So the past two weeks I had shadowed a specialist.
One thing I noticed - quite a few of his patients were older and on Medicare/Medicaid. Another thing I noticed was that the older the patient, typically the more positive and happy the patient's outlook. The younger patients (younger as in, 50s/60s), weren't too bad off, but it was really the 80s, 90s and the 103! year olds that had the best outlooks on life and attitudes.
It made sense to me. People that are constantly negative, bitter, and bitching about their lot in life are probably the ones that are not survivors, and do not make it to 70, 80, or 90. Some people may get cancer, or have a heart attack, and succumb to the illness... but I think it's typically the people with a negative outlook and pessimistic tendencies that do not make it over the long run. So lesson learned: stay positive. I feel like I am an optimist at heart and want to find the best in people and situations but it is not always easy.
Several patients had faced adversity over their lifetimes - sometimes disability, a heart attack or quadruple bypass here, cancer there, diabetes and high blood pressure everywhere. Still, they had a positive outlook on things and that seemed to make all the difference in that they were still there, smiling, catching up with the doctor in the exam room and wishing each other well. Even the patients with disabilities, like reduced vision, etc., seemed to get along okay, for one older gentleman, as long as he could do his crossword puzzle and play tennis, that's all he cared about. In my mind, that's great!
More to come later... along with what else I will be up to a month from now: running the Austin Marathon!!