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Day 18 #NHBPM: HealthCare. Don’t Get Me Started.

Junior as a young health activist (age 4)

Day 18 – Sunday, Nov. 18

“I want to change THIS about healthcare…”
OR
Write about your advice for someone caring for a patient with your condition

Oh there is so much I want to change about healthcare.

As a health care provider, I’d say I want to change the insane amount of paperwork and bureacracy that it takes. I love love love seeing my patients. But the hours and hours I have to spend DOCUMENTING things in often redundant and irrelevant ways makes me crazy. I hate having to spend hours figuring out what kind of insurance (or not) a person has, and how this effects what I can’t or can’t do with or for them. This is so maddening. I just want to do what they need and not force it to be more or less depending on their insurance. Although Medicare is good in many ways, it’s also stupid in others. For example we only get paid if we see someone for a minimum of 5 visits. If they only need one or two, we either have to eat it, or we have to see them unnecessarily. This is just ridiculous. And then in other cases we can’t see someone as long or as much as they really need. It’s maddening.

As a patient, how nice would it be to just have a uniform way of getting health care. I love the little health post model they used to have in Nicaragua back in the day. Or in Cuba. (yeah! Socialized medicine!) You could just go to a small health center in YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD – like literally within a few blocks. And see people who know you and your neighbors. If it’s more serious, you go to a regional or national center. End of story. All paid for. No cards or forms or insurance. If someone (like me) has a pre-existing condition, take care of them, don’t deny them healthcare. JUST DO THE DAMN THING.

Sigh.

Day 17 #NHBPM: My Running Playlist

Day 17 – Saturday, Nov. 17

My strengths and weaknesses list post
OR
Health Playlist. Make a playlist for your health community

The music that I listen to when I run means a lot to me. Often it moves me to tears. It keeps me going. This is a little sample of my “must listen to” music when I’m running.

  • God Says Nothing Back, by the Wallflowers. This song is just the perfect rhythm for my running pace. If I just had one song to listen to over and over while I run, this would be it.
  • Friend of the Devil by the Counting Crows. This slower version really works for me. And the part about “set out running but I take my time” always resonates with me and makes me smile.
  • Home by Marc Broussard. Fantastic nonstop pound it out song. Makes me just pump it out and GO. Great for bringing up the energy.
  • Drive by Incubus. This one is kind of fast for me but it really also gets me going.  The lyrics speak to me.
    Sometimes I feel the fear of uncertainty stinging clear
    And I cant help but ask myself how much I’ll let the fear take the wheel and steer
    It’s driven me before, it seems to have a vague
    Haunting mass appeal
    Lately I’m beginning to find that I should be the one behind the wheel
  • Radio Nowhere by Bruce.
  • You Found Me by the Fray. If I hear this song when I am driving my car, it makes me want to stop the car, get out and run.
  • For the Summer by Ray LaMontagne. This is a gentle, loping song. I just love Ray. And I laugh out loud and sing along when he sings “I’m tired… I’m tired…”
  • It Won’t Take Long by Ferron. This is a long song, almost 8 minutes, and it’s one of my almost perfect running songs. “Don’t you want to see yourself as strong?” Yes, I do.
  • Wild World by Cat Stevens. Another slow loper. This is a great cool down song.
  • Human Wheels by John Mellencamp. Great running song. Yeah, human wheels keep going.
  • Come to Jesus by Mindy Smith. I am not a religious person, but this song gives me religion. Especially when running.
  • Safe and Sound by Capital Cities. This was the background music for the Big Blue Test video I did, and will always make me feel emotional and motivated.

Those are my top running songs. If I hear any of them when I’m not running, they make me WANT to run. I know, I know, running with earbuds is unsafe and all. I usually just wear in one ear and let the other one dangle so I can hear what’s going on in the environment too. I will forever be grateful to some of these songs for getting me going when little else would. I can now run without music because I’ve trained myself to do it but I will always have a soft spot for these tunes.

 

Day 16 #NHBPM What’s Unusual About this Picture?

Day 16 – Friday, Nov. 16

Create a comic strip about your health / life / community OR
Use a picture or video to inspire a post

I know, I know, I’m two days behind again. Weekends can be tough. So this is Friday’s post coming to you on Sunday. I have to say I am getting a little bit weary of the blog posts every day. But I am hanging in there and today will be my catchup day.

This picture is from today’s walk with Mr. McBody. We went up to the beautiful woods near our home. This picture is unusual because we are very rarely up there together. Usually he is riding his bike and I am running. I don’t like bike (trail) riding up there much.  It’s too bumpy and there are too many obstacles (ie people and animals and other bikes) for me. He doesn’t run anymore. Back in the day, when we were younger, he was the serious runner and I was the couch potato. Somehow in the past few years it seems that now I am the runner and he does… other stuff.

