I first met Nicole last year when she was the key speaker at Diabetes Sisters’ “Weekend for Women.” I was then, and continue to be, impressed by her passion for better serving people with chronic illness.
This is the sixth in my series of profiles on diabetes change leaders.
Q: Tell me about the project you’re heading, “Bringing Science Home?”
Nicole Johnson: First, it’s a dream come true for me. It’s a four-year funded project where we’re looking at how we can provide the support and tools people who live with a chronic illness really want and need. That means educating patients, families and health students
I first met Nicole last year when she was the key speaker at Diabetes Sisters’ “Weekend for Women.” I was then, and continue to be, impressed by her passion for better serving people with chronic illness.
With all the headlines being made by Health Care Reform and the subsequent controversies surrounding it, many of the weak points of American Health Care have been exposed. One issue that has received little, if any, scrutiny is the sadly anemic condition of not just the treatment itself, but the philosophy of mental health treatment in America. To us there seems to be a true loss of awareness: The awareness that those seeking treatment for mental disorders or illness are human beings in need of empathetic and therapeutic care, not just mouths in which to stuff psychoactive drugs.
By way of example, Dr. Ricker was recently visited by a 24 year old young man who had just spent two weeks as a psychiatric inpatient in a very well known University Teaching Hospital in Los
A story of commitment:
A long time ago there lived twin brothers, Cosmas and Damian, both of whom were doctors. Trained in Syria they practiced as physicians in the seaport Aegea. Through their work, they attained a great reputation for healing. At some point, though it is unclear how or why, each had a mystical awakening and came to a simultaneous and mutual decision that eventually led them to be known as Cosmas the Moneyless and Damian the
A good friend and colleague who is now in Chicago first gifted me with this parable. It’s been in my thoughts lately as my wife pursues her medical degree. In fact, she and I have talked about this at length, and when making comparisons between how physicians and teachers are treated, she is just as astounded.
Parallels are occasionally noted between medical training and education, especially the capstone clinical experiences present in both
Take a new crop of fresh-faced doctors, stick them in the jungle, and what do you get? If you’re watching ABC, you get the new medical drama Off the Map, created by Grey’s Anatomy producer Jenna Bans. And while these newbie docs are eager to prove themselves, they clearly have their work cut out for them. After all, they’re working in a tropical third-world country — and while there may be no such thing as malpractice in the jungle, their nearest pharmacy is the jungle, and the ailments range from adventure tourism snafus (stingray to the leg, anyone?) to tuberculosis.
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Yes, that Donald Rumsfeld, the “knowns and unknowns” guy who remarkably executed some of the worst decisions in American foreign policy and got a medal for it. I have been reading up on this strange chapter in the history of Donald Rumsfeld and have learned two things. One, the chemical additive aspartame is very potentially a cancer and brain tumor-causing substance that has no place in our food. And two, the reasons and means by which Rumsfeld helped get it approved are nefarious at best, criminal at worst. And by the way, that medal that Rumsfeld got back in 2004 was the Presidential Medal of Freedom, also awarded to Tommy Franks, George Tenet and that charming warrior L. Paul Bremer. Evidently, “Freedom” means the right to use your powerful friends in Washington to approve your company’s dangerous substance for human consumption and make a fat bonus on the way out the door. So how did aspartame become legal? And more importantly, if it had been rejected multiple times over fears of brain tumors and cancer, why?
Dr. John Olney, who founded the field of neuroscience called excitotoxicity, attempted to stop the approval of aspartame with Attorney James Turner back in 1996. The FDA’s own toxicologist, Dr. Adrian Gross told Congress that without a shadow of a doubt, aspartame can cause brain tumors and brain cancer and that it violated the Delaney Amendment, which forbids putting anything in food that is known to cause cancer. According to the top doctors and researchers on this issue, aspartame causes headache, memory loss, seizures, vision loss, coma and cancer. It worsens or mimics the symptoms of such diseases and conditions as fibromyalgia, MS, lupus, ADD, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, chronic fatigue and depression. Further dangers highlighted is that aspartame liberates free methyl alcohol. The resulting chronic methanol poisoning affects the dopamine system of the brain causing addiction. Methanol, or wood alcohol, constitutes one third of the aspartame molecule and is classified as a severe metabolic poison and narcotic.How’s that Diet Coke treating you now?
