Audio Attitude Exploring situational influence on attitude and behavior.

April 15, 2009

Bad Attitudes at the Emergency Department

Filed under: General — Tags: , , , , , , — Brian @ 8:08 pm

Worthy of a look is this emergency physician’s perspective of the healthcare system. The rudeness and demanding he describes in his patients is probably real. However, I take exception to his analysis that the reason is “entitlement.”

People in our culture are trained to believe a test can detect any problem and a pill can fix it. The pharmaceutical industry makes certain that we get the message that pills, not prevention or caring for our health, is what normal people do when they do not feel good or get sick.

I wonder how many of the doctor’s mosquito bitten minor ailment-reporting patients have had the luxury of life-long open access to a nurse practitioner or family doc. I doubt many. Where do people without a healthcare provider learn about their bodies and how to take care of them?

Healthcare is as much an approach to living well as it is treating disease. Commercials, medical drama shows on television, and watching everybody they know take pills, smoke cigarettes or marijuana, drink, or otherwise ingest something to feel better. And when they get confused about a bump that itches, and whether or not it is cancer like that person got on some show they saw, who are they going to ask?

People with no money and no doctor go to the only place that cannot turn them away — the emergency department of the local hospital. Why do you suppose some patients are rude and demanding? Because they are spoiled selfish little brats? No, they are obnoxious because they learned a long time ago being pushy is the way to get service at a place that, were they polite, they would not be seen.

Entitlement the doctor speaks about is not what people feel when they visit his department looking for some professional insight into their bodies so much as the entitlement that those of us lucky to have access to healthcare seem to have when somebody mentions universal health care. “Oh, no, watch out for encroaching socialism!”

No wonder some emergency patients are rude. Too many of us with jobs and healthcare are so far removed from what life is like to go without healthcare that we are unable to imagine it.

The doctor might be ready for a vacation. He probably means well and does his best to hide his bitterness when these frequent flyer patients return with another stupid demand. Yet I would bet a paycheck these cretin patients of his detect his scorn and react accordingly.

This is not about bad attitude. This is about bad situation. If the doctor would step back a bit he might envision how universal health care can virtually eliminate such emergency department visits that drive him to apathy.

Remember. Attitude is almost never expressed in a vacuum. Attitude is determined by the person’s subconscious awareness and assessment of the situation – most of which happens without our knowledge.

Let’s think more about the situation in our culture. Attitudes will improve as a result.

April 14, 2009

Let Them Have Tea!

Filed under: General — Tags: , , , , , — Brian @ 8:26 pm

Logic, I realize, is not useful in understanding tomorrow’s tea party. I suppose we should all take the day off, stop at Walmart for supplies, and invent another holiday where we dress up, consume too much, make a lot of noise, and go home feeling like the day was worth having. After all, we are exercising our right as Americans to tell those bums in Washington that we are not happy about them spending our money. Just like the early days before our country was established we will demonstrate our displeasure with a national day of acting tea-d off.

Yet the Boston Tea Party was about protesting the lack of representation. The tea partiers will not be protesting the lack of representation, but that they no longer want representation!

I have heard many of them suggest that having a federal government is a bad thing. “Get rid of government and taxes,” they say.

Let’s think about that in the context of the last several years. Suppose tomorrow we got rid of the federal government. How soon before the largest corporations would figure a way to fill the power gap? How close do you think weapons manufacturers would make a bid to manage the military? How long before would Haliburton or Blackwater offer to take over for the FBI and NSA? A few deals between a company like AT&T and Walmart and everything would be taken care of by the free market. Right?

In a libertarian utopia gone wild the biggest corporation will ultimately own everything just like the monarchs of old. Walmart will be the new King. They will provide all the healthcare, all the education, all the work, and all the land. And the tea people thought socialism was bad?

Life was simple in the days of kings. And, sure, simple times have sort of a sweet quality. But to keep it all orderly people had to remember their place or get imprisoned or killed.

I realize it takes work to become involved in one’s government. Wouldn’t it be grand if we could pay someone to act entirely on our behalf without so much as us having to express to our representatives a thought or word of communication? Yes?

But that would be preschool, not a democracy.

We all know that to keep a democracy in the hands of the people requires hard work. Sometimes it is very frustrating and slow work. But, overall, when we commit to preserving the union, to protect the fundamental rights of the least of us as well as the most powerful, we all benefit.

My frustrated, hard working, busy, independent-minded well-meaning friends believe in an unregulated free-market. They may not admit to it, but ask the ones owning businesses how they like government regulations in their business? Most will complain that it impairs their ability to make products. Many will mutter that the government is the problem. Ask them how much time they spend telling their experiences to their elected representatives? Many do not even vote, much less get to know who represents them in governement.

Without regulation to watch out for the weak, the young, the impaired, the trusting, survival of the fittest becomes law. The weak grow weaker and the strong grow stronger until the weak and strong manage to kill each other in a complex quest for dignity.

Most voting Americans realize civilized government is in the best interest for each of us. Most of the tea people will admit a need for the military and the police and the roads and the prisons – the every growing, and expanding, and costly prisons. But they insist they do not need to pay for poor people, or sick people, or to educate people. They will deny lack of compassion. So why would we not want to ensure fairness, keep working conditions for people safe, keep products safe, and keep our environment and neighborhoods safe? Why would we not want everybody to be strong, healthy, and pursuing happiness?

Is it fear of competition, I wonder?

But, I thought competition in a free market was a good thing. I wonder what a United Stores of Walmart would say to that? Let them have tea?

January 21, 2009

Who me?

Filed under: General — Tags: , , , , , — Brian @ 7:43 pm

Finger-pointing is not what Frank Schaeffer thinks Obama meant liberals should do when the new President challenged us to grow up and promised to reach out to haters if they unclenched their fists.

Photo by Rickydavid on Flickr

Photo by Rickydavid on Flickr

Whose fists did the President suggest be unclenched?

Filed under: General — Tags: , , , , — Brian @ 7:06 pm

Mary Lyon figures it out.


Photo by Mika Hiironniemi

December 15, 2008

Game of “Tag”

Filed under: General — Brian @ 9:07 am

Dinner at the Harbor

Originally uploaded by Brian Rendel

Ben Carlson tagged me to find the sixth photo on the sixth page of my Flickr stream and put it in my blog.
Ben’s picture was one of exploring. Interestingly, mine was, too.

So here it is. A memory of a wonderful overnight stay at the Harbor Haus B&B in Copper Harbor Michigan. This view of the harbor was taken from our dinner table just as the Isle Royale Queen was returning for the night from her trip to Isle Royale.

Now, to tag six others… I think I will tag:

Mrs. B, Kosso, P.W. Fenton, Mike D, Adele McAlear, and
Michael Harren

October 31, 2008

Are You Better Off?

Filed under: General — Tags: , , , , , , — Brian @ 8:44 am

Ronald Reagan, whether or not you were a fan, was one of those natural personalities in the position of president. He “got” the art of communication. More than any other trait or ideology – I think communication – the type that connects with most people – serves a president and his or her people most effectively. Knowing our president is connecting with us and tuned in to our struggle is more important than policy preferences. Reagan won because he communicated better than his opponents. “Are you better off than you were four years ago,” he asked in the 1980 election. The country wasn’t. He won.

As if candidate Reagan returned to hand off the baton to Obama, here he is making the simple and connected case with a simple but connected question.

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