I was talking to my mother on the phone this morning.
She’s just returned from a two night stay in hospital after collapsing in town.
Fortunately, after undergoing a barrage of tests, there doesn’t seem to be any serious fundamental problem.
But she was talking about the hospital staff and how she couldn’t fault them and what long shifts they have and this has prompted me to write this post.
Because there’s something I can never understand about healthcare.
I think we can all agree that healthcare is one of the most important services available, if not the most important.
If you can think of a more important service, let me know.
So explain to me why, when it’s vital for workers in this field to be at their sharpest, as they are often making life or death decisions, and at their physical best in order to guarantee precision in surgery for example, do doctors and nurses often work ten hour shifts?
Your garagist doesn’t work a ten hour shift, so does that mean that repairing cars is more taxing than repairing humans?
In no other profession are there such long shifts, and yet in none of these professions is it so important not to make a mistake.
This is something I’ve never understood.
It’s an indication of the absurdity and mixed-up values of our modern world.
It seems to me that doctors’ and nurses’ hours ought to be shorter than other people’s in order to ensure that they can provide the best service possible, not longer than for anyone else.
After all, if you have to go to hospital, wouldn’t you like to know that the people overseeing your health are properly rested and in a fit mental and physical state to look after you properly?
I know I would.
But then, as Bob Dylan put it, “People are crazy and times are strange.”
The idea that taking pictures of the brain’s activity might actually help us to understand why people behave as they do and be an invaluable aid in deciding on the best psychiatric treatment…… Who knew?
Why does it take supposedly learned and experienced scientists so long to reach the obvious conclusion – one that as Daniel Amen points out in his passionate talk, any reasonably aware 9 year old would be capable of reaching?
Personally, I’d like to see more places that are wi-fi, laptop and mobile phone free.
It really is time that people reclaimed their lives and started returning to the real world.
The mobile phone is a tool over which many people have no control whatsoever.
If you do not master a tool, then you become its slave.
Other tools that people are often enslaved to are money and TV.
Same thing applies.
Ask yourself honestly:
Do I have control over my mobile phone/money/TV or does it have control over me?
And if your answer is that you don’t have control over these things:
TV and mobile phone:
Discover the off button and practise using it.
Start real conversations with real people in front of you.
Do not reply to the phone when you are already in a conversation with a real person.
Try looking at the world around you. It’s full of beauty.
Try being thankful for the money that you already have.
Try sitting down and working out how much money you really need.
Try evaluating the real cost of obtaining the money you earn.
Try giving some away and see how it feels.
Take freezing into ice cubes for dropping into your favorite drinks, for example, or as a remedy for swimmer’s ear, which resonated with me because I do a lot of swimming in the lakes here in Switzerland.
Anyway, if you love this natural solution as much as we do or have yet to discover its potential, do check out the article:
Wikipedia définition: “Paraphernalia most commonly refers to a group of apparatus, equipment, or furnishing used for a particular activity.”
When I was a kid, I had a bike.
Whenever I wanted, I leapt on my bike and went for a ride.
It was that simple.
Now it seems you can’t go for a ride unless you’ve got the right shoes and togs, preferably smeared with advertising so you look like you’re on a pro team.
And don’t forget the gel-padded gloves, the water bottle, the pump, the tinted protective glasses and the indispensable crash helmet.
Bicycle clips on your ordinary trousers are passé.
You need a special low friction, ultra high-speed, no wind-resistant pair of tights.
Whatever happened to simple?
Whatever happened to inexpensive?
Let’s take another example: fitness.
All the advertising suggests that you need an expensive gym membership to stay fit or at least have a few costly machines at home.
Even if you have no exercise ideas of your own, the internet abounds in excellent exercise suggestions that require nothing more than willpower and a functional body to perform without any equipment whatsoever (see list at end of post).
So why are we constantly cluttering up our lives with all this unnecessary equipment and expense?
Perhaps we’re trying to convince ourselves that if we don’t have the equipment we can’t do the activity.
