Who will speak

As I sat in the emergency room last week, I became acutely aware that patients need an advocate, someone to stand up and say, “wait that’s just not right”.

  “I am the Lorax.  I speak for the trees.  I speak for the trees for the trees have no tongues” (Dr Seuss, The Lorax).  Now patients have tongues, of this I don’t argue, but people don’t always understand all the lingo.

 Ok, I’m done talking in the Seussical rhyme.  However, it is true.  I sat for over an hour in a room where no one came to check on me, no one came to check my vital signs…no one came at all.  I eventually got up and left that very same hospital that I am employed by and went on to file a complaint.

 “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot,  Nothing is going to get better.  It’s not” (Dr. Seuss, The Lorax). 

 Okay, so I wasn’t completely done with Seuss.  There is so much truth there though, if we don’t get involved in the system, it wont ever get better.  

Nurses, take time to see your patients, listen to them. 

* Doctors, your patients all have something to tell you, please listen to them. 

* Patients, don’t settle for mediocrity, stand up for yourselves and if you can’t hire an advocate.

 So, today I ask this question: Who will speak for the patients?

 

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Enjoy the ride

I had a patient the night before last that changed my thinking; this young man had found out that very day that he has terminal cancer.  I went into his room expecting to see a depressed man, but found him instead playing a game of uno with his family.  After his family left I had time to talk to him for a while, so I asked him how he is staying so positive throughout this time?  He said that he wants to make happy memories for his family to hold onto after he’s gone.

I thought about what he said long after I left his room that evening…he’s right.  We have today, we’re not promised tomorrow.  So, what can I do today to make happy memories for those I love?

Here’s a few ideas:

* Be curious.  In a 2007 study, Todd Kashdan and Colorado State psychologist Michael Steger found that when participants monitored their own daily activities, as well as how they felt, over the course of 21 days, those who frequently felt curious on a given day also experienced the most satisfaction with their life—and engaged in the highest number of happiness-inducing activities, such as expressing gratitude to a colleague or volunteering to help others.

* Be FriendlyIn a recent Gallup World Poll, the biggest predictor of happiness at work was whether or not a person had a best friend they could call on for support.  Don’t isolate yourself…reach out.

* Be Flexible.  We can’t hide from the world or the negative things that happen, but we can make the choice to not dwell on it.

* Be creative.  Situations will happen, and there will be times when you don’t feel well enough to go out with the family or there just isn’t enough funds to go out.  When that happens why not stay home and play a board game, a card game  or find things in the house that have meaning like a locket or picture and tell the story.  Don’t isolate though, that punishes both you and your loved ones who want to spend time with you.

* Be Faithful.  Whatever your beliefs are…be faithful.  Over 85 percent of people confronting a major illness pray, according to a University of Rochester study.  One study even found that prayer raises dopamine levels which is associated with a feeling of well being or joy. Sharing this experience with your loved ones is a great way to make positive memories that will last.

Of course, take care of you; eat better foods and exercise.

Enjoy the ride, we never really know how long we have to be on this crazy little journey…so go make memories!