It’s an excellent time to be alive - it’s also the easiest time to be alive.
If you’re so eager to go back into those “good old days'' we talked about, it’s important to remember that they didn’t really last long. Last week, we talked about technology, and its positive impact on the growth and development, especially when it came to employment and productivity. But another factor we often overlook is how technology brought us better healthcare than we've ever experienced - and it brought it quickly.
Those computers that barely existed back in the ’70s? Well, better and brighter versions of them are what’s running almost every part of your healthcare experience. Instead of having your surgery mapped out on the same thing you used to play Tetris, you’re getting detailed, drawn-out explanations for whatever illness or ailment is happening to you. Using state-of-the-art computers, doctors accumulate lab results, record vital signs, and read real-time patient data.
This is excellent news, especially if you end up in the hospital. It means that whatever pain you're enduring or health scare you’re experiencing will be diagnosed and dealt with faster than ever before. It also means that scientists can keep and examine records of past injuries and diseases, which helps future patients find cures even quicker. Long story short, computers have given doctors the outlet to study trends and make medical breakthroughs faster than we ever have in our history.
When I was a kid, I could have broken my leg, and they would have given me a Tylenol and told me boys don’t cry. Now, some of you might think, “that’s what made us tough!”
Sure, growing up with some true grit and grease on our bones was a good thing. But I’m a lot older now, and if I get a boo-boo, I want real medicine.
That’s not even to mention the amount of injuries that can’t just be put in a cast and mended in time. One of the leading causes of death in the 1960s was cardiovascular disease, and if we’re honest, heart issues in aging generations are definitely not “uncommon” today. The difference is, the same surgery that might have sent you up the stairway to heaven forty years ago could have you healed and at home in a matter of days.
In 1900, the annual mortality rate was one in 42 Americans, but in 1998 that number dropped to one in every 125. That’s a cumulative decline of 67 percent, and one major reason for that is our advancements in cardiovascular medicine.
Also, when it comes time to treat those heart conditions, we have tiny tools for tiny incisions. We have anesthetics to make extensive incisions more bearable; we have CT scans, CAT Scans, and MRIs to find the optimal location for those incisions quickly. Everything about becoming older has also become easier. And since getting older seems like something we’re going to keep having to do, I’d rather the road be less bumpy.
So, you can go ahead and wish you were back in the past with a life that was less work, but that also means going to the hospital with medicine, equipment, and pain pills that work less, too.
I’m pretty happy where I am, in this comfy world of modern medicine. I am glad to have had my years of grit, but I am also happy that those years are over, and they can start giving me the real pills when I’m in pain.
I hope you are happy about this too, and I hope to see you next week where we’ll discuss job growth, housing, manufacturing, and why you shouldn’t worry too much about any of them.
Until next time…