I had intended to write a series of blog posts on Survivor South Pacific, showing the analogous healthcare lessons  that would help you get your needs met with your provider.  Guess what?  I couldn’t see the analogies as clearly as I thought I would, and finding them was too much of a brain twist.   The episodes didn’t play out the way I thought they would.  This idea that things don’t play out the way I think they will  presented a valuable opportunity to find some analogies about dealing with your health:

Time Changes Everything: The long story short  is that life doesn’t happen the way you think it will (and of course I include myself in that).   Obviously, I have no control over what happens on Survivor.  Similarly, life happens and many things we don’t control.  When you’re feeling depressed, anxious or in pain, how you feel can literally change in the blink of an eye.  Angry one minute, hopeless the next, grateful it’s not worse, frustrated – I get that you may feel like you’ve wrapped yourself around the axle in an endless loop.  You may have given up on the idea that this will ever pass.  And I promise you that you are capable of feeling better and getting your life back.

Trust Yourself to Find Your Way:  Ask yourself whether it’s time to stop “trying so hard to figure it out”.  Does it makes more more sense to stop comparing your situation with others and instead get more information on a different level?  That may look like anything from getting a second opinion to praying for guidance:  you can trust yourself to figure out what you need if you’re willing to ask and listen in a patient attentive way.

Don’t Trust Others Blindly:   To really trust others takes time and discernment.

When it comes to dealing with your doctor or therapist, there are two questions to ask yourself:  

  1. Is your healthcare provider competent to help you?
  2. If your healthcare provider is competent, are they reliable?

I suggest you need to answer both questions with a hearty yes!

An incompetent provider is useless to you.  A provider who isn’t reliable but is competent is also not a match.  Nowhere is it written that doctors or therapists are inately worthy of your trust.  It’s up to you to define what competence and reliability mean to you and whether a healthcare provider has indeed earned your trust.

If you’re frustrated dealing with your healthcare provider, here’s are some thoughts to consider before you decide whether your provider is untrustworthy:

  1. Did you clearly ask for what you wanted?  (Be honest here.  Asking for help means telling your provider exactly what your symptoms are and what help would look and feel like.  Using Patient Power can help you do this)
  2. Did your doctor or therapist understand your needs? (Don’t cheat!  What did they say or do that helped you know they got the picture?)

If you haven’t been clear with your doctor or therapist, the Appointment Preparation Worksheet can help you do that in the future.  If you’re not sure that your healthcare provider has understood your needs, Patient Power will help you with that.  And, as always, feel free to contact me if I can help you communicate more clearly to get your needs met.

 

 

I’m a huge fan of Survivor and, for those of you who don’t know, they just began a new season.  There are many reasons I love this show but one of the biggest is that there are some valuable life lessons.

Because I’m so enamored with how we manage our health and communicating clearly with our providers, I see almost everything in life as in some way analogous to healthcare.

So, without further ado, here’s are the life lessons I noticed along with the analogy to your health issues:

1.  What’s the biggest obstacle for the team?  Trust!  This was the assessment that the host, Jeff Probst, made at tribal council about the losing team.  Their biggest obstacle was trusting each other.

The Healthcare Analogy:  When you’re trying to understand what’s going on with your mental or physical health, trusting the people who are helping you is your biggest obstacle.  That includes not only trusting that they have the expertise you’re looking for but also trusting that they are the right provider for you.  I suggest you read this on choosing the right healthcare provider for you to help figure out what you’re truly looking for in terms of support.

2.  Find people who are loyal with you and stick with them:  This is Coach’s approach to the game so he says.  His game is built on loyalty and integrity, though he doesn’t define those terms clearly.

The Healthcare Analogy:  Finding healthcare provider’s can be tricky.  If you’ve been struggling with your health for a while and have had an ongoing relationship with your healthcare provider, even if it’s been less than perfect, you may feel loyal because you share so much history together.  On the other hand, it’s important to always look out for what’s in your best interest (since your healthcare provider works for you) and explore what’s going on when things feel unsettled

3.  Don’t shoot  yourself in the foot:  Brandon wants to get rid of a very strong player, Mikayla, because she represents a threat to him.  It seems he feels attracted to her, equates her with Pavrati who was a villain on a previous series and can’t get past it.  It would not be in the best interest of the team to get rid of a strong player at this point in the game as it would affect their ability to win challenges.

The Healthcare Analogy:  If you have a healthcare provider who is a good fit but something feels unsettling, I suggest you do your best to talk with your provider about what’s not working to see if you can address the issue together.  For example, if your doctor does a great job of diagnosing your problem and offering good options that work for you but you’re having trouble getting prescription refills, ask whether she’d be willing to put a refill on the original prescription rather than having to get a new one.  If you find that things are really not working out and that you need a new provider, I invite you to create your own Patient Power Manifesto and then interview professionals to see if they are able to offer what you’re looking for.

If you follow Survivor, I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.   What life lessons did you see demonstrated in the show?  Do you see any analogies to how you handle your health and what you saw?

Tune in next week for life lessons and healthcare analogies from  episode 3 of season 23 Survivor South Pacific!!

 

 

 

I’m a huge fan of Survivor and, for those of you who don’t know, they just began a new season.  There are many reasons I love this show but one of the biggest is that there are some valuable life lessons.

Because I’m so enamored with how we manage our health and communicating clearly with our providers, I see almost everything in life as in some way analogous to healthcare.

So, without further ado, here’s are the life lessons I noticed along with the analogy to your health issues:

1.  Use the twitter version to explain your story:  During Tribal Council (where a player is eliminated) one of the characters, Cochran, explained how he may be perceived as a nerd, but despite his translucent skin, sweater vest, and blah blah blah he is an asset to the tribe.  You could see on the faces of his tribe that his explaining wasn’t helping to keep him on the tribe.

The healthcare analogyUse the free Appointment Preparation Worksheet from my website to explain what’s going on with you when you go to see your healthcare provider.  By thinking through your situation ahead of time, you’ll be able to focus on what you most want to get resolved.

2.  Don’t try and hide your tattoo:  One of the characters. Brandon. is the nephew of Russell, a previous cast member on Survivor who was notorious for being a villain.  His last name, Hanz, is literally tattooed on his back and on his upper arm.  His strategy is to make an excuse for never taking off his shirt despite the fact that they are in the South Pacific where it’s hot, and the tasks are grueling.

The healthcare analogy:  Be honest with your healthcare provider about what’s going on with you.   For example, if you’re going to see your psychiatrist and you’ve been really struggling with depression, you may also feel a “tattoo of shame”.  You so wish it wasn’t true; you don’t want to associate yourself with it.  It’s been my experience that the more honest we are with our healthcare provider’s about what we’re truly struggling with (rather than hiding that “”tattoo of shame), while also being succinct, the more likely it is that they can address our needs appropriately.

3.  Ask for help and work as a team:  The first challenge was between Ozzy and Coach, who are well known cast-members who were brought back to join the show this season.  This began as an individual dual and Ozzy quickly turned it into a team dual when he had to put a puzzle together and couldn’t see the big picture.  He did this by saying:  “Help me out guys!”

The healthcare analogy:  When you have chronic pain or a mental health issue, it’s absolutely vital that you ask for help and work as a team with your healthcare provider as well as close family and friends who want to be supportive.  Other people who are on the outside looking in can often see the big picture and offer you a perspective on things when you’re too close to see it yourself.

If you follow Survivor, I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.   What life lessons did you see demonstrated in the show?  Do you see any analogies to how you handle your health and what you saw?

Tune in next week for life lessons and healthcare analogies from  episode 2 of season 23 Survivor South Pacific!!