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Wednesday, February 24, 2016


Signs, signs, everywhere there’s signs
Blocking out the scenery, breaking my mind
Do this, don’t do that
Can’t you read the sign?”
-- Les Emmerson

I used to think that this song was an anti-establishment song. It may have even been intended to be a bit of an anarchy anthem as we have to pay attention to some signs, but maybe not all. But I am slowly realizing that some of the most important signs in a person’s life are not posted on a wall or a light post. They come from us, and they are often ignored.

Now that I think of it, there were signs a while ago that something was wrong with me. I started to lose energy easily, and I was constantly battling fevers. I did take them as signs, but I took them as signs that I was getting old. It took my wife forever to convince me to go to the doctor to talk about these signs, and by then it was too late. By the time I got signs I actually paid attention to, I was already in a fight for my life. I won’t ignore those types of signs ever again. You shouldn’t ignore them either.

I think the biggest cop-out when it comes to ignoring signs is the idea that you will take care of that sign later. You feel pain in your joints, but you can just ignore that sign and say that you will call the doctor about it eventually. The underlying notion is that you have plenty of time to take care of whatever it could be, so you will get to it later. Trust me, that could be a near fatal mistake.

Am I saying that you should jump at everything that seems out of place? Yes, I am. Let’s be honest; nothing ever sneaks up on you. Financial problems that seem to come out of nowhere always have their genesis in something that you did or did not do at some point in the past. If you think hard, you will figure out what you did that caused the problem. If you had taken note of that sign earlier, you could have prevented the problem. But you ignored it because you would have time later to deal with it. But what do you do when later arrives?

That same logic can be applied to our bodies. It is almost impossible for a medical condition to occur without some kind of sign. I had signs, but I ignored them or put them off. I had no idea they were signs of cancer, but that is the risk you take when you ignore the signs. In my defense, my signs were subtle and fluctuated. But none of that really makes a difference now, does it? I ignored the signs, and now I am paying the price.

“Thank you Lord for thinking about me. I’m alive and doing fine.”

You have two choices when you ignore signs. You can hope that you never have to deal with the consequences, or you can prepare for the consequences as best you can. I chose the former for a long time, and now I am dealing with those consequences. I would have much preferred the latter, because I can tell you that having your kidney removed sucks. It hurts, your entire life changes, and you have discomfort for years and years. But I ignored the signs, so here I am.

Still, I’m alive and I have been given a better than average chance at seeing my grandchildren graduate from high school. For a guy who ignored signs for so long, I would say I am pretty lucky. Many people who ignore signs do not get the kinds of chances I got. Those are the folks who I hope read this and understand my message.

The signs are all around you, and they are trying to block out the scenery so that you pay attention to them. Take it from someone who knows; don’t ignore your signs. If something feels just a little off, get to the doctor. If you know that you are heading towards a financial meltdown, then take steps now to try and head off as much of it as you can.

Remember that your signs have an effect on everyone around you, not just you. The first people I thought of when I finally saw the writing on my signs were my wife, my son, and my grandchildren. I still break down every once in a while at the thought of how stupid I was to ignore my signs and what my ignorance could cost me, and them.

It is easy to think that things are going well when you choose to ignore your signs. But when it comes time to face up to the consequences, the pain can be incredible. Do yourself a favor and don’t ignore your signs. They are there for a reason, and they can save your life if you just read them and do what they say.

+George N Root III is a Lockport resident who used to be terrible at reading signs. Follow him on Twitter @georgenroot3 or send him a message at georgenroot3@gmail.com.



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1 comment:

  1. In my case it was frequent nigh time urination. I casually mentioned this to my doctor who sent me for tests. That was almost seven years ago and I have been fighting cancer for the last six and one half years. Fight the good fight George and never give up!

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