Equity: more to achieve the same #005

By | Advocate, Caregiver, Clinician, Consumer, ePatient, Episode, Leader | No Comments

Diversity, equality, and equity are not the same. Diversity = the inclusion of differences. Equality = leveling the playing field. Equity = People have the same opportunity to achieve best physical, mental, and spiritual health no matter their social circumstances, biology, genetics, or physical environment. Bias impacts them all. Reaching for equity requires moving toward systems designed and built for inclusion and best health outcomes. Read More

Pillow, pills, poop, piss, and pain #004

By | Caregiver, Episode, Family man | No Comments

Episode Summary

  • Blood, sweat, tears shared by two.
  • Helping one end and another begin.
  • A disaster that ultimately gives back.
  • Hearts clubbed by diamonds in spades.
  • We learned, we cried, we continued.
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First, We Listen

By | Advocate, Clinician, ePatient, Leader | No Comments

As a blogger, I talk. Every week, I talk. I talk about what I experience, what I think, and what I think I know. As my web/social media coach says, “You’re a content machine.” Now that I’ve started podcasting, I realize that I know enough to be dangerous. Podcasting is an opportunity for me to listen and learn. Listening has always been a challenge for me. Read More

Men Caregivers Part 1 Podcast #003

By | Caregiver, Episode, Family man | No Comments

Four of 6.4 million men caregivers muse on their varied experience, emotions, challenges, joys. We did it because we wanted to and we could. Great stories! Read More

Crossing Thresholds

By | Caregiver, Clinician, ePatient | One Comment

Before I officiate at a wedding, I meet with the couple. Getting married is crossing a threshold. There’s a moment before which you aren’t married, after which you are. What’s the difference, one moment to the next?  I’ve officiated at 26 weddings over 40 years. One time, the couple couldn’t say.  I didn’t officiate.

We continuously cross thresholds in our lives and in our journey to best health. A threshold is a beginning, a change – before we weren’t, now we are. We cross a physical threshold when entering a building, a room, a town… We cross a threshold when we enter a community, a relationship, an experience. We cross a threshold as we park our cars, enter a clinic, go for an MRI; when the doctor or nurse enters the room or responds to an email; when we call our insurance company; when someone asks, How are you? We cross a threshold when we feel a lump, hear a diagnosis, throw up, panic, feel pain, fall. Before we didn’t, now we do.

Crossing a threshold can present us with limitless possibilities. Who knows what might happen? Anticipation, excitement, hope. Some thresholds upset our sense of balance, our inertia. Why me? Distraction, hopelessness, annoyance, frustration, fatigue, rage  Crossing a threshold can energize or suck energy, depending on the moment and perspective.

A pivotal moment for me as a nurse was discovering the opportunities I had to experience some of these threshold crossings, moments of imbalance, with others. Having a companion or a guide at these moments can be huge. A smile, a touch, information, can change the trajectory of that crossing, speed the regaining of balance, add energy, provide relief, increase hope. My mission became: to increase the sense of balance patients, caregivers, and clinicians feel as they work together towards best health.

Threshold crossings occur around us constantly. Consider being a companion, a guide when you notice someone approaching a threshold. You can make a difference in the crossing.

Photo by Mantas Hesthaven on Unsplash

The Minute Before and the Minute After

A new threshold – laid off

Guests on People’s Health Journeys

 

May the Force…

By | ePatient, Family man | No Comments

Tragedy: the common unifying force of life, no matter your genetics, your circumstances, your behavior, your health. As you season the likelihood of experiencing tragedy increases. A tragedy can be a death, diagnosis of serious illness, break up, job loss, legal difficulties, downsizing, loss of a contract, loss of key staff, loss, loss, loss.

Family and friends often text me, May the force be with you, when I’m in the midst of a personal tragedy. What is this force? How does a person, a family, an organization, or community survive a loss, a tragedy and regain best health? Resiliency. According to SAMHSA resilience is the ability to:

  • Bounce back
  • Take on difficult challenges and still find meaning in life
  • Respond positively to difficult situations
  • Rise above adversity
  • Cope when things look bleak
  • Tap into hope
  • Transform unfavorable situations into wisdom, insight, and compassion
  • Endure

The American Psychological Association reports the following attributes regarding resilience:

  • The capacity to make and carry out realistic plans
  • Communication and problem-solving skills
  • A positive or optimistic view of life
  • Confidence in personal strengths and abilities
  • The capacity to manage strong feelings, emotions, and impulses

I add my superpower as an attribute: accepting what is.

Can resilience be learned? How can we increase the resilience capacity for ourselves, our families, our organizations, and our communities? What tools can help increase our resilience capacity?

__________________________________________________

This post above was one of my first in August 2012 (lightly edited).  It still works.

Since then I’ve realized that someone with resilience has spiritual strength. I actually first learned this from my Opa (grandfather), Henri van Leeuwen, who survived the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp during the Holocaust. He told me that his strong spiritual core made the horror survivable. Finding others with the same was key to maintaining that core. Having someone in our circle who has quiet resilience helps those around us face tragedy. Some people are born with a strong spiritual core. Others not. My Opa said it came to him at Bergen-Belsen. So it can be learned or found with guidance and example. Resilience is a muscle like patience. It needs exercise and often a coach.   May the force…

Photo by Diana Beidler Simonton

The material found on this website created by me is Open Source and licensed under Creative Commons Attribution. Anyone may use the material (written, audio, or video) freely at no charge.  Please cite the source as: ‘From Danny van Leeuwen, Health Hats. (including the link to my website). I welcome edits and improvements.  Please let me know. danny@health-hats.com. The material on this site created by others is theirs and use follows their guidelines.

