living your best to the end

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...