Crappy Way to End the Week

“If you don’t know history, then you don’t know anything.  You are a leaf that doesn’t know it is part of a tree.” – Michael Crichton

Happy Easter or whatever celebration you celebrate at this time of the year.  My Easter morning experience involved extricating myself from between the wall and the toilet in my bathroom.  Using the potty can be a delicate discussion and usually involves just as delicate an action but I’m going to throw this out there.

Made a poor judgement on momentum this morning so between the landing and a very lose screw (one of two that hold the seat steady) I overshot the landing zone taking time for a face to face with my toilet plunger.

It seemed like a good time for a mental distraction as I wiggled physically to regain a vertical rather than horizontal perspective of the room.  That distraction turned into an epiphany involving physics.

I’ve broken my fair share of toilets in my life but baste on what I hear (or don’t hear) I don’t think it is an occurrence for most people. Getting myself dislodged gave me some time to reflect on it.

toiletThis is the bathroom in my “wheelchair” apartment.  There is no way a wheelchair is getting in beside that but whatever code interpreter was issuing the permit seemed to think this would work.  What the hell, I’ve been here almost three years and made it work.  So please don’t start on me about accommodation.  I’ve done my fair share.

I’ll bet you have never thought of this but the next time you go to sit on the toilet pay attention to how important knee motion is to lightly sit on the commode.  That knee movement allows for a much more controlled PSI landing.  It’s nice equal weight distribution which is what a good toilet is designed for. Continue reading “Crappy Way to End the Week”

The Decomposition of Healthcare…

Today is Canada’s Thanksgiving which is a little different from the American equivalent, still six weeks away.  It’s a time for families to get together, enjoy each others company for maybe that one time a year, stuff themselves with turkey and other good foods while giving thanks for various aspects of their lives.  One big difference between Canada and the US is that every turkey is under threat here since we don’t have a President to “pardon” any given turkey.  Regardless what country you are in being thankful is the major part of this holiday.

For the last number of years I have had a difficult time recognizing aspects of my life I should be thankful for.  I know, deep down, that I have many things to be thankful (grateful) for however as access dries up social isolation tears you down.  With decreasing access, even among people who know you well, it’s hard to feel thankful when social isolation makes you just wish you were dead at times.  This year was a little different and it took a health emergency to wake me up.

I recently became involved with the Island Health Patient Voices Network as a way to be active with health delivery in this area.  I’ve spend the better part of my life involved with health-care so why stop now.  With a new federal health agreement somewhere on the horizon, the changing community demographics and the technological changes that require a different approach to health-care this activity caught my attention.  All the hype about “engaging citizens” and encouraging patients to be “active” members of the treatment team made me think this would be a good volunteer involvement for me.

Plus it would provide me with some community activity and not worry about physical access.  A lot of it is done through conference calls or online.  Another side of me (the jaded side) was busily hoping this would be substance based and not just optics for the community.  I think I found my answer…

I unexpectedly wound up in the Nanaimo hospital for the nine days leading up to Thanksgiving.  It was unexpected and the first dealings I have had with this hospital as an in-patient.  Let me start by saying so much for the patient being part of the treatment plan unless I was prepared to shake my head in agreement with whatever hospital “administrators” (very different from the bedside care-givers) were saying.

So over the next few posts I will be discussing “health-care” from the perspective of a non-traditional patient.  So much of health-care is based on traditional health and body function.  It requires some thinking outside the norm when dealing with a life time of adaptive behaviours.  Anyone who has grown up with some form of life long disability have usually found adaptive techniques that work for them but it’s a very individual process.  Put five polio survivors around a table and you will probably find five different approaches to problem solving a physical condition.  What I discovered in the hospital was that health administrators are failing on this concept.  I was very much left with the impression that administration was running a production line service rather than an individualized treatment approach.  So let me begin…

I’ve reached a point where after 8 to 10 hours in my wheelchair I need to get out of to relax.  On September 26 around 7pm I was feeling fine but it was time to settled into my recliner to catch a bit of evening TV.  My leg was very itchy and starting to swell but I didn’t give it much thought.  Over the years I have developed a bit of a Edema in my feet but I have been told it’s part of circulatory issues related to the polio.  The blood flow is a little weaker and it’s only by using momentum that it maintains some form of control.

I must have dozed off watching the National news but when I woke up at 3:30am my leg was the size of a small tree trunk.  It felt like my leg was on fire and was the colour of a big red apple.  Between a lot of lip biting and grimacing I managed to get back in my wheelchair, get to my phone (which was charging) and called an ambulance.  I also had the good sense to grab my electronics (iPhone and iPad plus chargers) waiting for the ambulance. Continue reading “The Decomposition of Healthcare…”

You Plan It, We Scan It

Technology is quickly transforming the world as we know it.  These days you have to search hard to find anything that isn’t being done online from banking to taxes.  In fact when you look at the toolkit of available technology there is not an industry I can think of that couldn’t have some electronic component.  Case in point, the funeral industry.

We are a much more portable population these days and travels plays a much bigger part in our lives however travel time is becoming a luxury.  Many of us now live thousands of miles from family members and old school friends.  We now spend more time on Skype, Facebook, Messenger, etc. than we do traveling back and forth.  It’s a much more cost effective and stress reducing process to Skype with family members on Christmas Day than it is to fly 2500 miles to visit for four days.  Technology has given us the tools to do that.

We have now reached the point where the funeral industry can offer online services.  Being able to attend the funeral of a loved one or long time friend can now be done without all of the required travel.  We can use something as simple as a tablet and Skype call.  However by using the right mix of technology it can be even more personal by allowing people to electronically “attend” the service.

Anyone who knows what Second Life, as an example, is or has attended educational programs using virtual classrooms will understand the use of an avatar.  Those same tools could be adopted discreetly in the funeral business.  With the right software you could actually have your avatar sitting in the pew.

Not only could you be sitting there but you could be using your mobile device to communicate with others in attendance be that live or online.  The technology employed in virtual learning allows the user to interact in realtime and this same process could easily be incorporated in the virtual funeral process.

Technology has become so miniaturized these days that a chapel could be outfitted with hidden video and audio equipment that would allow a view from anywhere in the chapel.  Those attending electronically could pick and choose which camera they wanted to view through or use multiple cameras to see different views at once.

The ability to quickly connect with an onsite attendee could easily be accomplished through their smart phone.  FaceTime, video messaging or any other of many options could allow for real time interaction.  All it would take is an interested funeral business to recognize the potential for this and begin building the simple infrastructure needed.

The bigger crowd online!
The bigger crowd online!

I have reached a point in my life where I need to attend more funerals than baptisms or weddings.  However the travel involved for many of these make it impossible for me to attend.  Electronic attendance strikes me as a very effective option.  Although many baby-boomers may see this as rather impersonal many millenials wouldn’t and definitely won’t as they age.  They take the use of technology for granted.  By the time they get to where funerals are more common than weddings it will probably be an expectation to attend electronically.

My prediction, a growth area involving technology and death.  It may not sound pleasant but it does encourage involvement.  It is much more likely I would attend as an electronic attendee than jump on a plane four or five times a year to attend the event.  It doesn’t even have to be a funeral business that does this.  It could simply be an entrepreneur who sees an opportunity to blend technology with compassion.

Just one man’s opinion!