A car rental experience from hell. Took 2 1/2 hours to complete car rental. Poor signage, walked 3/4 miles to wrong location. All systems down. Only one person registering. Hour to wait in line to get car. Gave us a car from wrong vendor. Told to drive wrong car around to front of lot. Got lost. Then no clean cars to rent. Beleaguered staff showed exemplary customer service. They made the experience possible, but we’ll still never use that company again. The e-systems didn’t work, the lot was poorly organized and they were grossly understaffed. Sound familiar? Happens in health car regularly. Customer service helps to survive the moment, but can’t bandaid bad management and poorly designed systems. Renting cars is a luxury, health care is not. Does born again customer service in health care supplant good systems and good management?
- Family man
- Routine physical
- New acute issue
- Follow-up for an acute issue
- Follow-up for a chronic condition
- Current meds – prescribed by anyone plus any not prescribed (over-the-counter). Note if they’re taken as prescribed, any questions about the meds, any effects that cause notice. If you can, bring the medications in their containers, just in case.
- All members of the health team: medical and non-medical.
- Anything medical or health that has occurred since the last visit with this clinic or clinician.
- Questions that come up in prep
Worry, a familiar and unwelcome companion on the health journey. What do I have? Will I have to adjust my life (further)? Can I keep the faith? Who will help ME? What have I missed? Can I do it all? Fretting weakens- stomach aches, binge eating, inattention, sleeplessness, short fuse-what a pain! Who, on the health team – person at the center, caregiver, professional – who that is alive avoids worry? It can fill the spaces between the cells. Worrying makes me mad. It saps fuel from my limited tank. What helps me lessen worry? More information, empathy, kvetching for a minute (a timed minute), getting out of bed, making a list, grandkids, music, meditating on my peaceful place, following a mentor/counselor’s instructions, change something in my life, rarely, a pill. How can I help lessen the sum total of worry in my teams and networks? I can recognize the signs, provide information, be flexible, listen, empathize, and offer small unexpected kindnesses. These are magic levers of best health.
I play saxophone in a combo – I’m the only horn. I come in with the melody – after we’ve improvised – with authority and confidence. My teacher tells me, “come in strong whether or not you’re right. The band will adjust. Better than hesitating and coming in weak.”
I thought about this when I was in a meeting the other day with a labor lawyer and benefits consultant. They both sounded authoritative and confident – and had opposite opinions. I spent as much time watching the strength of their presentation as thinking about whether their advice was right for the agency.
I recall that my 17-year-old cousin recently expounded about the biology of memory with authority and confidence: “You sure speak with authority and confidence,” I noted. “Sure,” he said with a proud smile, “I’m on the debate team!”
Authority and confidence and being right – not necessarily connected.
As a nurse I watch the expression of authority and confidence often from professionals and see how it affects people at the center of care and their caregivers. It’s hard to separate strength from right. One of the reasons I’ve chosen my doctors is that they can sound authoritative and confident, but they engage me in the question of what’s right for me.
A wise person once advised me, “when someone speaks to you with force, either positive or negative, imagine blue smoke coming from their mouth. Let the blue smoke pass you by before you consider the words generating that smoke.” 🙂
Disclosure: The act of revealing something. How does disclosure impact life for the disabled, chronically ill, or their caregivers? Disclosure has a threshold: before disclosure, after disclosure. Revealing something that may impact success or perception. I have multiple sclerosis, mental illness, am an amputee, have a son with autism, am very short, have chronic pain, manage my father’s care on the other coast. I’m applying for a job, college, a loan. My situation has changed, I’m newly diagnosed, I’ve taken responsibility to support…..
There’s legal implications: non-discrimination; fitness to do job. There’s personal style and boundary implications: I am who I am; it’s nobody’s business. It’s situational, personal, risky. More