In the peer reviewed journal, Aspartame: Methanol and the Public Health, Dr. Woodrow Monte wrote: “When diet sodas and soft drinks, sweetened with aspartame, are used to replace fluid loss during exercise and physical exertion in hot climates, the intake of methanol can exceed 250 mg/day or 32 times the Environmental Protection Agency’s recommended limit of consumption for this cumulative poison.” The effects of aspartame are documented by the FDA’s own data. In 1995 the agency was forced, under the Freedom of Information Act, to release a list of aspartame symptoms reported by thousands of victims. From 10,000 consumer complaints, the FDA compiled a list of 92 symptoms, including death. Dr. Betty Martini, the founder of Mission Possible International, works with doctors around the world in an effort to remove aspartame from food, drinks and medicine. According to Dr. Martini, aspartame has brought more complaints to the FDA than any other additive and is responsible for 75% of such complaints to that agency. More recently, the EPA found Aspartame to be a potentially dangerous chemical along with BPA, which you’ve no doubt heard a lot about in the news lately. Aspartame, not so much.
Martini says NutraSweet is a “deadly neurotoxic drug masquerading as an additive. It interacts with all antidepressants, L-dopa, Coumadin, hormones, insulin, all cardiac medication, and many others. It also is a chemical hyper sensitization drug so that it interacts with vaccines, other toxins, other unsafe sweeteners like Splenda which has a chlorinated base like DDT and can cause auto immune disease. It has a synergistic and additive effect with MSG. Both being excitotoxins, the aspartic acid in aspartame, and MSG, the glutamate people were found using aspartame as the placebo for MSG studies, even before it was approved. The FDA has known this for a quarter of a century and done nothing even though its against the law.”
So how does Donald Rumsfeld fit in to all this? A little history:
In 1985, Monsanto purchased G.D. Searle, the chemical company that held the patent to aspartame, the active ingredient in NutraSweet. Monsanto was apparently untroubled by aspartame’s clouded past, including the report of a 1980 FDA Board of Inquiry, comprised of three independent scientists, which confirmed that it “might induce brain tumors.”The FDA had previously banned aspartame based on this finding, only to have then-Searle Chairman Donald Rumsfeld vow to “call in his markers,” to get it approved.Here’s how it happened:
Ronald Reagan was sworn in as president January 21, 1981. Rumsfeld, while still CEO at Searle, was part of Reagan’s transition team. This team hand-picked Dr. Arthur Hull Hayes, Jr., to be the new FDA commissioner. Dr. Hayes, a pharmacologist, had no previous experience with food additives before being appointed director of the FDA.On January 21, 1981, the day after Ronald Reagan’s inauguration, Reaganissued an executive order eliminating the FDA commissioners’ authority to take action andSearle re-applied to the FDA for approval to use aspartame in food sweetener. Reagan’s new FDA commissioner, Arthur Hayes Hull, Jr., appointed a 5-person Scientific Commission to review the board of inquiry’s decision.It soon became clear that the panel would uphold the ban by a 3-2 decision. So Hull installed a sixth member on the commission, and the vote became deadlocked. He then personally broke the tie in aspartame’s favor.
One of Hull’s first official acts as FDA chief was to approve the use of aspartame as an artificial sweetener in dry goods on July 18, 1981. In order to accomplish this feat, Hayes had to overlook the scuttled grand jury investigation of Searle, overcome the Bressler Report, ignore the PBOI’s recommendations and pretend aspartame did not chronically sicken and kill thousands of lab animals. Hayes, left his post at the FDA in November, 1983, amid accusations that he was accepting corporate gifts for political favors. Just before leaving office in scandal, Hayes approved the use of aspartame in beverages. AfterHull left the FDA under allegations of impropriety, he served briefly as Provost at New York Medical College, and then took a position as ahigh-paid senior medical advisorwith Burson-Marsteller, the chief public relations firm for both Monsanto and GD Searle. Since that time he has never spoken publicly about aspartame. FYI, here’s Rachel Maddow on Burson-Marsteller: “When Evil needs public relations, Evil hasBurson-Marsteller on speed dial.” Evil, thy name is chemical food additives.
Here’s the kicker: When Searle was absorbed by Monsanto in 1985, Donald Rumsfeld reportedly received a $12 million bonus, pretty big money in those days. Also, while at Searle, Rumsfeld was awarded Outstanding CEO in the Pharmaceutical Industry from theWall Street Transcript(1980) andFinancial World(1981)! Imagine that…
In my research for this piece, I compiled facts and quotes from some various sources in order to best elucidate this issue. I have done my best to include all of them here so you can check out all the evidence for yourself. Much thanks and respect to those trying to alert the public to this dangerous substance.