Today he suggested that we take a walk up there together. It was so nice. Afterward we went down to the Farmers Market together. We ordered our Thanksgiving turkey and had some lunch and walked around our little neighborhood. Normally that is something I also do alone or with Juniorette or sometimes Junior. So that was another nice thing.

Later this afternoon we are going to the movies. (Lincoln) All of this is not at all our norm. I am used to rushing here and there, meeting up with my various peoples. He spends a lot of time hanging out and being with Mama McBody (who is MY mom, not his).  Today she was off at church and we had the nice opportunity to spend an unrushed Sunday together. A little sad that this was remarkable. But it was awfully nice.

I think it’s healthy to slow down and take a walk sometime instead of a run or a challenging bike ride. And nice to do it with someone you love.

Day 15 #NHBPM: I Nominate…. My Incision Blog!

at a poetry reading

Day 15 – Thursday, Nov. 15

Why healthcare companies (or healthcare professionals) should use social media OR

Nominate someone for a Health Activist Award bit.ly/haawards12 & write a post about why you nominated them!

I am nominating my friend Wendy for the “Best Kept Secret” Health Activist award. Although she has been blogging about a very important health issue for a long time, our bloggy circles haven’t really crossed paths all that much.

I first met Wendy when we were both getting our masters degrees in creative writing. She is an exquisite, sensitive and wonderful writer. We were in a writing group together for over a decade. She is a beautiful soul.

we go way back

Wendy has written poetry, creative nonfiction and blogged about her experience as caregiver for her elderly mother, and as a survivor of infant surgery, from way back in the day when babies who were operated on had no anesthesia and little comfort. It is an experience that can ripple out for a lifetime.

She has recently been sharing her experiences in wider and wider circles – in the medical humanities field, and with individuals, survivors, health professionals and family members of those who have not only had surgery as infants, but who have had other types of trauma. She is a true healer, a generous spirit in every sense of the word. I have been so fortunate to have known her. Last year, at my Stories of the Body retreat, she helped people tell their body’s stories through simple drawing. Soon she will be launching a service where she will be offering guidance to others.

She is truly a gift. I encourage everyone to go read her blog. Check out her beautifully healing art.  Read her poetry and an excerpt from her memoir.

She writes about:

If you are interested in any or all of these topics, go to my dear friend’s blog. It won’t be a secret for long.

Day 14 #NHBPM: FoodFoodBodyBody, the Reality Show

Day 14 – Wednesday, Nov. 14

“My life is a reality show.” Write characters, plots, the set, and why people should watch OR
Advice for dealing with negative feedback in your community

Here are the main characters in FoodFoodBodyBody the Reality Show:

Foodie McBody: Our reluctant star. Sometimes she’s up, sometimes she’s done, but she’s always getting herself into some new pickle or another, whether it be a triathlon or a solo performance show.

Mr. McBody: main cheerleader, medic and love interest.

I couldn’t do it without him

Junior McBody: elder daughter. Zippy runner and magic maker.

Juniorette McBody: younger daughter. all-star baker and carbohydrate temptress. Also known to juggle and make awesome tie-dye.

Junior & Juniorette

Mama McBody: Junk Food Junkie and chocoholic. Although she is pushing 90, she is also a heckuva weekly bowler (with a 15 lb ball!)

mama McBody

Our Four Legged Friend: The only dog alive who really doesn’t like to go on walks. Especially if it means she will have to encounter Other Dogs.

our four legged friend

The Cast of Friends: We’ve got the loving and loyal Sidekick (always there for carpooling to workouts). We’ve also go the Greek Chorus of visible and invisible Internet friends (plot point: Are they REAL if you can’t see them? Stay tuned and find out!)

best Sidekick ever

The set: main set is a cabinish home high in the Oakland hills, under the redwoods and eucalyptus. Extra steep hills can be good for a little drama, huffing and puffing and gnashing of teeth. However, Foodie is big into travel, so you might often see her On Location in various locales like Baltimore, New  York City and Elsewhere.

Plots: Will Foodie finish this crazy endurance event (triathlon) that she signed up for? Will she (and her health) survive the departure of her beloved endocrinologist? Will she be able to show her face at Fitbloggin’ even though she is in worse shape than the previous year? Will she succumb to the temptation of the new Mac-and-cheese only restaurant in her hometown?  How will she celebrate her healthaversary THIS year?

Find out the answers to these and other questions by tuning into this week’s episode of FoodFoodBodyBody – a laugh (and sometimes a tear) every time!

