What is a Lapbook Gallery?

Near death for most of 2020, Shay Seaborne CPTSD struggled to effectively communicate their dire condition to trauma-uninformed healthcare providers. Additionally, they lacked exhibition space and opportunities to share their art. Shay devised a creative solution: the Lapbook Gallery.

These exhibitions resemble picture books, which succinctly narrate a trauma story or illustrate neurobiology concepts in 10 paintings. They were inspired by the PechaKucha format, where a presenter shows 20 slides for 20 seconds each. Given their intense nature, Shay realized that 20 images were too many for these narratives. Consequently, they reduced it to 10 paintings per Lapbook Gallery, creating a safer space for viewers to engage with their story.

Read more…

 

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Made With Anger: “Throwing Pods” as safe communal release

viva throwing pods

My friend, Viva, throwing a Throwing Pod

Throwing Pods are a creative and therapeutic tool to release anger in a safe and constructive manner. Recognizing the need for an outlet for strong emotions, Shay Seaborne CPTSD designed these Pods to be thrown with a small group of friends. They offer an avenue for artistic expression and encourage mindfulness and self-awareness.

The Pods are crafted from unfired clay shaped into small vessels, and filled with paint. They are designed to burst on impact when thrown against a canvas laid on the ground, releasing their contents in a visually striking manner. Participants engage in the activity by taking turns to throw the Pods. Each person pauses beforehand to reflect on their emotions and set an intention for the throw. This can range from releasing intense rage to performing a more ceremonial and gentle action.

The physical act of throwing and the subsequent explosion of the Pod provide a powerful release of pent-up anger and frustration. The “POP!” sound and the visual impact of the paint splattering can evoke feelings of power and satisfaction. Additionally, shared participation in the activity can strengthen bonds between participants as they support each other in their emotional expression.

The immediate result of using Throwing Pods is a vivid and unique piece of art created by the collective emotional expressions of the participants. The process often leaves participants feeling lighter and more at peace, having had a safe space to release their emotions. 

Posted in Art, Community, Fun & Magic, Interpersonal Neurobiology, Mental Health | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

My statement to the USCG officer who sexually assaulted me after a rescue at sea

The statute of limitations protects the Coastie who sexually assaulted me after a rescue at sea. There will be no criminal prosecution for his sexualized violence against a civilian he was charged to protect. However, there is a possibility of some accountability, depending on how serious the CO considers sexualized violence among his ranks. Therefore, I sent the following to the CO with a request that the perp should have to listen to this read aloud by a female superior officer. Whether or not he hears it, I’ve said what I need to say:

“You may have thought you could dominate and control me with your despicable actions the morning of March 2, 2017, but you were sorely mistaken. I write to you with a clarity born of resilience and a fury fueled by betrayal. You committed not only a heinous act of sexualized violence but a profound abuse of power, a violation of trust, and an affront to the very principles upon which the United States Coast Guard claims to stand.

You slammed your misplaced rage onto my body through sexualized violence because you crave your targets’ fear, relishing your ability to manipulate and exploit. You mistook me for your typical target. But, I refuse to be silent. I stand strong with nothing but courage and the unyielding truth: you are a pathetic exploiter, a bully. You are no different from the sexual predators who have harmed me in the past. Your motivations, your tactics, and your cowardice are all cut from the same rotten cloth.

Your reprehensible conduct reveals a disturbing lack of self-control and a depraved indifference to the well-being of others. Your impulse for sexualized violence demonstrates not only a disregard for human decency but also a deep-seated pathology that requires urgent intervention. I implore you to seek professional help, undergo thorough screening for mental health issues, and embark on a journey of rehabilitation before you perpetrate further harm.

In my studies of abusive power and sexualized violence, I’ve learned the motivation is to be temporarily relieved of the effects of one own one’s own experience of exploitation at the hands of those in positions of power. As long as you are planning, executing, and gloating over your sexualized violence conquests, you are putting a Band-Aid on your natural and normal experience of pain through betrayed trust. The abuse of others is like a drug in that it temporarily relieves your internal distress and you need more and more of it to do so. Because like opiates, street drugs, alcohol, workaholicism, or any addiction, it doesn’t address the core issue, only temporarily relieves some symptoms, with blowback.

