.
When I took her to the service center the following day, we learned that she needed a major repair. Had I ignored the sound and allowed the warranty to run out, we would’ve owed the service center thousands of dollars at Christmas time.
As a yoga instructor, I regularly teach my students to notice what’s going on inside and outside of their body… especially when it comes to their health. Watch the signs. Ignoring certain signs and symptoms can lead to a healthcare catastrophe. For example, according to the American Heart Association, heart disease is the number one killer in women, especially African American women, yet most women don’t know the warning signs which include numbness, dizziness, and severe headache. If you notice these symptoms, don’t ignore them because they won’t go away. They’ll persist until you find yourself in the emergency room of your local hospital. Or, worse, your life may be cut short by something that could’ve been prevented.
As we approach the New Year, resolve to be proactive about your health in 2014. Cut back on the amount of salt in your diet. Learn to prepare healthier meals. And, when you eat out, do you really need to super-size those fries? Can you get a regular coffee without the whip cream, caramel, or white chocolate syrup? Also, keep it moving. Fit a yoga class into your schedule. The combination of breathing and asanas (poses) can help you lose weight, reduce the stress in your life, and make you more aware of signs and symptoms that may have gone unnoticed.