Day 12 #NHBPM: My Favorite App(s)

It’s a good thing that we get two “get out of jail free” days from NHBPM. It looks like I just took mine this weekend. I got SLAMMED, scheduled wise. On Saturday I drove four hours (ack!) for a Weight Watchers training (it was good, but more sitting! I paced a lot) and then four hours home.  I was FRIED when I got home. NO blogging Saturday.

Then, Sunday was filled with fun but time-eating social events: a clutterbusting gathering at a friend’s house (how great is that -a small group of us cleared out and organized a pantry, cupboard AND a big entry shelf/drawer thing) in the morning, then a very cool baby shower (books for baby! to build her library! I LOVE THIS IDEA) in the afternoon and then dinner and visit with Junior in the evening. That was my weekend. But no more slacking for me! I’m in it till the end.

Day 12 – Monday, Nov. 12

Call BS on something. What’s something that is just ridiculous? OR “My favorite health app / device / game is…” and review it

OK. I will admit I am not in the mood to “call BS” on anything because I’m just not in the mood for controversy right now. But I could definitely do that in a few cases. I’m going to take the easier route (and more positive!) of discussing my favorite health app/device(s).

Everyone knows I am a big fan of movement devices. I’m loving my Weight Watchers ActiveLink, which is pretty much a WW linked device that is the same as the DirectLife activity monitor. Very similar. They work great.

I was looking at my phone and trying to figure out which app(s) I use and like the most. I think the one I use the most (other than SleepTime, which I already wrote about) is RunKeeper. I’ve been using it a few  years now and anticipate I’ll be using it a lot more now that I am on RUN TEAM (YAYY!).

I love Runkeeper. I love that you can GPS your route, measure time and pace, sync your music and also have audio reminders at time and/or distance markers (every 5 or 10 minutes, every half or quarter mile). It keeps me going to know that I am running an X minute mile. I love being able to link it to FB and Twitter. It’s a great and motivating app and I know I’m going to be using it a lot more.

So that was Day 12! Almost halfway through the month!!

Day 9 #NHBPM: Walking Again

Today’s blog post was supposed to be either about a “care package” which I didn’t quite understand, OR writing in detail about “a memory.”

I have only about ten minutes to write so…. ummm…. a memory. I’m going to write about something that happened today, which triggered a memory for me.

Today in my work as a physical therapist I worked with a woman I’ve been seeing since July.  She has a bunch of medical problems which led to her not being able to walk for over a year.  When I started with her in July I asked her her goal and she said “to walk again.” She wasn’t really even able to get out of bed without a lot of help. Well, we worked at it. And worked and worked and worked. And there were a ton of setbacks. For a long time it was a major thing to be able to stand for 5 seconds (and I was counting fast). But TODAY – TODAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!! she walked with a walker for about 40 steps across her kitchen. We were both elated. And it felt like meeting someone at the end of a 26.2 mile marathon. It reminded me of why I do this work.

My dad was one of those people who, after a spinal cord injury, seemed to not ever be able to walk again. But that was all he wanted. He worked his ASS off, at the age of 81.  He was the best physical therapy patient on the planet. I was across the country from him so I never really worked with him in that capacity. But after working like a MULE for months and months and months, he miraculously and amazingly was able to walk with a walker for up to about a hundred feet. It meant so much to him. And to me.

These things humble me and remind me to be grateful. They also show me how determined people can be to do what seems impossible, and which maybe hardly anyone believes can be done.

(I took that picture in my patient’s kitchen today. Another huge accomplishment was that I was able to step away to take it and she could stand there without anybody holding on to her. In physical therapy language we call that “standby assist.” SUCH A BIG DEAL!)

So that made my day. And brought back a memory that meant a lot.

Day 7 #NHBPM: Being Mindful/The Doctor’s Waiting Room

Today for #NHBPM – people are writing: 1) Redesign a doctor’s office or hospital room OR 2) Be mindful. Write about staying centered.

“Mindful” is one of my favorite words in this whole “being healthy” process. It’s the opposite of “mindless” which is what got me into this mess in the first place. I especially love talking about being mindful when I am talking with Weight Watchers members. It’s the thing that really pulled me back when I had joined and left WW so many times. I had a favorite leader, Stan, who talked a LOT about being mindful. I sat there kind of incredulous. I couldn’t believe he was using that word!

But Weight Watchers has come a long way since I first joined in 1997. It’s not just about counting points and toting up activity. Now, being Mindful is one of the key components of the program. Just last week we focused on just spending five minutes per day thinking about our health and the choices we are making. We sat there for five minutes contemplating various questions and I timed it in the meeting. I was so happy that this was our topic. And even better, this blog challenge has kept me thinking about my health for more than five minutes every day.

