As a Healthcare Worker, Dave Is Finally Making Time to Take Care Of Himself

“My patients said, ‘You have to take care of yourself too, Dave.’”

I am a healthcare worker and a caretaker for my parents. I’ve worked in a hospital for 20 years. My father is a blind double amputee and my mother has her own set of health problems, so it all weighs on my mind a lot. Some nights, I don’t get home until 10 pm, and then I punch into my second job, which is taking care of them. 

My wife, Peggie Libbett, did the Thrive Challenge last year. 

She works at our local Supercenter in San Diego. She was always telling me, “You need to do this, too. It’ll be good for you.” With everything going on, I didn’t end up starting the Thrive Challenge until March of this year. A few of my patients know that I take care of my parents, and they said to me, “You have to take care of yourself too, Dave.” Their words gave me the push I needed to start taking care of myself. I need to be healthy to take care of my parents, and I want to be a healthier role model for my patients. 

I started with working on my sleep.

I’m used to getting only four hours of sleep each night because I watch TV until around 2 am. I get home late and have no time for myself. I also have a bad back, so it’s hard for me to fall asleep. I started making an effort to get into bed earlier and I’ve been working with a physical therapist. Now, ​​I turn the TV off at 9:00 pm every night and listen to jazz for a while. It helps me relax and feel sleepy.  

My blood pressure was going through the roof.

I cook most of my meals, but even so, I really had to start taking down my salt intake. Peggie’s blood pressure is much better than mine, but she eats salads with me and we’ve both started to limit our junk food. Plus, I’m saving money by taking lunch to work every day instead of buying fast food. I make a chicken salad every day for lunch, and sometimes have salmon. My grandmother taught me to cook and I love it. 

At work, they call me “Dave Stairwell.”

The stairs are my best friend now. The Challenge motivated me to start taking the stairs every day to get some exercise. I began with 40 stairs, and then went up to 50, and then 60. Wearing a mask makes it even harder! The doctors laugh at me but they join me sometimes. They call it the “Sharp stair challenge.” One of the doctors said to me the other day, “I missed you today on the stairs.” 

My goal is to take my wife on a honeymoon. 

We have been married 20 years and never had a honeymoon. We love kayaking and paddleboarding. She’s keeping me going. We even go together to visit some of my patients from the hospital together and bring them breakfast. 

Every day, I try to shine my light. 

I have more energy now, and I find that I smile more and encourage others. I don’t want to leave this earth right now, while my parents are still here. So in order to take care of them, I have to take care of myself.

— Dave Libbett, Walmart Customer; San Diego, CA; $5K Winner

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