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A medical day

By Dave Snowden  ·  May 29, 2013  ·  Diabetes

Just a health warning (sic): this is a reflection of day of personal medical experience with a brief mention of some potential SenseMaker projects.  So if you are looking for insight into Cynefin, sense-making, narrative or whatever skip this one!   I’ll focus on something less personal tomorrow.

Its’ odd how the personal and work aspects of life sometimes come together.  In my case I wish they hadn’t but I am now working on what will be a series of health and well being projects and everyone wants to include diabetes in the their programme.  Now having personal experience can help gain perspective but I would have preferred to avoid it!  Being treated as an object rather than a subject is something I knew about in theory but to realise you are being processed is a different matter altogether. At the moment my general view is Doctors good, Nurses please don’t patronise me but I expect that will change over time.  Whatever its giving me a really good perspective on what is needed and not needed during early stage post diagnosis.

So for those interested I am working on three potential patient journey projects using SenseMaker, one part of a wider partnership with a leading US Medical School to develop a whole series of products for Heath and Well Being so expect a few blog posts that report on both the business and the personal over the next year.  On the personal front I had had the embarrassing experience earlier today.  I went into the service station next to the Days Inn that was my bed for the night post Hay-on-Wye and suddenly realised that a pair of trousers that used to stay up without a belt no longer did so.  So good news, the extreme diet is working after only three weeks; bad news I may put a few people off their full English breakfast.  Mind you for those of us having to learn to endure oatmeal there is a certain frisson of pleasure if that was the case.

The afternoon was spent in Exeter with both medical and NGO sectors talking about a possible UK Diabetes prevention programme.  Lots of excitement about the ability of SenseMaker to scale in comparison with normal research methods and to provide advocacy.   Then it was a long slog up the motorway to the hospital in Bristol for an MRI scan.   I was referred for what they thought was a trapped nerve (and probably still is) and the consultant decided to check out diabetes as the same time.  Probably a good job he did as otherwise it would have been a year before another routine check.

Now of the trouser incident was bad enough, the MRI scan was a total nightmare.   I am partially claustrophobic so I was expecting it to be difficult, but I had no idea just how closed in it would be.  I pressed the bulb twice until the threat of sedation got me into a state where I would endure.  Changing the music from Beethoven to Jonny Cash seemed to help.  Not sure why, but it did.

The process thing hit again.  I had forgotten that I couldn’t wear anything with metal so I ended up in two hospital gowns - a form of clothing designed to maximise humiliation.  But again that is minor really.   The waiting room for MRI scans is a depressing place.  I remember the experience of sitting by both my parents when their cancer was being diagnosed and there were too many others going through the same experience.  I suppose it puts something that is manageable, possibly reversible into perspective.