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5 ways to avoid an ambulance bill

Follow this list of tips from a paramedic and no one gets hurt (or gets an ambulance bill)


Exercise is the best medicine for building resiliency and reducing stress.

Photo by Greg Friese

By Justin Schorr

Here are the five things you can do today to avoid needing an ambulance. What? Did you think this was going to be an article about how to avoid paying for services rendered? Nice try, buddy.

Just follow the list and no one gets hurt. No, seriously. No one gets hurt! And, as a nifty side effect, no bill. Boom!

Tip #1: Get outside and get some exercise

Most diseases later in life are a direct result of increasingly sedentary lifestyles earlier in life. Even a simple walk around the block with the family after dinner can increase your metabolism and strengthen your immune system. Not to mention it feels good to stretch your legs after a long day behind a desk.

I‘m not asking you to go run a marathon, dear lords no, just get more active than you were yesterday and see where it takes you!

Tip #2: Eat better

While I have been known to indulge in some seasoned curly fries in excess, the key is to make unhealthy foods the rarity, not the last minute necessity. Plan a weekly menu for your family, shop for it and stick to it. You‘ll try new foods, learn your likes and dislikes along the way, and you‘ll save a ton of money in the process.

Having a menu plan cuts down on the last minute trips for those greasy preservative loaded foods prepared with quantity in mind instead of quality. Cut down on fatty foods, drink more water, eat more veggies.

You don‘t need to go vegan or start a five-week cleanse, just pay more attention to the fuel you give your body and reap the rewards of energy, better sleep and a slimmer waistline.

Tip #3: Do what your Doctor says

Many folks we encounter in the back of an ambulance have received medical advice in one form or another that they have selectively decided to ignore. The trouble, friends, is that your Doctor knows what you need to do. Just do what your doctor says! (Unless your doctor is Dr. Spaceman from 30 Rock).

If they prescribe antibiotics for a bacterial infection, you need to take ALL the medicine! You can‘t save half for the next time you get sick, because you‘re not going to get better this time.

If they tell you to exercise more (where have I heard that lately?) or modify your diet (again…familiar…) do it! They went to school for a boat load longer than we did, let‘s give their advice a try shall we?

Tip #4: Cut back on the caffeine

After a 20 oz. triple caramel macchiato, weighing in somewhere around 1000 calories (half your daily target by the way), some folks reach for an “energy drink”, a soda or another cup of coffee. The reason you think you need so much caffeine is likely because you are not following tips one, two or three! What are you waiting for?

Not following those tips can make it difficult for your body to rest at night. And no rest means trouble waking up and reaching your normal cruising speed for daily activities. You‘ll quickly tire out, and crave another few sips from the little can that sponsors the cool sporting events. Instead, try replacing that drink with water and look at why you‘re not sleeping well. Is it a lack of exercise? Poor diet? Not on your medications? Or could it be final tip …

Tip #5: Quit Stressing

Stress raises blood pressure, and anyone who has seen a hose burst can tell you it‘s not good. Stress also causes the body to release a number of chemicals into your body that your doctor told you about at your last visit. Remember? Stress causes the body to wear itself out faster than usual and with more damage. Stress can lead to a stroke, heart attack or any number of lesser conditions that can put you at higher risk for a stroke or heart attacks.

It‘s a compound cycle that only gets worse and worse unless you can learn to relax a little bit. I don‘t mean take 10 days on the beach in Belize after working 70 hour weeks, I mean take time to get away in your mind. Every day.

Take up a hobby, subscribe to a new magazine or just zone out for a few minutes every day. Getting upset, raising your voice or grinding your teeth are signs of your inability to calm down and they will take their toll on your health.

Get started living a healthier lifestyle now and avoid having to listen to my bad jokes in the back of the ambulance after your stroke caused by that over-caffeinated, stress-induced, double cheeseburger-fueled, marathon TV watching session that your doctor warned you about. Seriously. You‘ll be glad you did and so will your family. Now go outside and get some exercise!

Uniform Stories features a variety of contributors. These sources are experts and educators within their profession. Uniform Stories covers an array of subjects like field stories, entertaining anecdotes, and expert opinions.