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Appreciating Empowerment

By Clinician, ePatient, Family man

My wife and I spent some time trying to adopt a teenager after our son, Mike, died. We chose the adoption agency because, with them, the child made the decision whether or not to be adopted by us. The teen with whom we developed a relationship decided not to be adopted by us. Hard for us, but success for her! Empowered adoption. The clowns of Laughter League at Boston Children’s Hospital poke their heads in the room, May we come in? When the child says, No, you can’t come in my room, it’s success! Empowered hospitalization. Katherine Treiman at RTI shared an article with me about self-dialysis, Is “Empowered Dialysis” the Key to Better Outcomes? People connect themselves to their machines, draw their own blood, clean up the dialysis equipment themselves. More training time, lower mortality rates. Empowered dialysis, empowered hospitalization, empowered adoption. Wow. Radical. Controlling our own lives. A person, not a patient. What a thought.  I know the fatigue and stress when I feel powerless. My MS symptoms are much worse. I feel better when I’m in control. What I really like about empowered decision-making is that it doesn’t matter what decision is made. The physical, mental and spiritual benefits of empowered decision-making and care may be tough to measure. Is that because we don’t measure it or because we don’t know how to measure it? Still, we should practice it, appreciate it’s wonder, and learn to measure it.

Photo by chuttersnap on Unsplash

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Trust and choice: magic levers

By Family man
We had a family birthday party this morning. I’m reflecting on the tragedies we’ve weathered, the illnesses we’ve endured, the fun we’ve had as our kids grew up.  Now our kids are parents with grandsons learning to value and trust family while testing boundaries and making decisions about their environment and relationships. Talking now with my wife, highlighted that all our kids knew was trust and that we took action in the face of tragedy or setback. Our kids parents didn’t die young, no one was assaulted or abused, they didn’t go hungry. We rallied in the face of challenges – death of loved ones, losing a job, no money.  When our son, Mike, received a terminal diagnosis, we took action, consciously putting one foot in front of the other and finding things for others who cared to do. It helps to be busy. After Mike died we tried to adopt a teenager.  It never worked out, but these young people clearly didn’t trust, didn’t have solid boundaries, and weren’t able to make choices in their lives. A feature of the adoption program we used was that the teens would be making their own decisions about adoption.  The one young lady we would have adopted decided not to be adopted by us. Big step for her. Sad for us. Trust and self-determination: magic levers of best health.