Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Something to cleanse the palate of politics for a day

I watched this TED talk yesterday from a doctor who works in palliative/hospice care.  It is 19 minutes long, and I encourage everyone to watch it. The speaker has a pretty incredible story of his own, and this is hard to describe, but just watch his eyes when he speaks. He made a great quote which I am going to steal wherein he called the Boomers the "Silver Tsunami" about to hit the health care system. We are at a spot right now where we are allegedly working on redesigning our healthcare system. However, I believe that every plan being floated right now is basically embedding the same flaw that has been there forever, namely that we treat symptoms, we treat illness, but we don't treat humanity.

I took care of a lot of people in the ICU and in Hospice, and they frequently have a lot more problems than their health. In fact, I'd say their health is typically the result of those problems. At present, we believe nothing is more important than saving money and reducing cost. We don't, however, seem to believe that a society of damaged, unhealthy people creates enormous cost on it's own, and we also don't seem to believe that society loses anything useful when somebody eats themselves into five different chronic diseases.

I like the slow changes I see happening. Maybe in fifty years people will have a different outlook. In any event, I really encourage people to watch this, it's good food for thought.


  1. Yes. An excellent, thought provoking presentation, thank you.

    1. Thank you for watching it Mick. I just found out this gentleman is coming to speak at an event sponsored by our company next week, so I will get to see him live. I am really excited.

    2. People fear death because of the thought of pain. Yet they do not realize the treatment often is beyond painful.

      People who have gone through various treatments only to have another occurrence are often willing to say no more please. Simply because of the pain and suffering they are about to endure.

      A reason many are not willing to die is unfinished business. Before I leave this life, the only thing that matters is seeing my daughter can survive this world and has and the tools necessary to get there.

      The worst reason is the relatives are not willing to let go.

      He certainly is a person who has been there.

    3. I think all of that is true and one more thing, the various providers in a system almost never ask, "What is most important to you?" I watched another really good video last night that was not moving like this one, but it did address a lot more of the financial aspects of the system. To help someone really flesh out what is most important to them can be a very, very long conversation. A length of time that the primary care doctor just doesn't have. It was interesting listening to him talk because he used examples of patient's whose goal was literally to beat their illness and it was inevitable that they were going to die in a hospital. Even still, by including a team of providers who addressed pain, who addressed spiritual distress and so on, there was still an enormous benefit to the patient and the family to not be suffering.

      That's a really admirable goal Lou. I'd bet heavy that her having you for a Dad has gotten her most of the way there already.

    4. One day everyone has to ask themselves, what's really important in life?

      Last week had an auto accident, totaled the car. Just a few bumps and bruises. Amazing how the mind blocks out the middle part. Remember slamming on the brakes and navigating the median where it was grass and sand. Hard to remember much in between like the actual impact. Wonder when that returns.

    5. It doesn't Lou. I had an accident when I was 18 hit a tree, hard. car caught fire and the only thing that saved me was the next guy to come along was a volunteer firefighter carrying an extinguisher. it happened at 8 am I woke up in the hospital looking at my mom at 1 pm. Still don't have a clue what went on those 5 hours. I remember turning onto the road I wrecked on about 30 seconds before the wreck happened nothing else.

    6. I have a vague recollection of the red car cutting me off and then slamming on the brakes. May or may not have happened that way. So far the reality remains elusive.

  2. Yes. An excellent, thought provoking presentation, thank you.