It’s when things get so busy and we go “on automatic” that it gets slippery and difficult. It’s good to develop healthy habits so that the “automatic” we fall back on is as good as possible. But that doesn’t always happen.

I truly believe that 99.9% of our health has to do with our minds – how we think about things, how we respond – to stress, to fear and worry.

Which reminds me. I started attending meditation classes when I was first diagnosed with diabetes – because I was in a PANIC state, and I knew I would need to calm down the stress in my mind. I didn’t keep it up for very long, even though I loved it. I am remembering that now and I would really like to make a plan to return.

On the to do list. Thanks NHBPM for a full week of blogging every day – this definitely wouldn’t have happened without you!

And since I’d already been thinking about it – my two cents on the doctor’s waiting room. I spent a long time in one last week and although I love my doctor, her waiting room leaves a bit to be desired.

  • comfy chairs, please. Chaise lounges would be lovely! Especially for the family members who are waiting and don’t even go in to see the doctor.
  • Lots and lots of fish. They are known to be calming.
  • Classical music. Most doctor’s rooms I have been to are dead silent. Which somehow adds to the tension.
  • Soft, even dim lighting, except for reading lamps (ha!)
  • A cooler of ice water with some cucumber and mint, like they have at spas. And a hot thermos of tea! Nice!
  • A separate little post-appointment cove or nook for people to absorb new information or diagnoses/prognoses.  A place that is soundproof with a nice box of Kleenex and a stuffed animal to hug. This would actually be my number one recommendation. How many times have we heard difficult or shocking news and then have had to stagger out to our car? How nice it would be to have a safe, comfortable place to just take in what we’ve heard, and maybe a friendly face to ask how we’re doing. That would be so much nicer, wouldn’t it?

Here are some other bloggers to check out!

 

Day 6 #NHPBM: Taking the High Road

 

Day 6 – Tuesday, Nov. 6

News-style post
OR
Write about a time you had to take the high road

The only news I care about today is the election, but I’m too anxious to write a news style post, so I’m going to choose the “high road” post. But in order to do that I wanted to be really sure what that meant. I Googled it and found:

You may have faced moments when you want nothing more than to react loudly when somebody pushes your buttons. Taking the high road will keep the peace. It’s the best way to handle conflict and maintain your own moral high ground.

I’ve had my buttons pushed a number of times regarding my diabetes. It wasn’t until I was diagnosed that I realized that there are deep seated prejudices regarding especially Type 2 diabetes. When I began to participate in message boards and other diabetes communities, I read several posts from people (who either had Type 1 or had children with Type 1 – actually more parents of T1s) who were scornful and/or disgusted by any resources going to people with Type 2 diabetes. I quickly came to realize that many people view Type 2 diabetes as the kind that “fat people get” or people who just eat like pigs and bring it on themselves.

I felt that way myself.

I felt embarrassed and ashamed to have done such harm to my body and felt like I was unworthy of any sort of kindness or attention. Indeed, the same week that I was diagnosed, I attended a solo performance by a woman who had had Type 1 diabetes since childhood. She depicted an alarming/hilarious scene in which she is woken up to have her blood tested by an anxious mother several times a night.  Sitting in the audience, I was thinking, oh wow, there’s my people!

And then she said, “I have Type 1 diabetes! Not the kind that people who eat tons of cheeseburgers get.”

I wanted to crawl underneath my theater seat and die. She was talking about ME, of course. I furtively looked from side to side to see if anyone was going to throw me out of the theater. Of course nobody had a clue what was happening with me.

But that was the beginning of seeing the bias that is out there. The conventional wisdom is that Type 1 diabetics are innocent, and that they have done nothing to “bring it on” themselves. And that Type 2s are to blame for their (our) conditions.

Since those early days I have learned that behavior and lifestyle are only partial factors in Type 2 diabetes. There are some elements of truth in that perception. But a lot of it is based in genetic predisposition, something that none of us can control. There are people who are very inactive and who eat fabulously unhealthy diets, who will never ever get Type 2 diabetes. And there are normal-or-underweight people who run marathons who might.

It’s been hard for me to not feel defensive and attacked when people make “type 2” remarks. And they do it all the time. Sometimes I feel like attacking back. Because honestly, I feel like I am doing the best I damn can.

But then I have to take a deep breath and take the highest road I can find.

Bottom line is, it’s good for ALL of us to make healthier food choices and to be active in our lives. Right?

This is Post #6 (WOW!) of National Health Blog Post Month.

Other bloggers I’ve discovered this month:

• Jess at Team Awesome writes about being thankful. http://www.talesfromteamawesome.com/2012/11/weekly-weigh-in-32-nhbpm.html?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter

• Lorraine climbs on her health activist soapbox

http://thyroid-hope.blogspot.co.uk

 

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