Veteran Credits Whole Health for Return to Living
Joe Morgan is a people person who loves being active in his church and with his bowling league. Those two things had become almost impossible to Morgan due to severe pain in his body.
“I was so depressed and under stress that my body was breaking down,” he said. Morgan had diabetes, high blood pressure, degenerative arthritis, and was not getting around very well. “My whole life was at a standstill and I wasn’t going anywhere,” he says. I had always been active and even the littlest things I couldn’t do.”
Morgan joined the Marines directly out of high school in 1971 and served as infantry in 16 countries on a floating amphibious unit the Mediterranean and the Caribbean. Years of carrying a 120-pound field pack, climbing mountains, doing crawls took its toll on Morgan’s body and he was at the point where he could not walk down the block without his knees and back going out.
“I had no health issues until I was 62; no colds, no flu, no pneumonia” he said. “I was in picture perfect health my whole life, played basketball, football and baseball. As I got older, I bowled 2 to 3 times a week and knew each of the 180 people on the leagues.” Morgan also serves in his church as a superintendent and administrator.
Morgan began his journey of Whole Health at the Charlotte VA Outpatient Clinic, which is affiliated with the W. G. (Bill) Hefner VA Medical Center - Salisbury, NC. He was referred to Nationally Board-Certified Health and Wellness Coach, Maiya Keeling who helped him get into yoga, tai chi and acupuncture. “Thank God for her,” he says. Thanks to the Whole Health work he has done he is able to sit and stand for longer periods which allows him to make the one-hour trip to and from his church again. “When I was doing Tai Chi I was even able to cut down on the pain medications I take and some days I didn’t have to take it at all.” Morgan expects to get back into Tai Chi in person very soon.
He is back to walking and bowling and attending church regularly. After his wife of 43 years and his family, church and bowling are the two things he loves more than anything. “I have both of those things back and I thank God and Whole Health for getting me here.” I am upbeat and truly happy. He has always been an unofficial recruiter for the Marines and now he is recruiting for Whole Health. “In my opinion, with all of the issues I had with my body, doing Whole Health is better than going to see my primary care physician because in Whole Health we work on the body and the mind.”
Keeling said, “The transformation Mr. Morgan has experienced is truly what we hope for when our Veterans connect with Whole Health. As his health coach, I worked to first determine what mattered most to him. It wasn’t about the diabetes or blood pressure, it was about getting back to bowling and doing the things he once loved. We were then able to focus on the behaviors that would get him closer to that goal! As a result, the clinical outcomes followed. When Mr. Morgan shared that he was again bowling and even made it to the championship as captain I could see that made him come alive. The fact that it made such an impact on his physical and mental health was something we knew was possible but turned out to be even more than what we both had hoped for when his journey started.”
For more information on Whole Health and how you can get started on your journey, visit www.va.gov/WHOLEHEALTH/index.asp.
Andrea Young is a Field Implementation Team Consultant with the Office of Patient Centered Care & Cultural Transformation