Here’s the timeline of how things went down: http://www.rense.com/general33/legal.htm
On Rumsfeld and Aspartame: http://www.newswithviews.com/NWVexclusive/exclusive15.htm
Dr. John Olney’s letter to the Senate in 1987: http://www.scribd.com/doc/6669992/Dr-John-Olney-Statement-Aspartame-l987
Dr. Joseph Mercola on America’s Deadliest Sweetener: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-mercola/americas-deadliest-sweete_b_630549.html
Aspartame (Nutrasweet) Toxicity Info Center: http://www.holisticmed.com/aspartame/
Stay healthy! Organic evaporated cane juice (sugar) and sometimes honey seem to be the best sweeteners to use, and in moderation at that….
In the movie Waiting for “Superman”, nominated for an Oscar as the best Documentary of 2010, the following statement is made:
” …in Illinois, 1 in 57 doctors loses his or her medical license, and 1 in 97 attorneys loses his or her law license, but only 1 teacher in 2500 has ever lost his or her credentials.” Since the movie was released, these figures have been repeated frequently. They take up five pages in the Google search engine, were cited in the NY Times review of the film, the British newspaper the Independent, as well as by Brian Williams of NBC in the television program Education Nation. But apparently not a single one of these news outlets, or the makers of Waiting for “Superman”, ever bothered to check them. While looking for the source of this claim, which is repeated without citation in the movie and its companion book, I came upon a 2007 newspaper article by Scott Reeder of the Small Newspaper Group: One should note that the data cited in the source article is substantially different from the claim made in the film. In the movie, the period of six years is omitted for the disbarment of physicians and/or attorneys- making indefinite the time span over which the data was collected. The film also says that only 1 in 2500 Illinois teachers have “ever” lost his or her credentials, rather than over six years. In an effort to verify these claims, I first consulted the annual summary put out by the Federation of State Medical Boards. In reality, 121 doctors lost their licenses in Illinois in 2009, out of 43,670 physicians. That means an average of 0.3 percent of doctors per year lost their licenses; or 3 out 1,000 per year. Over six years, this would equal 1.8 percent — substantially the same as the 1 in 57 figure cited in the source material. I also checked the claim that 1 in 97 attorneys in Illinois lose their licenses over six years. According to data reported by the American Bar Association, 26 lawyers in Illinois were disbarred in 2009, out of a total of 58,457 – in some cases, by mutual consent. Since 2001, the average rate of Illinois attorneys disbarred is 32 per year — with more than half of them leaving their professions “voluntarily.” This is an annual rate of about 0.05 percent, for a six year rate of 0 .3 percent — 3 out of 1,000 — not one out of 97, as the source material claimed. As mentioned above, the movie did not specify the time frame over which this disbarment is supposed to have occurred. The total number of lawyers disbarred in the entire country, either involuntarily or by mutual consent, is 800 per year out of 1,180,386; which is about 0.07 percent per year, or 7 out of 10,000. The number of those involuntarily disbarred is 441- about 0 .04 percent or 4 out of 10,000 per year. The six year rate for disbarment nationally would be 0.42 percent — about ten times the figure cited in the film of one in 2500 Illinois teachers who “ever” lost their credentials. I could not find any independent data verifying the number of Illinois teachers who lose their credentials each year.
