According to trendwatching.com, we are currently in the state of Nowism. It’s called “the ingrained lust for instant gratification.” It’s an extreme focus on the current state and increased demand to get everything we want immediately. Hhmm sounds like a 3 year old. They show a variety of examples of this playing out. Let’s look how it’s playing out from a health perspective.
Medication – Finished at the doctor’s office and ready to take your medicine immediately? Just stop at the vending machine on your way out and let your antibiotics start working by the time you start up your car.
Food - Vending machines that carry fresh food and kosher food are now available with meals and fresh produce that are good for you where you are – instantly. Running from meeting to meeting and missed lunch? Heading home and no time to stop at the grocery? Don’t worry, your choices now include fresh sandwiches and produce. For this category, I’m putting an order in for a machine with gluten free food!
Exercise & Weight – Instant gratification solutions continue to innovate here – from plastic surgery and lap band surgeries for those who want it quick, to Big Loser shows and the every-person boot camps for people willing to sweat it out. Fitting exercise into a daily routing gets easier when it becomes part of what you have to do, work. An exercise machine connected to your desk? Those are gaining steam, but it’s tough to be on a business call and go at a decent pace without sounding winded.
Health Diagnosis takes time and not always self evident without testing and review of years of health data, so instant here is relevant. The nowism concept has been in development with regards to medical home equipment for years, for people to have their own equipment at home to monitor and track their health. Tom Cruise comes to mind here in a weird way, with the imaging equipment he brought into his home for privacy when Katie was expecting Suri. While shopping at an antique store this weekend I came across this nowism concept – from long ago. I discovered an “old” medical home piece of equipment – a portable EKG machine doctors used when visiting patients in their home. I wonder how long it will be until Hello Health doctors are carrying a new version of this machine.
But how will Nowism intersect with Consumerism where intolerance is usually followed by people voting with their feet – creating changes in prices, business models and processes? How do you want your health, now?
According to a recent health.com article, some women live for 15 to 20 years in pain with an auto immune disorder before the right diagnosis and treatment. I’m one of those women. One of 22 million – a number absolutely staggering. And many of us think we’re crazy, are told we’re hypochondriacs and to just wait as the symptoms may go away. They don’t.
Having moved from Boston to Louisville, KY in midlife I had many stressful events that clearly added on to symptoms I was living with for years. The first doctor said I had Multiple Sclerosis. I knew this was wrong – I lived, ate and breathed MS my entire lifetime as my Dad was a quadriplegic from the time I could walk from it until six years ago. Doctor after doctor – from Lupus, Lyme Disease, Rheumatoid Arthritis and Fibromyalgia – the tests were endless.
I spent all of my energy focused on working and then collapse in the evening at home to regenerate. We just lost my sister at 53 to cancer, and I didn’t want to burden my family with how sick I really was. I also knew I couldn’t live my life this way. Looking back to the way my father was able to keep himself alive for so many years, with the help of a health circle – those around him to manage the various needs. His will to live was unbelievably strong – even when my Mom died 23 years ago. His intake of food each day was based on the nutrients he needed – no cheating. This was done without complaint. When his doctor said he needed to lose some weight – he cut out red meat and off came 20 pounds. This is for a man who cannot move, walk or exercise. When the MS further constricted his eating as his swallow muscles began to go, his food was cut and mashed. Still no complaint. Dad had a plan. He was going to live and the system around him was built to make that happen.
He inspired me to find the answers to my puzzle. I pulled out my baby books and receipts throughout my lifetime and mapped out every symptoms, shot and hospitalization. I work on Insights in a large health organization and used the process I created – to gather seemingly unrelated information to develop deeper meaning – Insight – into the problem. Then at the grocery check out I read an article that hit me between the eyes – I found my diagnosis.
