A healthy lifestyle starts with healthy food choices, but for some people, finding healthy food can be a big challenge.
On a recent trip to Washington, DC, I decided to test my belief that walking is an important way to promote weight loss and healthy lifestyles by doing as much walking as possible in our nation’s capital. I decided to keep track of my efforts and see just how easy it was to stay physically active while on a highly scheduled two-day business trip.
A patient has asthma and needs medication to prevent a possible trip to the ER. The doctor prescribes it. But the state bureaucracy that runs the Medi-Cal program puts up a roadblock. After hours of follow-up, the doctor manages to navigate the system for her patient. The story illustrates why so many doctors have stopped taking Medi-Cal patients.
We are not made up of organs only. We are human. We need someone to be looking at the whole picture, someone to help us discuss end-of-life care issues with our families and elderly parents. Someone who can explain why it is important for a family member to see three different doctors to control her diabetes and heart failure. The system is too complex to assume patients can navigate the waters on their own…which may be why patients with chronic conditions often see the progression of their disease as something beyond their own control.
A middle-aged man who is a life-long smoker shows up in the doctor’s office after suffering a shortness of breath. His declining health has put his job in jeopardy, but he is addicted to tobacco and unlikely to kick the habit any time soon. He is also short of money. His physician wonders whether the patient will take a generic medication she prescribes for him or return soon to the ER with another expensive-to-treat medical crisis.