I have a deep disdain for perpetrators like you, who abuse their positions of power to violate the trust of others, exploiting vulnerabilities for their sick satisfaction. I pity you for the profound disconnect you exhibit from your humanity and from that of those you are sworn to protect. Your actions betray a pattern of cruelty and contempt, likely rooted in your own experiences of exploitation and abuse. You are less powerful than you think; to threaten me, you had to ensure I was broadsided in a highly disadvantaged position. But to threaten you, all I had to do was tell the truth.

I harbor no illusions about the systemic failures that shield perpetrators like you from accountability. The very system designed to protect civilians and uphold justice has failed me, has failed countless others, and will continue to fail. However, I wield the tools at my disposal—my words, courage, and determination—to expose your deeds, demand accountability, and challenge the structures of power that enable perpetrators like you.

Though legal recourse is unavailable due to the statute of limitations, administrative remedies remain. Speaking the truth, I reclaim my agency and power, one defiant word at a time as I utilize every available avenue to demand accountability and expose your crimes. Your days of preying on the vulnerable may have escaped legal consequences, but your legacy shall forever carry the stench of shame and disgrace.

Your power is not genuine; it’s rooted in greed and a lust for control, all born of dysfunction. The distinction between us is clear: I possess the power to enact change, while yours is fleeting, illusory, and comes back to bite you. By holding you accountable, I reclaim my power. It may not dismantle the system, but it reshapes the dynamic between us.

You made a grave mistake in sexually assaulting me and underestimating my capacity to respond. Your foolishness now comes full circle. Blowback was inevitable. May you long enjoy.”

 

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Interpersonal Neurobiology, a compelling framework for trauma and stress recovery

Interpersonal Neurobiology (IPNB) is a compelling framework for trauma and chronic stress recovery due to its emphasis on:

  1. Integration of Brain, Mind, and Relationships: IPNB recognizes the interconnectedness of brain, mind, and relationships, promoting a holistic approach to healing by addressing cognitive, emotional, neurophysiological, and relational aspects of trauma.

  2. Neuroplasticity: The framework acknowledges the brain’s capacity to change and adapt, offering hope for recovery through interventions that foster positive neural patterning and the formation of new, healthier pathways.

  3. Social Connection: IPNB underscores the importance of relationships in healing, highlighting the impact of positive social interactions on brain functioning. Building supportive connections can contribute significantly to recovery.

  4. Mindfulness and Presence: The emphasis on mindfulness practices within IPNB encourages individuals to stay present in the moment, fostering self-awareness and helping to regulate the nervous system, a crucial aspect of trauma recovery.

  5. Attachment Theory: IPNB incorporates insights from attachment theory, recognizing the significance of secure attachments in early life and their ongoing impact on emotional regulation and resilience throughout one’s lifespan.

  6. Emotional Regulation: The framework provides tools for understanding and regulating emotions through regulation of the internal state, empowering individuals to develop healthy coping mechanisms and responses to stressors.

  7. Narrative Integration: IPNB incorporates the power of storytelling and narrative in the healing process, allowing individuals to make sense of their experiences and reshape their personal narratives in a more empowering way.

  8. Cultural Sensitivity: IPNB acknowledges the cultural context of an individual’s experiences, providing a flexible and inclusive framework that can be adapted to various cultural backgrounds and belief systems.

The interdisciplinary nature of Interpersonal Neurobiology, combining neuroscience, psychology, and social sciences, makes it a comprehensive and effective framework for navigating the complexities of trauma and chronic stress recovery.

Posted in Education, Healthcare, Interpersonal Neurobiology, Mental Health, Nervous System, Neuroscience, Thriving | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

“What do I do with my anger and rage?”