According to the NY Daily News, over the past three years, 88 out of about 80,000 New York City schoolteachers have lost their jobs for “poor performance.” This represents an annual rate of about 30 out of 80,000, or 0.03 percent, which is about the same rate as attorneys who are involuntarily disbarred each year nationally. According to the Houston Chronicle, over the last five years, 364 Houston teachers have been fired, out of about 12,000: “Of those, 140 were ousted for performance reasons, a broad category that generally covers teachers not fulfilling their job duties.” So the rate of Houston teachers who lose their jobs due to poor performance is about 0.2 percent per year – higher than the rate of either doctors or attorneys in the state of Texas removed from their profession annually. For example, only 32 Texan attorneys were disbarred in 2009 out of 75,087; for an annual rate of 0.04 percent — about one fifth the rate. 64 doctors out of about 60,000 physicians per year on average lost their licenses in Texas between 2005 and 2009; an annual rate of about 0.1 percent — about half the percentage. Moreover, many more teachers who are untenured and/or uncertified are removed from their jobs for poor performance. Roughly 3.7 percent of New York City teachers were denied tenure this year, according to the NY Times. The overall attrition rate of teachers is much higher – many of whom would probably otherwise be cited for poor performance, but who leave the profession either willingly, or “counseled” out. In New York City, the four year attrition rate is more than 40 percent — a mind-boggling figure. In reality, one of the most serious problems plaguing our urban schools, along with excessive class sizes, overcrowding, and poor support for teachers and students, is the fact that we have far too many inexperienced educators revolving through our high-needs schools each year. Can you imagine if 40 percent of physicians or attorneys left their jobs after four years? A national emergency would be declared, with a commission appointed to find out how their working conditions could be improved. Yet instead of examining this critical issue objectively, the movie Waiting for “Superman” cites false statistics in their effort to scapegoat teachers, unfairly blaming them for all the failures of our urban schools. The film features the views of Eric Hanushek of the Hoover Institute, a well-known conservative critic of equitable educational funding, claiming that the best way to improve our schools would be to fire 5-10 percent of teachers each year. To the contrary, eliminating teacher tenure and seniority protections would likely produce an even less experienced and less effective teaching force – especially in our urban public schools, which already suffer from excessively high rates of turnover. As a parent, I support a higher standard for teacher tenure and more rigorous teacher evaluation systems. I have seen my own children benefit from excellent teachers over the years, but also occasionally suffer as a result of poor teaching, though the latter has occurred as often in schools without union protections as those that were unionized. An improved evaluation system would take into account not only test score data, but also feedback from other teachers, administrators, students and parents. But at this point, we simply cannot trust the corporate oligarchy currently making policies for our schools to create a fair evaluation system, including those who backed Waiting for “Superman”, given their proclivity to misuse and distort data, as shown by the inaccurate figures cited in the film. Rather than a documentary, perhaps the movie should be re-categorized, with an appropriate disclaimer, as an urban myth.
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I originally posted a similar column in The Examiner almost a year ago (12/09/2009). I’m afraid, if anything, the situation has become even more dire for the teaching profession in the past year. Mayor Bloomberg’s plan to publish the “ratings” of teachers in the press — on the basis of test scores — is one more example of the public humiliation many of the best New York City teachers have to endure in the interest of “educational reform. ” Perhaps the following article can put this absurd situation into perspective.
If doctors were treated like teachers:
1. “Charter hospitals” could certify “smart people” as qualified to begin practicing medicine without any prior experience in the field if they had had “some business background.”
2. Since a “doctor” can “doctor” anything, a cardiologist would be on staff at a hospital in place of a urologist when there was a shortage of urologists. The cardiologist could “learn on the job.” Of course, a general practitioner could be used in the place of any specialist since such a doctor would have “general knowledge” of anything involving medicine.
3. Whenever a doctor gave a patient a prescription, the patient’s parents could come to the doctor’s office demanding he or she change the prescription since the parents “knew better.”
4. Because of a shortage of doctors, Mayor Bloomberg would institute a summer “crash course” in medicine for people who had no background in the field but “liked playing doctor” when they were little. Those who got through the six-week course would then be considered qualified to care for the most severely ill patients since no other doctors would want to do the job.
5. Doctors would qualify for “permanent license” if they showed by their rates of patient survival that they were “improving their scores.” In order to do so, doctors would only treat the healthiest patients and refuse to treat the sicker ones to keep their rates of successful treatment high.
6. Many “Charter hospitals” would be established in which unlicensed doctors could practice the latest techniques on their patients, using the funds of public hospitals to subsidize them. Of course, only the healthiest patients, whose relatives cared enough about their condition to place them in a charter hospital would be admitted. Any patient exhibiting signs of serious illness would be immediately discharged and placed in a public hospital.
7. The average longevity of a doctor’s career would be considered “normal” if he or she practiced for no more than five years.
8. If a hospital proved to have a poor “patient survival record,” it would be closed down and three new hospitals would be created in the same building with nothing to do with each other but with three times as many bureaucrats running them.
9. Any patient who entered a doctor’s care when already terminally ill would be expected to make a full recovery — or the doctor would be considered incompetent.
10. A special program — “Heal for America” — would recruit students who graduated from the top colleges in the country but with no background in pre-medicine to “try to make a difference” by being placed in the most severely crowded and understaffed clinics and hospitals so they could know “what it feels like” to be a doctor, if only for a few years.
11. The American Medical Association would be condemned by politicians and health “experts” for “protecting incompetent doctors” on the basis of mortality rates in high-risk neighborhoods and the organization would be disbanded as a “menace to public health.”
