Everybody Has Plans ‘Til They Get Punched in the Mouth’

http://www.cfah.org/images/authors/carolyn%20thomas.jpgWhen Edward Davies of the British Medical Journal attended the recent Lown Institute conference in Boston, he was reminded of some unlikely wisdom from boxer Mike Tyson. In the run-up to a big fight, Iron Mike was being bombarded with media questions about how he intended to deal with his latest challenger. Did he have a strategy in place to cope with their plans? The boxer’s response was simple: “Everybody has plans ’til they get punched in the mouth.”

In boxing terms, as Davies wrote in the BMJ, this is completely literal, sound advice, but as a figurative metaphor for life, it’s not bad, either: “Listening to a patient panel here at the Lown Institute conference, I was reminded that this is a worldview that doctors might do well to remember.”

Most patients diagnosed with a life-altering diagnosis can readily identify with what that metaphorical punch in the mouth feels like. And no matter how competent, how smart, how resourceful we may think we are before a catastrophic health crisis strikes, many of us may suddenly feel incompetent, ignorant and helpless when thrust inexplicably into the stress of such formidable reality. This may feel like being momentarily powerless for some or like a sucker-punch that knocks the wind right out of us for others. (more…)

It’s Time to Think Differently. Have You Prepared a Health Care Budget?

Terri Prof Headshot 0412Have changes in health care hit your pocketbook yet?  In addition to a high deductible insurance plan, are you using a Health Savings Account (HSA) for the first time?

If you’ve gotten new health insurance, a different deductible level due to the monthly premium cost, or if you’ve been taking your chances without any health care coverage at all, you may be in for a big surprise.  Do you know how much your overall health care will cost you and your family this year?  Are deductibles, premiums, maximum out-of-pockets amounts and co-pays clear to you?  If not, you have some planning to do.  You’re going to need to lay out a health care budget so that you know what you can afford.  You may also need to start thinking differently and proactively. (more…)

How to Make the Most of Your Doctor Visit

jessie-gruman picI recently wrote about how common it is for those who work in and deliver health care – physicians, nurses, clinics and hospitals – to overestimate our knowledge about our bodies, our illnesses and how the health care system works. This overestimation of our familiarity happens with even the most seemingly simple and straightforward aspects of care, such as: Who is the nurse practitioner? Where is Dr. X’s office? When is “soon”? Why are you recommending this test?

To help people find good health care and make the most of it, CFAH has created a library of Be a Prepared Patient tips and resources including two videos. The two-minute video below shares tips for How to Make the Most of Your Doctor Visit by explaining how to effectively describe your symptoms in four key steps. Being prepared with this information will allow you and your doctor to discuss the best treatment for you, including next steps. (more…)

What’s Hobby Lobby’s Real Agenda?

Displaying blogphoto.jpgIt has recently come to light that Hobby Lobby, currently embroiled in a legal debate over the federal mandate requiring employers to provide insurance coverage for contraceptives, has significant investments in companies that produce the very contraceptives they’ve objected to in their lawsuit, leading many to claim that the lawsuit is hypocritical.  David Green, CEO and founder of the Oklahoma-based for-profit corporation claimed, that by ” being required to make a choice between sacrificing our faith or paying millions of dollars in fines, we essentially must choose which poison pill to swallow…We simply cannot abandon our religious beliefs to comply with this mandate.” Hobby Lobby claims that mandate forces the company’s owners to violate their religious beliefs or face heavy consequences including penalties, fines, and lawsuits. (more…)

Improving Reproductive Health

Women aren’t fertile every day of the menstrual cycle. In reality, women are only fertile for a period of about 8 days per cycle, and it’s simple to pinpoint this fertile phase. I’ve encountered many people who can’t define ovulation and don’t know the role played by cervical fluid (or cervical mucus) in reproduction. But it’s not their fault. This isn’t something we were taught in sex ed. It wasn’t long ago that I was one of these people, and I now find myself on a mission to stop this trend.

When the female body is seen as mysterious and unpredictable, we end up missing an incredible opportunity to empower women. This lack of education about the female reproductive system leads many women to view our bodies as the enemy–something that we must constantly battle in order to remain in control. This mindset is a huge problem, especially since the female reproductive system, in most cases, is actually quite predictable. If we instead prioritize this type of education, I believe that we would set in motion a surge of powerful social changes. (more…)

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