One physician’s take on traversing the healthcare system in later life.
Spoiler alert. Less is more, except for exercise, eating right and laughter. Doctors mean well, but it is best to avoid them when possible. There is not a pill for every symptom. Beware of fancy tests, supplements and direct-to-consumer advertising. Nobody sleeps well all the time. Dying is not optional. Living with quality and dignity until we die, is. Caring is everything.
I was an ICU nurse for 10 years before I became a physician. This is where I learned the skills of listening and observation, and of sticking around to provide care even when there was no cure in sight. At the bedside, I witnessed tragedy and miracles and got hooked on human resilience. As a physician, I fell in love with the brain and how we age, and became a geriatric psychiatrist. I have worked as a clinician, educator, researcher and administrator, serving vulnerable populations, and bridging the (false) dichotomy of psychiatric and medical illness. I often find myself at the intersection of modern science and reality, working with problems that have no ready cures, but desperately need care.
This blog will explore the things I have learned along the way, dispel some myths of healthcare and provide insights gleaned from my current work in the world of long-term care. I worry that we have lost our common sense and will share ways I think we can regain our footing. I also have some tips for consumers and advocates to nudge providers into making higher quality decisions. These musings will come in no special order and will reflect only my opinion, not formal medical advice. If only one person learns something that helps them on their healthcare journey, or helps them help someone else, I will call it a success.
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