Could one health clinic provide care to over ten million residents throughout four different countries in one of the most rural regions of the world? Dr. Amy Lehman believes so.
Anything but an ordinary general surgeon, Dr. Amy Lehman is a human dynamo. She recently stopped by for coffee, and revealed much more than I could ever expect about her brilliant plans to build a floating clinic on the world’s longest lake, Lake Tanganyika.
How will Amy do this? Where is Lake Tanganyika? Dr. Amy Lehman reveals her plans — and more!
Caught in the Act: Dr. Amy Lehman from Creative Visions Foundation on Vimeo.
How you can help the Lake Tanganyika Floating Health Clinic:
Join the team on Facebook.
Float the boat! Make a donation.
Learn more by listening to this piece on Worldview.
To learn more about the Creative Visions Foundation.
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Weekly Pulse: Rotten Eggs, Drowsy Doctors, and Expensive
Insuranceby Lindsay Beyerstein, Media Consortium blogger
Tainted egg shell game The Iowa chapter of the
Sierra Club is pushing state
regulators to investigate two factory farms and a feed mill linked to
this summer’s massive recall of salmonella-tainted eggs, Lynda Waddington
reports in the Iowa Independent. The Sierra Club sent a strongly-worded
letter to Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller urging him to investigate
Wright County Egg, Hillandale Farms and the Quality Egg LLC feed mill. All
three firms were linked to the salmonella outbreak that sickened an
estimated 1200 people; and all three firms are linked to agro-baron Austin
“Jack” DeCoster. Tom Philpott of Grist calls DeCoster a “habitual” environmental
offender and “one of the most reviled names in industrial agriculture.” In
1996, the Department of Labor fined DeCoster Eggs $3.6 million for what
the then-Secretary of Labor described as “running an agricultural
sweatshop” and “treating its employees like animals.” Over the years,
DeCoster enterprises racked up additional fines in other states. A
previous Attorney General of Iowa dubbed DeCoster a habitual offender for
water pollution. In 2002, five female employees at the DeCoster’s Wright
County egg operation alleged that their supervisors had raped them and
threatened to kill them if they reported the crime. The company paid $1.5
million to settle the lawsuit. Drowsy doctors
A coalition of public health activists is pushing the Occupational
Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to regulate the work hours of
doctors in training. New proposed guidelines would limit the shifts of
first-year residents to 16 hours, but more senior trainees could be forced
to work shifts up to 28 hours. The group, which includes the Committee of
Interns and Residents/SEIU Healthcare, the American Medical Student
Association, and Public Citizen, says that’s not good enough to protect
doctors or the public. As I explain in Working In These Times, research
shows that sleep deprivation is a major
preventable cause of medical errors, which is why the coalition wants to
see shifts for all residents capped at 16 hours. Insurance
premiums soar A new report from the Kaiser Foundation
Family shows that health insurance premiums continued to climb with
employers shifting an ever-greater share of the burden onto employees. A
family health insurance policy costs about $14,000 a year, with employees
shouldering 30% of that cost. Michelle Chen reports in ColorLines that
families that manage to hang onto their health insurance can’t expect relief through health care
reform any time soon. The major reforms don’t go into effect until 2014
and the biggest early beneficiaries will be those who are currently
uninsured rather than those who are already paying through the nose for
lousy coverage. The ultimate goal of comprehensive health care reform is
to reshape the health care and health insurance systems to bring costs
down across the board, but that’s small consolation to workers who are
struggling to stay on top of their premiums right now.
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I’ve had a series of encounters with doctors recently. Some caused by ridiculous accidents (aren’t they all?). Some possibly the result of minor nerve complications of diabetes. But all have left me dispirited and fatigued. Because I find something crucial lacking in so many health care professionals — mindfulness.
Mindfulness is the act of paying full conscious attention to whatever you’re doing in the present moment; it’s the act of being right where you are fully present in this moment of now. Imagine how different the quality of an interaction would be between a mindful doctor and patient.
It’s ironic that many health care providers have forgotten, or don’t realize, the enormous healing power of merely being fully engaged and present with their patients. When my provider is mindful I feel calm enough to hold onto a world where my nerves are running riot. I feel safe when I’m not sure I am. I feel confident that even if my world has just tipped on its axis I can still live in it as me, and that together we will handle whatever has happened.
Yet, increasingly I find my providers multi-tasking when they’re with me.
