Creative Space

Health Day: personal and environmental


Wednesday, 18 February 

 I’m met Terry this morning. He was a medical practitioner in the Air Force in the 70’s,  got out and went to school to become a Physicians Assistant. He’s been in the healthcare system ever since seeing patients as well as on the administration side.

I discovered that a physician’s assistant and a nurse practitioner were about the same level. They could see patients, recommend protocols, and write prescriptions. Just a step down from a doctor. And sometimes folks could come in, get care, and never have to see a doctor.

We talked about healthcare in the United States, peoples attitudes about healthcare, the Mediterranean diet, the Japanese culture of health and how far out of bounds America is.

It’s not the healthcare system in America that’s necessarily so bad as much as it’s the culture that insists that someone else take care of our health even if they’re doing it poorly and at great expense.

So … take care of your own health. Get some rest.

He remembers on the patient intake form where the question was: how much alcohol do you consume? Many people would respond none. He was talking to guys in their 50s that didn’t ‘drink alcohol’ but managed to suck down two cases of beer a week and two packs of cigarettes a day and here they were wondering why they were feeling poorly. 

A couple years ago Terry was diagnosed with bladder cancer. 

“I have never heard of bladder cancer in all my years in the field.” he said to his doctor.  

“This is small consolation, Terry, but I haven’t either.”

And at this moment he’s cancer free. They took a little bit of his liver and a little bit of his gallbladder and things are fine. He has to be less stressed and eat better. He’s over-simplifying. I imagine there’s more to it than that.

He’s been wondering what to do with his career and decided to take his passion toward service to senior ex-military or seniors in general. No end of opportunity there.

He has a great understanding of the system and can translate the fine print. And more and more of us need someone to tell us what we’re reading, what it means, and how to fill the gaps in coverage. There will be gaps in coverage. He is a caring and passionate man.

So when I dropped him off at his house he said he was going to go in and sit down and think about his health. 

I mentioned that I was just now re-reading a book by John Kabat-Zinn and the MBSR mindfulness mindfulness-based stress reduction clinic that he started 40 years ago.

One of endless loving kindness meditations.
May she, he, they be safe and protected and free from inner and outer harm
May she, he, they be happy and contented
May she, he, they be healthy and whole to whatever degree possible
May she, he, they experience ease of well-being.

Maybe he’ll give it a look.

Later this morning I met Jeff, the marketing and communications team manager for Urban Ecology Center. I’d been meaning to go, and now that I had a first hand advocate sitting right next to me, I am going to up my game.

He had had an internship from Marquette and wasn’t sure he was going to get placed when the time was up. He’s very much about ecology and the importance of taking care of the environment.

Jeff has a masters in something and he has plenty of graphic design education and experience. We talked about Adobe tools, digital tools, and print versus online. We covered it all … almost.

I told him I’d met the volunteer coordinator for The Farm (Hunger Task Force) and I said maybe there’s something about food in ecology “not that you should change your primary mission but” if you stand together with these things … He had been talking about children and training and educational modeling. They do have some cooking classes at the UEC. 

I dropped him off at the flagship location and there are two more centers in the system. Their growth is good. We managed to talk about freshwater sciences, the wonderful great lakes, the green space in the city and our rich Socialist history here in Wisconsin. 

He said he’d be happy to run inside once we got there and bring me a couple of brochures.

“That’s so very  kind. Let’s just save your print dollars for the moment. I’m not a very good filing system keeper. So, thanks, Jeff.  I’ll look you up online and I’ll be sure to visit in person.”