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Healthy Homes Advocacy #002

By | Advocate, Episode | No Comments

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Episode Summary

Something is wrong here.

I feel like crap.

This isn’t fair.

I don’t want anyone else to ever experience what my kid experienced.

At some point, when we feel strong enough or mad enough, we want to take action to improve health. This is advocacy. Many of us advocate for someone, sometime. Or we want to. Ourselves, our family members, our cronies, our community. What lessons can we learn from a master at advocacy? I interview Mary Sue Schottenfels, Director of ClearCorps Detroit, a seasoned community organizer, a master advocate.

The lessons I heard from Mary Sue were:

  • Don’t go it alone-join, network, and collaborate.
  • Keep your word, follow through.

Those seem like such no-brainers. The interesting thing about people who are masters at what they do is that they have learned and leveraged the common sense basics. And they persist. While we can certainly learn from masters like Mary Sue, we still need to learn for ourselves. She learned it over 30+ years. And her advocacy didn’t stop. The focus shifted, from lead abatement to asthma prevention back to lead abatement. Advocacy never stops in healthcare. Don’t be silent, advocate. May the force be with you.

Episode Notes

Photo by Sarah Ferrante Goodrich on Unsplash

Links

ClearCorps Detroit

About the Show

Welcome to Health Hats, empowering people as they travel together toward best health. I am Danny van Leeuwen and I have worn many hats in my 40+ years in healthcare as a patient, caregiver, nurse, informaticist, and leader. Everyone wears many hats, but I wear them all at once.  We will listen and learn about what it takes to adjust to life’s realities in healthcare’s Tower of Babel.  Let’s make some sense of all this.

My guests and I reflect on what works for people, professionals, and communities in their journeys toward best health: learning, making choices, communicating, and adjusting to realities. We can range from personal, clinical, technical, entrepreneurial, organizational, to whatever interests me at the moment. Join the ride!

Readers of Health Hats, the Blog, we will publish a Podcast in at least two of each month’s weekly posts. To subscribe go to the blog https://www.health-hats.com/

Trailer: Health Hats, the Podcast #000

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HHP000_Episode Summary

Best health is living at peak performance no matter our biology, abilities, or our circumstances. Reaching best physical, mental, and spiritual health is complex, frustrating, frightening, and oh so rewarding.  I’ve worn many hats during my life in healthcare. I’m a person with Multiple Sclerosis, I’m a nurse who’s worked in the community, in hospitals, in managed care, and behavioral health.  I’ve been care partner to several family member’s end-of-life journeys. I’m a musician, an Opa, a storyteller, and a patient/caregiver activist.  Wearing all these hats, I know a little bit about a lot of healthcare and a lot about a little bit of healthcare. I  interpret the Tower of Babel so You can drive your own train and achieve your personal and community health goals. In this podcast, I will invite passionate, skilled people to muse with me about life, death, advocacy, research, data, healthcare delivery, anything that piques my interest. Let’s make some sense of all this!

Episode Notes

Please find me at  https://www.health-hats.com/.  or subscribe to my podcast on iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts. 

About the Show

Welcome to Health Hats, empowering people as they travel together toward best health. I am Danny van Leeuwen and I have worn many hats in my 40+ years in healthcare as a patient, caregiver, nurse, informaticist, and leader. Everyone wears many hats, but I wear them all at once.  We will listen and learn about what it takes to adjust to life’s realities in healthcare’s Tower of Babel.  Let’s make some sense of all this.

My guests and I reflect on what works for people, professionals, and communities in their journeys toward best health: learning, making choices, communicating, and adjusting to realities. We can range from personal, clinical, technical, entrepreneurial, organizational, to whatever interests me at the moment. Join the ride!

Readers of Health Hats, the Blog, we will publish a Podcast in at least two of each month’s weekly posts. To subscribe go to the blog https://www.health-hats.com/

Hey there, this is Danny. Best health is living at peak performance no matter our biology, abilities, or our circumstances. Reaching best physical, mental, and spiritual health is complex, frustrating, frightening, and oh so rewarding.

Manage the Stress You Can

By | ePatient, Family man | 2 Comments

When my son, Mike, was dying I knew I needed help supporting Mike AND survive and thrive myself.  I went shopping for a counselor. No surprise to you – I am not an easy patient. But I was willing to do the work. My shopping eventually led me to three counselors.  The first, a friend highly recommended. This friend had survived leukemia with several years of chemo, stem cell transplant and heart surgery. His mental and spiritual health were shaken. I could see that this counselor had really helped him. I made an appointment. The guy popped Altoids Curiously Strong Peppermints the whole time. To keep himself awake? No go. Still shopping. The next counselor I knew from work. She was on my providers’ council. She asked questions. I answered. How did I feel…? I didn’t need talk therapy. I had family and friends. I needed a roadmap. How do I manage myself? The third counselor spent 5 minutes asking me about diet, sleep, exercise, pooping, my family, transportation. You have to take care of the basics to manage grief. Then he said, there’s stress you can manage and stress you can’t. Grief is stress that’s hard to manage.  There it is. It’s not going away. Now tell me your top two stresses in your life right now. That was easy. On top – My mother. (That’s another story for another day). Tell me more. I told him more, another 10 minutes. Then he gave me three things to try to help manage the stress with Ma. I spent 45 minutes of the allotted hour with him! He was a keeper.  I tried all three recommendations with Ma. I could pull off two. Rapidly less stress in that arena. Therapy from a master is worth shopping for! He’s still part of my team. I talk to him on the phone from time to time – like when I was first diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis.

I find now that take care of the basics and manage the stress you can has helped me enormously to manage the continuing serious annoyance of MS. How do you manage the stress you can?

Photo by Pim Chu on Unsplash

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