In our culture, we’re taught to not be angry, to calm down, and to “overcome” our anger, the emotion that alerts us to violations. Cruelty and contempt from caregivers is a serious violation. It’s no wonder survivors of severe abuse often ask “What do I do with my anger and rage?” They are barraged by the false assertion that is that anger is bad for us, we shouldn’t express it, and we should try to make it go away, especially by repression. That can put us on a hamster wheel of helpless rage and outrage. This is why it is important to bring anger and rage into the physical realm through meaningful action. There are infinite ways to express them that aren’t harmful to anybody and that an abuser doesn’t even have to know about. 

Rituals and ceremonies can be powerfully transformative. I buried “the father of my dreams” in a mock funeral in the rain. It wasn’t so much an expression of rage but the hurt and the disappointment. The effect was profound. 

I also duplicated a photo of my father that showed his meanness. I printed out 15 copies on one piece of paper in black and white. I cut them out and tossed one image into the toilet before each use. There’s something satisfying about pissing on your abusive dad and flushing him. It didn’t truly dispose of him or make him stop being a Dark Tetrad, but it helped solidify in me a change in the field between us because it changed my affect toward him. And so in that way, it was effective. 

One year, I sent out a crappy birthday card to him and another to my abductor. I found my abductor’s father’s address and mailed it to him there. The cards for my perps were similar. Each said, “On your birthday…” on the front with a cartoon dog with balloons and other festive elements. Inside it said, “I hope you remember all the horrible abuse you perpetrated against me and take all the responsibility. I hope you have a crappy birthday!” 

I printed the words shame, blame, and responsibility on a piece of paper, cut them out individually, and put them inside the cards. I intended them to fall out like confetti when they opened the card. I imagined my father getting his and opening it in his kitchen, where the floor was cheap vinyl that had super static cling. A tiny piece of paper would be hard to pick up. I imagined him having to pick them up and being pissed off that he had to clean up the mess. I even had a friend mail it from another state with the address in her handwriting so he’d have no clue who sent it or what might be inside.

A few years ago I tied a string around my wrist twice with two knots, one for each of my dark personality parents. I held a little ceremony in which I cut the strings off and burned them as I spoke about my parents and the relationships. It was empowering.

My childhood was a boot camp run by monsters, so for me, fighting back as a Trauma Awareness Activist-Artist and Relational Neuroscience educator is part of healing. I strive to transmute the rage of generations of abused children into a force for positive change. Pow! 

I highly recommend having a temper tantrum and tearing up phone books that someone else has agreed to clean up. Other ways to express anger and rage: art, poetry, satire, comics, dance, drumming, music, and other physical acts speak to us at the somatic level. You might have a naked dance in the moonlight and burn something to free yourself or express your rage and he’s not gonna know about it, but it’s gonna feel mighty good to you. 

If you’re repeatedly unheard, that’s a kind of shaming and a kind of denial of your lived experience. You need to find an appropriate way to “protest,” or speak your truth. If your protest is heard and responded to you don’t continue to feel angry and that rage is like the fermented anger that it’s been bubbling in. Expressing it through mindful acts can be a way to be heard, especially if you invite trusted individuals to participate.

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Physician reviews as justice

sex misconduct by ob gyn physiciansPosting a review of a bad healthcare experience is one of the very few options for neglected and abused service users to create accountability.

The healthcare system is woefully lacking in safety and accountability mechanisms to the extent it offers layers of protection to heinous abusers like Earl Bradley and Larry Nassar, so they can continue to harm innocent and vulnerable people for years or decades despite ongoing complaints.

By suppressing vital information about abusers and allowing them to continue their abuses, hospitals essentially feed victims to perpetrators. They are aided by the tendency of licensing boards to also do nothing.

This is “healthcare” in America and the “justice” system doesn’t care. We shouldn’t have to “hope the next one is better,” as a Delaware deputy attorney general advised as the best way to “protect” oneself from potential harm from other malignants in white coats, safeguarded by silence and backed by huge corporate resources.