Benefits of Mindfulness
For a patient, a doctor’s full attention immediately creates an environment of safety and support. In such a space worries lessen and a patient can better hear what her doctor says. For a physician, a mindful patient offers more and higher quality information to help you more quickly and effectively diagnose and treat, leading to better outcomes.
While most insurance companies require doctors see multiple patients in an hour, no matter how little time there is for a visit, a mindful interaction is already healing.
My visits feel so perfunctory that “care” has gone missing from the term “health care provider” and the healing power of human connection is on my, and I imagine many patients’ Most Wanted List.
Below are a few recent medical encounters I’ve had both with mindless and mindful providers. Plus 10 suggestions for more mindful encounters with patients.
Examples of Mindless Encounters
Hand surgeon: Due to severe pain in my wrist I go to a hand surgeon. After the nurse shows me to a treatment room, she stands with her back to me reading my intake form. Still with her back to me, she asks me a question. I have to say to her, “Can you please face me when you talk to me?”
The hand surgeon examines my hand and gives me a clinical diagnosis I don’t understand. I have to ask several questions to understand what is wrong with me. He answers each question before I finish asking it. He talks so quickly my brain cannot process the information. By time he gives me my options I’m in a brain fog.
Podiatrist: My foot falls asleep while I am working at my computer. Unaware, when I get up from my chair and put my foot on the floor, it buckles underneath me and I hear “crack, snapple, pop.”
My podiatrist begins our session by typing notes into his computer. He tells me he’ll be with me in a minute. Several minutes pass before he looks up and asks me what happened.
After developing my X-rays, he rushes back into the treatment room and tells me while whizzing past me, “h.lama.m. rrfemmema..a,, wlejjejs OJK.” His next sentence is even more garbled — delivered while stacking the X-ray plates back in the closet. I ask him what he said. “Looks like a hairline fracture. You’re going to be OK.” I really would have liked hearing that the first time, since as a type 1 diabetic with a foot problem I’ve been hyperventilating since the incident.
Neurologist: After the hairline fracture in my foot heals I’m still in pain so my podiatrist sends me to a neurologist.
I learn I have a nerve entrapment. I also learn that my neurologist grew up in France, lived in the jungle of Vietnam for years to study meditation with a Buddha. He left Vietnam just before the war and came to America with $100 in his pocket. He supported himself as a chef until he got cancer. He was so appalled how doctors treated him as a cancer patient that he decided to become a doctor. He knows neurology is perfect for him because it combines his interest in the body’s energy meridians, chi and caring for patients.
Funny thing is he never learns a thing about me. In three visits he never asks me anything other than, “Does this hurt?”
Without intending, his powerful personality and lack of interest in me intimidate me from asking many questions — even though I can’t understand his French accent. I actually leave his office not sure of my prognosis. If he would have asked me this one question, “Do you understand what I’ve just told you?,” he would ensure that I had.
Physical therapists: I now go to physical therapy three times a week to unlock the nerve entrapment. I work with two different assistant therapists, one mindless and one mindful.
They both perform the same exercise with me separately. They hold a strong, thick band around my ankle as I move against the tension. The mindless assistant, looks around the room and gives instructions to other patients while working with me. Each time her attention is diverted the band she’s holding goes slack and she loses count of our repetitions. I feel I am wasting my time.
Examples of Mindful Encounters
The mindful assistant looks only at me, talks with me, counts the reps, never eases up on the tension. I feel myself growing stronger.
I had to dig deep to think of another interaction I’ve had recently with a mindful provider. It was my diabetes educator.
She came out to the reception area, smiled, shook my hand and walked me back to her office. She pointed to a chair for me to sit in. She asked me questions both related to my diabetes, and some just about me in general.
When she learned I write books about diabetes, she talked to me like an industry peer. She listened more than she talked and I never felt judged.
When she wanted to share information on her computer, she turned the screen around so we could look at it together. At one point she pulled my chair over so we were sitting together.
She gave me her email address when I left just in case I had any questions.
It’s ironic, but while providers may feel they’ll lose time by not multi-tasking, they’ll actually gain time by helping patients more immediately through more meaningful interactions.
Tell me, would it make a difference to you if your health care provider were more mindful? As a physician, can you imagine the quality of your interaction with a patient who is more mindful?
In a future post I’m going to share with you how Kaiser Permanente, one of the nation’s largest not-for-profit health providers, is training physicians in a mindful approach that’s increasing positive health outcomes.
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