Here’s the evidence. In full colour, an unretouched photo.
So…how did I get a black eye, and how does it relate to assumptions?
I tripped on a curb. Well, not a curb exactly. I was stepping onto the accessibility ramp that transitions the pavement to the sidewalk.
There was no snow or ice. I was not in a hurry. I was not distracted by my phone or iPod. I did not faint and then fall. I was wearing flat shoes that are old friends. There was no obvious reason for this to happen. Continue reading →
As I mentioned recently, testing is one of the hallmarks of personalized medicine. These days there are so many tests to help zero in on what’s really happening in your body. When used judiciously, test results can provide comprehensive information which helps your doctor or health coach develop an individualized plan for you.
Thanks to technology, doctors are able to see images of your heart and carotid arteries in action, graphs showing a heart under the stress of walking up an incline, and more graphs of your heart beats and blood pressure during daily activities. They can see your brain in glorious colour and your body in three dimensions. They’re able to monitor the level of all manner of things in your blood. They can measure good and bad bugs in your gut, and find out if you have genes that predispose you to certain conditions you’d rather not know about.
Regular readers will know that I’m a fan of active engagement in our health-related decisions. To do this effectively, it helps to know several things about the healthcare system. This understanding will relieve your frustration with the way things are, and it may also make you more empathetic toward the doctor who doesn’t listen when you try to participate.
1. The healthcare system is a product of the consumer culture, and is designed around money.
Doctors are paid for a very short appointment time with each patient, usually about 10 minutes. That means appointments are booked close together and the doctor is invariably running late by the time the first patient leaves.
From the patient point of view, this means a long wait after arriving at your scheduled time. It also means your doctor may seem rushed, harried, and unwilling to listen to your explanation of what’s going on with your health. And, if you have the impression that doctors only want to hear about one issue at the appointment, that’s true. Ten minutes doesn’t allow enough time to sort out even one problem, never mind a complex health issue.
Take a book, listen to your iPod, or decide to enjoy leafing through magazines you don’t normally read.
Meditate. Put on your sunglasses and no one will be the wiser. You’ll be refreshed instead of frazzled by the wait.
Book your appointment far enough in advance so that you can get the first slot in the morning or after lunch.
Don’t plan your next activity for the day based on the time you would be free if you got in to see the doctor as scheduled. You know it isn’t going to happen, so be realistic and save yourself the stress.
Last week I wrote about the dilemmas of too much information. It strikes me that too much information is like having too much choice. It complicates things, even though there’s a good side as well.
The paradox of choice caught my attention when I was teaching college classes about consumer issues. In the TED Talk below, researcher Barry Schwartz speaks about choosing consumer goods, but his findings can also be applied to health and wellness decisions. Continue reading →
I welcome reader comments on my blog. They get me thinking. Here’s one, in response to my post, written after I tripped and gave myself a black eye.
Great blog today. I love how an unfortunate event becomes blog fodder. 😊
It made me aware that I hadn’t actually thought of my black eye as unfortunate. And with that awareness, I remembered the story that first shifted my thinking about good and bad fortune.
Here’s a charming version, narrated by philosopher, writer, and speaker, Alan Watts. Born in England, he moved to the US in 1938 and began Zen training in New York. Watts, who died in 1973, is best known as an early interpreter and popularizer of Eastern philosophy for a Western audience.
Whether it’s called personalized medicine, precision medicine, or individualized medicine, it means you are being treated on the basis of your uniqueness. A study-of-one approach allows for comparison of different treatments in the same person. You get feedback by observing your condition before and after a particular treatment. It allows you to determine whether that particular treatment is effective in your case.
This is different from conventional research, which uses many subjects who are divided into two or three groups. each group is given a different treatment and then the average responses of the groups are compared. This is known as a randomized controlled trial, and study results are reported as a statistical average.
Truth is, this does not provide helpful information for us as individuals. Just because a research study found that a particular treatment works on average, it may not work for you in particular. Or it may even make your condition worse even though it worked for most people. Continue reading →
I started posting weekly blogs on my birthday a year ago. Since I’m the leading edge of the Baby Boom, and am now a year older, aging seemed a good topic for today.
But first, a video of my absolute-favourite song about getting old. When I first heard it, I couldn’t imagine being 64. When I got there, I made sure to listen to this song on my birthday. Today, I’m happy to share it with you. And if you want the lyrics to belt it out with them… Continue reading →
I recently arrived at the end of two relentlessly and unexpectedly chaotic years. It was all I could do to keep my head above water. I coped by hurriedly chucking things into cupboards any which way, abandoning cleaning routines for a lick and a promise, stacking files on surfaces (floor included) instead of putting them away—you get the picture.
Finally I gained some breathing space and have spent the past couple months bringing order out of the chaos. Continue reading →
Recycling has become a license to waste, allowing us to avoid taking responsibility for our consumer choices. We soothe our consciences by dropping our excesses into a recycle bin and having them carted away. End of story; nothing more to think about. Continue reading →