But this is what corporatized America gives us, which is one of the reasons that telling the truth of my lived experience is the only justice I have known.

A provider might be able to have the negative review removed, as I’ve seen with my review of one abuser in a white coat. But before they do, they will certainly see it, and perhaps others will, too–and be steered away from bad players.

I did what I could do, and it feels empowering to put the truth out there, where at least someone might find it. I will not be complicit through silence and I will not be silenced.

#TraumaAwareAmerica #patientreviews #accountability #justice #DAG #Delaware #DOJ #newarkde  #badmedicine #PatientSafety #harmreduction #truth #onlinereviews

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Physician empathy is a powerful healthcare intervention

Empathy not optionalAs a trauma survivor who has studied Interpersonal Neurobiology (IPNB) for five years, I have learned that empathy is vital to human well-being, especially after trauma, and that, neurophysiologically, I need empathy. It helps integrate the brain, which helps the brain and nervous system to function better, which reduces chronic symptoms.

Four days ago I gave my pain specialist the gist of what I wrote below. He listened attentively, and immediately created an opportunity for me to share a little about the FGM betrayal trauma, which so deeply affects every aspect of my life.

My doctor, who naturally expresses empathy, came through. His face and eyes softened as he reflected on what it must be like for me and how challenging it is to deal with unauthorized permanent changes to my body. It was such a relatively big dose of empathy that I could not take it all in at once. I needed to titrate it over days. My system is unused to such empathy from anyone, especially doctors. Yet, their empathy is potentiated by their status, which, to our nervous systems, makes them alloparents, substitute parents.

By the time I saw my pain specialist, I had been in bad condition for 5 days. My symptoms were up, I was sleeping poorly, had little energy, and just wanted to quit life. But his dose of empathy was even more potent than I expected. Since that appointment on Tuesday afternoon, my pain levels have been lower, I’ve slept better, and my mood has lifted. I feel able to engage more with life and have hope for improvement once again.

My doctor’s empathy is a powerful intervention. I intend to keep asking for it, and help all my healthcare practitioners to grow their understanding of the great importance of empathy as an intervention that improves patient outcomes and reduces physician burnout, while also positively affecting the bottom line. Win-win-win! It seems like magic, but it’s Interpersonal Neurobiology (IPNB). We are the healing wave.

“Need Your Help with Brain Integration- Trauma damages the nervous system and disrupts brain integration. Safety serves as therapy, but finding it in a culture where the powerful exploit the vulnerable for dominance and acquisition is daunting. Safety, necessitating both the absence of threat and the presence of connection, is greatly absent in my life due to medical and psychiatric abuse following my plea for help with severe complex PTSD from extreme developmental trauma.

“Lacking essential connections for basic functioning, a harmonized brain, and a regulated nervous system, all disrupted by medical abuses, I rely on my physicians to aid in brain integration for a chance at achieving homeostasis before it’s too late.

“Safety is the therapy. Connection is safety, and empathy is the safest connection. I need a lot of kindness, compassion, understanding, and empathy from everyone. Especially empathy. Especially from my doctors. Especially from my male doctors. This is what my nervous system tells me in multiple ways.

“I need 40 seconds of compassion and 10 seconds of empathy in every appointment with any healthcare practitioner, along with the Patel Pause during consultations and twice during procedures. Seeking approximately a million instances of this support.

“This ‘Treat Me Well’ intervention is integral to my neuroscience-based, somatically-oriented dynamic healing framework, particularly within the Exposure Therapy aspect of the Medical PTSD (MPTSD) treatment plan. This approach replaces old, negative memories of negligent, abusive, and malicious healthcare encounters with new positive experiences, fostering healing one compassionate and empathetic visit at a time.

