Monday, September 1, 2008

Labor Day (and Night)

According to Wikipedia, Labor Day is a United States federal holiday observed on the first Monday in September. The holiday originated in 1882 as the Central Labor Union (of New York City) sought to create "a day off for the working citizens".

The whole holiday has confused me ever since I was a kid. I grew up in Texas where there are no labor unions so we didn't have the parades or other indicators of the meaning of the holiday that might be more apparent to me. My confusion also might be tied to the fact I grew up in a family of entrepreneurs and otherwise creative thinkers and observed that work was a 7 day/week opportunity.

While that childhood didn't prepare me for holidays, it certainly prepared me only too well for work. Not just the timeclock driven work that is at the root of this holiday, but the 24/7 labors of love such as the work that Keith and I have taken on as we have committed to bringing him back to optimal health.

When we first arrived back home from the hospital, the work of managing his trache, the ventilator and medications seemed quite daunting. It became quickly apparant that we could handle all that and soon it developed its own rhythm. The bigger work that has emerged is understanding and taming the
many-headed hydra known as the U.S. healthcare system. Believe me, this was not our original plan for the first year of married life. However, some are borne to seemlingly daunting tasks, others (like us) have them thrust upon them.

As we've researched the good, bad and ugly of the beast, we have been heartened to discover some amazing folks along the way. The first is Dr. Julia A. Hallisy who has written a book called
The Empowered Patient which is a compendium of action steps and strategies for patients. She directed us to Lisa Lindell in Houston Texas who has written the book 108 Days about her experience keeping her husband alive after a month-long hospital stay turned into a 108 day odyssey through the healthcare maze. Dr. Hallisy also strongly recommended that we read the book Who Killed Health Care? written by Dr. Regina Herzlinger since it offers a real-world, consumer-driven solution to the ailing U.S. healthcare system.

Within those three books, we have the complete value chain of knowledge necessary to do our work. Dr. Hallisy tells you how to be a better patient; Lisa Lindell demonstrates how to be an advocate; and Dr. Herzlinger provides a straightforward plan for utilizing those patients and advocates to reinvent the system.

Now, I just need to find the time to read the books, LOL.

1 comment:

Steve Harper said...


I am so glad you let me know about the new BLOG. It has been way too long since we last saw each other and frankly I was surprised read about all that you have going on. Heck I didn't even know you got married so congratulations!

Although I suspect things with Keith are quite challenging, I know no one more capable of handling it than you. You truly are an inspiration and I look forward to reading your continuing adventures and undoubted progress!

Ripple On My Friend!!!