Heading back to the doctor with my health map and he was amazed. “What are aliens” he asked, which started showing up in my 20s. I was afraid he would ask that. But once I switched from that white zinfandel wine (ugh) to bud light, every Saturday morning was spent in the bathroom. And the aliens would come out every so often with things I’d eat, but there didn’t seem to be a rhyme or reason. Symptom after symptom – starting since I was six years old and rushed to the hospital for what they believed to be appendicitis and ended up as gastroenteritis. Ah, gassy girl. Pretty.
The doctor diagnosed me with Celiac Disease and over the past five months I’ve been detoxing from gluten. I have my life back and when they say you don’t realize how sick you were until you get better – I understand. It seems to me that with complicated diseases we need better tools to help people. Like the ones developed to diagnose me, what we used to keep my father alive for so many years, and a way to help people manage their health and communicate better. Thus, I’m writing a book on the lifetime lessons from caring for people and myself – essentially project managing your health. I’m a blessed person and hope to help others figure out the system to live a better life.
Ok, so now I’ve outed myself as a Reality Show junkie, although now I’m gleaming insights which could be dangerous. In the Rachel Zoe Season Finale, we get a glimpse into her world and how she and her husband are managing her issues with Vertigo. Not fun to have and clearly she’s on the path to self-destruction if she doesn’t make changes. Never did I think I’d be putting Rachel Zoe out as an example for how to manage your health but there are three lessons from this show to draw upon:
1. Tell the Truth – why go to the doctor – many times – if you’re not going to be honest about the severity of your symptoms, whether you’ve followed their direction for activities, diet, etc? Doctors can only help you if you let them and as they are processing your information to come up with the best solution for you, why leave out important information? How many other places in life do people want to authentically help you – so help them do it!
2. Get a Bulldog – most think of this as the “advocate” for your health, though thinking of them as a bulldog puts them in the right framework to get the job done that the sickly friend can’t. We rarely have the energy to drive ourselves to the doctor when sick, never mind waiting alone, telling your story, listening to the directions, and then following the directions. Let someone else push through it all and make you the priority and at the very least join in on the visit to hear the doctor’s instructions. As we saw on the show, the bulldog can also push back on the patient – though Roger was going a bit over the edge for Rachel’s liking – he did manage to push through the spinning cycle to make change.
3. Make Changes – big kudos for Rachel and Roger for creating a plan to change the stress in her life that’s causing the Vertigo. Let’s face it, she’s a creative talent trying to run an operation, so putting her husband in that role probably should have come earlier since the staff is made of creative types as well. I have a feeling the passive aggressive behavior will change in the future, definitely aiding to reduce stress. In any event – she’s breaking the cycle and making changes. That’s the hardest thing for people to do, and more difficult to sustain it.
Guess we’ll have to wait until next season to find out whether the change stuck and if she’s doing better. Meanwhile, I wonder what other shows we least expect to teach us lessons about managing their health will come from Bravotv!
The blogging begins, to start the conversations on health – yours, mine and ours! Regardless of who I talk to, whether its a close friend or new acquaintance in an airport, each person has a story to tell about their health. It seems that it’s the new way for us to relate, empathize and connect. To share information, solace and insights about something we personally experienced or perhaps a friend of a friend. With health and healthcare being so complex with its many dimensions, there isn’t one silver bullet, or answer for what may ail us. And we can’t expect our doctors to be the holy grail in it all. It’s about owning our own health…with some help!
In the past year and a half I’ve dealt with a personal health crisis and determined I was going to win. Being told the proverbial “it’s all in your head” when no clear answer was discovered after the fourth diagnosis, I realized that a lifetime of caring for family provided the answers to cracking the code and self-diagnosis. In fact, my doctor was rather amazed at the “case” I laid out to show my findings, my health over my lifetime and a potential solution. Following this painful time, I was asked by others who wanted in on the secrets to figuring out their own health issues and that inspired me to begin this blog and discussion for conversations on health.
So, now that all my house projects are completed and the closets are organized, a result of fabulous procrastination, the beginning is here and I welcome you for what should be a wild ride!