Perhaps we’re afraid that if there is no one to look at us, then we won’t exercise.
Ultimately, though, it’s between you and you.
The rest is just distraction.
All that equipment, all that clutter – it’s a hindrance rather than a help.
Keep it simple.
Do what you can.
Go slowly – you’ll quickly become disgusted if you overdo it.
Here are a few YouTube exercise channels that I particularly like:
Although this company makes fitness equipment, the workouts without any equipment at all are very interesting. The link I’ve given will take you to a series of standing abdo exercises that I’ve tried out myself, but the are plenty more videos like that. It’s a little macho with the man giving the orders and the girls doing all the work, but my goodness those girls are beautiful!
These guys are into parkour but their exercise suggestions without equipment are really interesting and useful for anybody.
Targeted at people over fifty, the lady presenter may be a little less flamboyant but her suggestions are good.
K’s Perfect Fitness
The girl has the obligatory stunning looks of a standard get fit channel, but she actually has some good exercise tips without equipment as well as with. The poor sound is a minor irritation (microphone on camera so no presence).
Very important – don’t get depressed if you don’t look like the presenters in these videos!
A new scientific study seems to appear almost every day.
Some of them might be useful.
Many of them are not.
For example, a recent study found that the reason natural fibre garments smell less than those derived from petrol is that natural fibres, such as cotton, wool or linen, absorb sweat whereas artificial ones do not.
Now I don’t know how much funding ‘they’ got for this study, or indeed how ‘they’ got any money at all, but I could have told them that before they started.
It’s common sense.
The problem is that what used to be common sense isn’t any more.
Money must be spent in order to establish the obvious.
Take another recent study that found that if an ‘independent study’ was made (that’s right – we even need studies about studies now) using money from an interested source, then it was 40% more likely to be biased.
In other words, and to give a fictional (?) example, if a cigarette company gives a lot of money to fund a study about the causes of lung cancer, it is more likely that the conclusion will be that the major cause in smokers is prevalent air pollution rather than smoking cigarettes.
Who would have guessed?
My only comment about that study would be that the 40% of increased probability is much too low and that some interested party probably put enough money into the study to get ‘them’ to bring the figure down from 100%.
Moral of the story: human beings are infinitely corruptible, especially where money is concerned.
So the next time you hear someone “they saying,” I suggest that your very first reaction should be:
“Who are “they”?”
Oh, it’s a report from a government body….
“No, who put up the money for the research?”
It was a health organization….
“No, who really put up the money?”
Because on closer inspection, no ‘independent report’ is independent.
Someone somewhere has always got something to prove, an agenda, an ‘interest.’
It would be much more honest to admit that bias.
Who knows, it might even help to make the findings useful?
Much depends, of course, on how you view time and when it’s well-spent or not.
Basically, I think my time would be better spent if I could move seamlessly from one activity to another with little or no down-time in between.
A lot of you probably feel the same way.
The problem is all those moments, minutes and sometimes hours spent vaguely thinking about what to do next.
You may even have something in your sight line that you know you should do, but you think about doing it instead of doing it.
– You check your iPhone for messages, even though you only did this ten minutes ago.
– You look at the BBC News app for the third time that day.
– In fact, you do anything to avoid getting on and doing whatever it is that you’re thinking about.
– And then you think about all the other things you have to do and this makes you feel so exhausted that you can’t raise the enthusiasm to do any of them.
And so on.
I’m a great believer that identifying the problem is 50% of the solution, and this is where Alex’s video is a help.
Giving a name to these in-between times helps you to be more conscious of the process and therefore to do something about all this time wasting and procrastination.
And he suggests that once you have made yourself aware of what you are doing (or rather not doing!), you should count to three and then do whatever it is that you’ve been thinking about or putting off.
This is not to say that you should never daydream.
Daydreaming can be very creative.
But too much in-between time ultimately gives you a sense of frustration with yourself.
You know you could be using your time better.
So try to make a habit of catching yourself when you’re having an ‘in-between’ moment.