“I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired.” She coined the phrase.
Born October 6, 1917 in the rural state of Mississippi, she began working at the tender age of 6. With only a sixth-grade education, she led the charge in voter’s registration and taught others what they needed to know to pass the then-required literacy test. She founded the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party because she was, at that time, unable to join the Mississippi Democratic Party. She pushed until President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the voting rights act. Her 1970 lawsuit demanded school desegregation. From 1968 – 1971, she was a member of the Democratic National Committee for Mississippi and eventually was elected a delegate to the Democratic National Committee of 1972. With all that, nowhere in history was she recorded complaining about being sick and tired of current voting rights. I never read where she said she was sick and tired of the Democratic National Committee or that she was sick and tired of the segregation in the school system.
Despite the multiple death threats she received, she never once complained that she was sick and tired of the threats. On the tenth day of September in 1962, when sixteen bullets were fired in the home where she was staying, never once did she complain that she was sick and tired of the assassination attempts. On June 3, 1963 when she was jailed for standing up for righteousness and then beaten with a pipe, she never complained about being sick and tired of being beaten. Instead, she focused on bringing a Head Start program to her local community.
Nevertheless, the day came when she finally began to complain. It started when her doctor told her she had sugar. Sugar diabetes that is! This diabetes led to other problems such as peripheral vascular disease, diminishing eye sight, bad kidneys, neuropathy and heart disease. Her gender, race, diabetes and body size served as risk factors for her subsequent diagnosis of breast cancer.
It was at that time Ms. Fannie Lou Hamer had something to really complain about. It was then that she coined her signature line: I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired.
Ms. Hamer died at the young age of 60, both sick and tired. Like Fannie Lou Hamer, Dr. Eadie is sick and tired of seeing the city of Detroit and the State of Michigan sick and tired.
I’m sick and tired of the fact that (according to the Michigan Department of Human Services):
- In 1995, 18% of the adult population was obese. By 2010, the obesity prevalence in our population had increased to 32%. If the tide is not changed, the percent of obesity in our population will reach 50% by 2030.
- Currently in Michigan, 2.5 million adults and 400,000 children are obese; many of whom already show signs of chronic illnesses.
- More than 75% of healthcare spending (in Michigan and the U.S.) is for people with chronic diseases including heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes, kidney diseases, and dementia.
- Two-thirds of premature deaths in the U.S. are due to poor nutrition, lack of physical activity and tobacco use.
- 13% of Michigan adults are uninsured, yet people won’t consider some type of healthcare reform as a viable option.
- The rate of infant mortality is 7.7 in Michigan and 6.7 nationally.
Now clearly I didn’t know Fannie Lou and obviously never had a chance to speak with her about preventive measures. But, if I could turn back the hands of time and speak to her I would say:
- Eat multiple small meals. Get rid of the 3 square meals theory and graze throughout the day. This shrinks your stomach, you get full faster and it increases your metabolism.
- Eat your 5 -9 servings of fruit and vegetables everyday. Why? Remember that diabetes, heart disease and breast cancer all have one thing in common; they were all caused by free radicals. Well, antioxidants found in fruit and veggies destroy the disease-causing chemicals.
- Drink water. Clear water. Noncarbonated water. Alkaline water.
- Stop eating red meats.
- Learn your BMI. If it’s not between 18.5 and 25, then get it there as soon as possible.
- Join DMC Sinai-Grace in declaring November as NO SODA POP MONTH –
- Phosphoric acid weakens bones and rots teeth.
- Diet soda pop has artificial sweeteners that increase sugar cravings.
- Artificial colorings are carcinogens (cancer-causing agents).
- High fructose corn syrup is our #1 source of calories so eliminating it will help us get to our desired BMI.
So let’s enjoy this life and work to make sure that we do our part to not leave a signature line defining ourselves as being sick and tired of being sick and tired!
Reginald Eadie, MD