Healthcare and You

Healthcare and You

If you haven’t already experienced frustrations with the healthcare system, you will! For all the innovation, research, and high-tech options available, we still face major challenges in making those technologies affordable and available. Yes, our healthcare system needs work.

Major problems exist in at least three areas:

First, healthcare costs too much. The costs keep increasing faster than incomes can keep up. Healthcare costs as a percentage of GDP (gross domestic product), government spending, and personal or business income show no signs of slowing down. Costs are a frequent reason people don’t use medications as directed or get medical care they desire or need.

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I HOPE I’ve Changed!

I HOPE I’ve Changed!

Change can feel threatening, especially to those looking on. I’m sure you’ve heard some variety of the saying, “The only thing that never changes is that things will always change.” One of my valued professors said it this way: “You never put your foot in the same river twice.”

Change that happens around us can feel very un-nerving. And change we choose ourselves can be just as uncomfortable. But if we DON’T change, we won’t ever get better results. The anxiety and discomfort we experience as we go through change is temporary, but absolutely necessary. Research actually demonstrates that those who successfully change anything significant in their lives are willing to experience some real anxiety along the way, but keep on going regardless of how uncomfortable they feel.

I’m not the way I used to be. And I’m glad!

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Chocolate Covered Strawberries

Chocolate Covered Strawberries

Love, romance, and Valentine’s Day.  Perhaps you are like many others, making the sellers of heart-shaped baloons, teddy bears, flowers, cards, and chocolate covered strawberries very happy again this year. My favorite is the chocolate covered strawberries, and Thanks to my wonderful husband there are two dozen in the refrigerator right now! (Or at least there were earlier today: they aren’t lasting very long!)

What is it about the human heart that responds to love – or wants to? I think it’s the way we are made, and the way God intended it to be.

I know what it’s like to be single and lonely: I was that way for 48 years. I also know now what it’s like to be married, in love, and thrilled with the joy, comfort, and security a healthy marriage can provide.

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What Breaks Your Heart?

What Breaks Your Heart?

How do you know what you’re supposed to do? How do you find your purpose? How do you figure out what you were put on this planet to do?

Of course there are personality tests, career counselors, spiritual gifts inventories, and more. And they can sometimes be helpful. But there is one question that may get you closer to the answer than just about anything else.

What breaks your heart? Whose pain do you feel? What has your life experience sensitized you to that you just can’t get out of your soul?

When you recognize whose pain you feel, you likely know what problems you are created to help and whose brokenness you are uniquely able to help heal.

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Can there be TOO MUCH Health Care?

Can there be TOO MUCH Health Care?

As a physician I am invested in helping people feel better, treating and sometimes curing disease, and preventing death whenever possible. But I am also acutely aware that there are significant limitations to what we can do with health care, and that it is possible to cause much harm with the tests, medications, or treatments we have available. Alternative or complementary medicine can help in many situations, but even that doesn’t address what I see as a serious problem with health care today. And there is a truth none of us like to think about: every one of us will die!

About 25% of Medicare health spending is spent in the year prior to a person’s death. Is that wrong? Not necessarily. The U.S. spends dramatically more than any other country on health care, but we are not living longer or better. Are we expecting things from our health care dollars that they can’t deliver? I believe so.

It could be argued that doctors know more about healthcare than anyone else. And many of them choose NOT to have the dramatic high-tech interventions that are often brought to play especially near the end of life. Doctors die too.

This conversation is not about money! It’s about expecting something from our health care system that it cannot deliver. In many ways large groups of our society have developed an entitlement mentality – expecting someone else to deal with the results of our behavior, and to take care of us without our doing anything in return. That mindset impacts healthcare when people expect their doctor to “fix” them after they have lived a lifestyle that led to their illness, expect insurance companies to pay for anything and everything, and the government to pay for it if insurance won’t.

Managing your lifestyle behaviors is hard. And so is thinking about the possible end-of-life healthcare options you want or don’t want. So here are a few things I want to suggest in light of the limitations of medical care and the reality that we all live only once:

  1. Live intentionally. That includes your health behaviors. Don’t blame someone or something else. So what if it’s hard? Change what you need to change, whatever it takes!
  2. Think through what you want about your own end-of-life care. And talk about it with your family, doctor, etc. If you need a source for a possible advanced health care directive, consider www.uslegalforms.com. It may be an uncomfortable thought and conversation, but just do it!
  3. Remember that this world is not the end, and that our life here is temporary. Make things right between you and those you love, and between you and God, while you have time.

Do you think there can be TOO MUCH health care? And if so, when is it too much? What do you want for yourself and your loved ones? I’d love to hear from you.

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