“Resolving Medical PTSD Requres Making a Safe Space in Medicine- Studying interpersonal neurobiology has underscored the crucial role all my providers play in addressing Medical PTSD. The focus is on altering my brain’s predictive coding, a task lacking established protocols in a system overlooking MPTSD. Safety in the medical environment is the only remedy, achieved by enhancing my ability to communicate needs, set boundaries, and secure the necessary Empathy Level care for my nervous system. Building relationships and trust become pivotal for healing, requiring providers who understand and connect. These connections aim to support my nervous system in reclaiming the safety and agency stolen by psychiatric and surgical abuses.”

#TraumaAwareAmerica #doctors #HealthcareExcellence #healthcare #medicine #physicianempathy #interpersonalneurobiology #Empathy #ptsdrecovery #brainhealth

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ChristianaCare Patient and Family Relations’ Disregard for Patient Needs and Safety

I wanted to pursue a serious grievance regarding a ChristianaCare medical experience that caused me significant and lasting harm. I received communiques that are unhelpful, and mostly gobbledygook. I only received the vaguest assurance of any resolution of the harmful systemic and provider issues because I kept pushing for six months.  

The grievance process was extremely frustrating and slightly more than useless. I only obtained the slim satisfaction of a meeting with leadership after months of persistence and luck that I pushed the right buttons in the right order. I was not granted the meeting with the provider for which I made multiple requests. As one repeatedly harmed by abusive and neglectful men throughout my life, I need to speak my piece to Dr. Schwartz. I’m not sure if it is him, leadership, high mucky-mucks, or the attorneys who are afraid of my words, but I guess maybe all four. 

The Patient Relations office demonstrated great disregard for the needs of the patient, as you can see by the contact log below. I didn’t realize at first that I would deal with a stonewalling obfuscator so I didn’t log the first 2-3 calls, but the pattern is clear. Kellie McQueen often neglected to return a call until I resorted to the use of some sharp words. Then she would move a fraction of an inch.  If she’s not supposed to be a stonewaller then she needs to go back to the factory to overwrite the program because she is not a good person for an aggrieved patient to deal with on any level. I declined to try to work with her because she has repeatedly shown great reluctance to work with me. In addition, Ms. McQueen showed not even a speck of empathy. The best she and the entire system could offer was, “I was disappointed to hear you did not feel supported,” which is two middle fingers up!

Nobody should have to work that hard to get a feel-good meeting, one that should have been offered by the system a year ago. They should have asked me for a debriefing that would help them do better in the future. Not put it on me, and put it on me to be doggedly determined to get a freaking decent response from this person who is supposed to be in patient relations. Most aggrieved people aren’t going to go through that; it’s too much for them. They’re busy trying to recover from whatever harm was done to them and maybe get back to work so they can earn money to pay their rent or mortgage and pay their medical bills. From what I can tell, this is what The System wants. 

If Kellie McQueen’s job is to wear out “complainers” with gobbledygook, silent treatment, and inaction she deserves a raise. If her job is to help people who have encountered problems in the system then she needs to be moved to a new position in the back of the file room ASAP. Stonewalling and silent treatment are highly dysfunctional and a kind of abuse. They seem to be built into the patient relations system. That’s jacked up!

I did not log the first few calls between Kellie and myself, but soon it became apparent that I needed to. Here is the contact log to date. 

2019-04-16 – I left a voicemail about going forward with the grievance.

2019-04-23 – I left a voicemail about going forward with the grievance.

2019-04-30 – I left a voicemail, “As I said in my last message, I wish to take the Dr. Schwartz matter to the grievance level. Dr. Schwartz’s behavior was inappropriate and he should experience the consequences that inform him so he can avoid causing similar harm to other patients in the future.  If you are unable to help in a timely manner I will find the go-around. I’m going to give it another 24 hours, and then…I’ll see you on the other side.”

2019-05-03 –  Received letter dated April 30 stating “these concerns have been forwarded to our leadership within the Department of Psychiatry.” [Psychiatry and Behavioral Health leadership

2019-07-24 – Received letter from Kellie McQueen dated April 30 re Dr. Schwartz grievance with handwritten note about excuses, letter says need time to talk to “entire staff involved in your concern.” Who are those staff? 

