living your best to the end

Health 2.0 Interview with Dr Pat Salber @docweighsin

Silicon Valley : Health 2.0 October 1, 2013 ..Presentation after presentation of apps and technology-based devices designed to help manage health. I aim to be there next year with BestEndings Mobile App.  Even with out a tech solution to dazzle, I was interviewed by Dr Pat Salber producer of The Doctor Weighs In with this lovely intro by Gregg Masters @2healthguru: Kathy Kastner sporting her ‘death kills’ T-shirt is a humble, though inquisitive force of nature who describes herself as follows: I’m just a regular gal who found myself pondering what I did and didn’t know about: my own anxieties about dying (not about death, mind you, but about my life until The End) what happens when I’m (in the process of) dying my knowledge of ‘options’ while I’m still alive my understanding of those options and their risks I figure I’m not alone, and that: I’m learning about aging as I’m in the process, but I don’t want to be learning about dying as I’m in the process my learning process may help others I can learn so much from...

MedicineX at Stanford U: all the elements of reality tv

Life with several chronic health conditions  For 3 days, I was surrounded by remarkable people whose litany of health issues and coping techniques had all the ingredients of a successful tv series: Courage, drama, humour, pathos, ethos, mystery, adventure, tragedy, fortitude, lateral thinking, creative thinking, tears, fears, bonding, loss, disappointment, triumph over adversity, love, hugs and hiding out as necessary. These stalwarts have diseases affecting every system in the body: Heart, lungs, liver, kidneys, immune, respiratory, digestive, musculoskeletal, amputation, brain. Many are also caring for a loved one with one or more serious health condition. Health care professionals lurked at every corner, and technology of all sorts is in evidence. Perhaps, reading this, you’d expect the series to take place in a retirement home, assisted living or nursing home. Not so. This amazing group was at Stanford University in Palo Alto California. The youngest attendee – Emily in her 20’s, who wrote a poignant blog, Letting people care for you. Not often easy and another lesson learned. MedicineX: Warmed the heart and the spirit It’s a conference designed around and for patients. A conference that aspires to change the way medicine is practiced and the way systems are designed; a conference that changes – for the better – relationships between patients and providers, and that promotes the concept, practice and benefits of patients helping patients. These desperately ill people are brought together by a determination to have control, and take control of their health and their lives and whilst on this journey to support each-other. This was evidenced several times. As an example, when one of the ePatients had...

Doctor learns from his mother: the patient

Health care professionals see healthcare differently when it gets personal Dr. David Lee Scher has 25 years of clinical medical experience as cardiologist and cardiac electrophysiologist, hospital department administrator, clinical trial investigator, Chair of the Institutional Review Board and Medicare committee representative.         You’d be forgiven if you assumed he’d have few surprises in store in treating patients, so when his 78-year old mother was diagnosed with both lung and pancreaticcancer, he fully expected her to freak right out. Not so. “She’s fine with the cancer and treatment. What she really hates is the loss of independence that comes with the oxygen tank she’s attached to. She calls it her ‘dog on a leash I have to walk around with.’ It made me sensitive for the first time that the small things affecting activities of daily living might mean more to a patient than facing a terminal illness.” Until recently, Scher’s mother worked, and was actively involved in medical decision. Another adjustment: she’s now delegated most of those decisions over to her son, who always keeps his sibs in the loop. “My mom recognized that the chemo’s affected her thinking and processing abilities.” As the doctor amongst three sibs, David is entrusted with the medical aspects. “My twin, who lives nearer, takes care of some of her day to day needs and our younger sister who’s in the business sector oversees important financial decisions.” Dr. Scher recognizes how lucky his mother is to have that available expertise and division of labour; “I know there are often fights and frustration amongst sibs who may not have any...

BestEndings Readers Comment

Comments from BestEndings readers I so appreciate knowing what my readers think! I applaud your frame of mind now and urge you to embrace your quest. As a. 58 yo woman whose mom died about 18 months ago, I wish she had had the courage to plan more. She’d always said there was a file with her notes for a service. But when I found it, the ideas and specifics were 20+years old and mostly not relevant. Blessings as you think, ponder, plan and prepare. Marilyn   I think that living with an awareness of mortality – our own and others’ – helps us to live much better lives. This isn’t morbid! (Though it may sound that way to some until you practice it.) I’s realistic, and it’s compassionate. It makes every day a blessing. I’ve had loved ones pass in total denial, leaving a nightmare behind them, and I’ve had them pass with awareness and courage while we walked beside them & were able to honour their lives. One guess which is the better way. Also very very important is a detailed Living Will, or Do Not Resuscitate (DNR)instructions. The standard “do not rescusitate” order to medical institutions still allows for an astonishing range of interventions unless you get a physician to help spell things out in their lingo. Perhaps you could explore this topic further for us, Kathy?   Thanks for this wonderful resource you’re creating! RMB Wonderful collection of materials for making the bestending. As a provider we must realize that we help to provide care for a lifetime, and that includes dignity at the end of life as...