On Call with Dr. Pepe

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On Call with Dr. Pepe

Celebrating Gifts of the Harvest

Autumn brings beautiful and bountiful changes – leaves turn bright colors, vegetables and fruit become ripe for harvest. It also marks the Ember Days of Fall when we thank God for the gifts of nature.

I remember my grandmother thanking God for the gift of the grape harvest every fall. She regaled us with stories of how, in Italy, they celebrated the grape harvest on the feast day of Our Lady of the Rosary. She vividly described how towns held celebrations and parades in honor of the feast. Girls in local costumes distributed grapes, wine and local food specialties. Wagons decorated with the image of Our Lady of the Rosary carried grapes and other products of the earth. A vital part of the festival was the celebration of Holy Mass to thank God for the gift of grapes. My grandmother’s stories come back to me every fall, reminding me to always thank God for the gift of the fall and its entire splendor.

Fall is also a time to get back to routines. It is the end of summer vacations and a return to schedules at work and school. All good parents know that routines are good for children because it makes them feel safe (and rested). But they are also good for adults. As important as it is to enjoy summer activities and vacations, it’s also vital to get back to healthy, regular schedules for sleep, exercise and meals. This makes us more efficient, reduces procrastination and stress, and gives us a feeling of safety and control. In turn, better routines, such as sleep, improve mental health and wellness.

At Catholic Medical Center, we offer a variety of health and wellness programs. Our Outpatient Nutrition Center assists people coping with a multitude of health issues by providing expert guidance and services for general nutrition, weight management, cholesterol and hypertension, pre-diabetes and gastrointestinal health. If you need to enter into a regular exercise routine, our Wellness Center offers a variety of programs and classes throughout the day to help you achieve your goals, including classes that are medically supervised by health care professionals. If you struggle with smoking and want to rid yourself of your habit, and thus more fully enjoy exercise and fall outdoor activity, we offer a variety of smoking cessation programs. Finally, if you struggle with achieving a good night’s sleep, CMC’s New England Sleep Center provides evaluation and treatment for a range of sleep disorders in a private and comfortable setting. For more information about these programs and many more, please check out our website at catholicmedicalcenter.org or our latest edition of Healthy Living News.

Fall is a perfect time to thank God for the gift of creation, including the gift of our own individual lives. We have been created in the image and likeness of God, thus we have dignity, value and purpose. We are entrusted to care for it and preserve it. We at CMC are here to assist you in achieving health and well-being. 

Dr. Joseph Pepe is the president and CEO of CMC Healthcare System: Catholic Medical Center, New England Heart & Vascular Institute, and several subsidiaries. He and his wife reside in Manchester.

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