2019-07-31- Received letter from McQueen dated July 25 and postmarked July 29 stating she had “immediately forwarded your concerns to the leadership for the Department of Family & Community Medicine” which contradicts her first letter. 

2019-08-26 – Visited Kellie McQueen in her office. She told me they weren’t going to share the report or tell me the outcome. I requested a meeting with Dr. Schwartz. She said leadership might decide it better for them to meet with me. Fine. 

2019-09-15 – Left Kellie a VM to touch base about my request to have a meeting with Dr. Schwartz. 

2019-09-18 – 2105. Left Kellie a VM:  I came by to see you today around 2:30 but you were out of the office. I wanted to tell you that I don’t just want to see Dr. Schwartz, I want an apology from him. From his mouth to my ear. That shouldn’t be too hard to arrange. I expect you could work that out within a couple weeks, max. And I really hope so because I don’t want to trouble you. I know your job is a lot about smoke, mirrors, glitter, and hoping people will eventually go away. Unfortunately, I’m not that type. I want some satisfaction. It’s been almost 5 months and I have no satisfaction at all. Just these three letters that are pretty much gobbledygook. You told me there was an investigation and it was completed on a particular date. You can’t tell me who was involved, what process was used, and whether there was any change in anything. For all I know Dr. Schwartz could be neglecting his duty every day. and if this is how Christiana care treats patient relations and grievances then how can I have confidence that I won’t encounter another Doctor who puts his or her patients at unnecessary risk?  like I said I’m not going away. I want satisfaction. I hope you can work with me on this because if you can’t I will have to figure out my own way to get satisfaction. It will be legal and it will be civil but it won’t be pretty. I look forward to hearing from you soon about when I can get my apology from dr. Schwartz. Thanks and have a great day.

2019-09-19 – Kellie left a VM: Hi Shay, it’s Kellie from patient relations at Wilmington Hospital. I did receive your message from last night at 9:12. I am working directly with the leadership in order to set up a meeting, and as we discussed in my office, I don’t necessarily think that Dr. Schwartz would be at that meeting. I think it will be leadership. But I do ask them to kind of guide me on when we could meet and who will be at the meeting. I’m sorry that you feel that maybe my job is made of smoke and mirrors and twinkle dust and all this, but it really isn’t. I take my job very seriously, and I take your grievance very seriously so long. I am working towards getting this thing scheduled and I will be back in touch once I have a couple of days for you to choose from. All right. Thank you very much, bye-bye.

2019-10-08 Left VM for Kellie at 1505 – Hi, Kellie, It’s been 6 weeks since I visited your office with my request for a meeting with Dr. Schwartz. As you recall, at that time you let me know it would likely be with “leadership” rather than the psychologist whose willful neglect put me in the hospital for a week. You also let me know that ChristianaCare won’t share the grievance report or tell me the outcome. In other words, no satisfaction at all. 

From this patient’s standpoint, it is clear that neither Christiana Care, its “leadership,” or its patient relations department cares about patients who are harmed by its providers. Otherwise, I would have received a swift and genuine apology from *somebody*. 

In the 6+ months I have interacted with you you have shown me your capability within the dictates of your job. I understand systems are inherently slow and cranky. I also know the difference between that and obfuscation. I see no sign that anyone took it seriously, nor do I see any potential satisfaction through your system. Such a well-established pattern says I can count on it being the same in the future so it’s time to move along. I’ve lost my desire to *try* to work with you so I have turned my attention toward a different direction. Thanks for your time and have a good day. 

2019-10-09, at 1346 Kellie left VM – Hi Shay, it’s Kellie from patient relations. I did get your message, and I’m reaching out to you to schedule a time. I’m not sure if you have any restrictions in the day or time. We have some parking things going on here at Wilmington, but I can schedule it either location Wilmington or Christiana Thursday. If you have any dates that you absolutely cannot make if you could leave me a voicemail, and I will have someone in my office that helps scheduling make sure that we honor those dates and times that you’re not able to meet if there is some days and times that are better if you can share that that would be helpful as well. So, feel free to leave me a message at 320-4608. Thank you.

2019-10-19 I left a vm for Kellie – I got your message and initially was not inclined to respond because it is regurgitative. This is what we spoke of when I visited your office 8 weeks ago. No progress in 2 months.  However, on further consideration I decided if you can get back to me in a week with a date 2-4 weeks out, without further prompting, then that would indicate a significant improvement in your pattern. So I will give it one last try. In that 2-4 week window my only unavailability is Thursday mornings and 10-1 on Tuesday November 12th. I could meet at Wilmington hospital or Foulk road family Medicine. Given that exceptional flexibility I’m sure the scheduler will be pleased to easily find something available. I look forward to hearing about the meeting with leadership in the next week or so. Have a nice day.

2019-10-21 VM from Kellie McQueen at 1525 – Shay hi. It’s Kellie from patient relations. I got your message. And I know that you had stated some difficulties with Thursday’s I do want to just check because we’re having difficulty getting people together at the same time. Could you please call and leave a message on my voicemail if 10/31 at 11:00 is something that you’re able to do and I could actually have that right in my office so that we don’t have to get any conference space. Its conference space has been very tight for scheduling meetings. So if that is a date that you are available, then I can secure that with the Physicians, the leadership. So what’s the date would be October 31st at 11:00.  [Short notice, and on the day of the week and time I specifically said I could not generally make!] If you could just confirm that and leave me a message. That would be great. Thank you. You can reach me at 320-4608.

2019-10-22 at 0730, I called, spoke to Kellie – Said I appreciate your proposal for meeting with leadership at 11 a.m. on Thursday, October 31st in your office. It turns out that it can work.  

Kellie said she’ll send a letter by mail to confirm the meeting and who I’m meeting with. Also offered to cover valet parking if I like. Finally, some actual movement here! 

2019-10-29 Kellie left this VM at 0849 – Shay hi. It’s Kellie from patient relations at Wilmington Hospital. Just wanted to reach out to you. I we are scheduled for Thursday to meet with the two providers that I have scheduled. I unfortunately have a family emergency and I have something that I have to attend on Thursday at the same time. I can have my colleague actually come to my office and have the meeting in my office so that we don’t prolong this any longer and you know, you’re able to meet with the providers off. My preference is that I I would like to see this followed through myself, but I understand it’s just, you know, been long-time scheduling and and getting everybody together. So I’m going to ask if you could leave me a message on my voicemail today. I’ll be picking up my messages and I can certainly have one of my colleagues, you know, come to my office job. You know facilitate the meeting, so that’s not a problem. But if it’s something that you prefer me to facilitate or be there with you, I would certainly try to have this may be rescheduled for next week, and I would ask the providers to make adjustments in their schedule to do so, it’s just I apologize. It was a very unexpected situation we have so I have to be out on Thursday. So just let me know whatever works for you. I am happy to have my colleague fill in for me, or I’m happy to try to have this thing rescheduled for the following week when I’ll be here. All right. I’ll wait to hear from you. If you wouldn’t mind. Just leaving me a message. So I know if I need to schedule one of my partners. My number is 320-430-6085.

My return message:
I got your message and I agree that keeping the meeting as scheduled is best. I’m sorry you have a family emergency and I hope all is soon well again. I’ll look forward to meeting with your colleague at the meeting we scheduled on Thursday at 11. Thanks, take care, bye-bye. 

2019-10-31 – Meeting with Leadership – The culmination of 6 months of effort. 

This was the feel good meeting we should have had soon after I got out of the hospital last July, 16 months prior.  At last, I finally got someone in the system to listen!  Drs. Kavanaugh and Rapacciuolo understood what I said and were empathetic and apologetic. They took my criticism and suggestions well. They informed me that my case had resulted in identification of some holes to plug and that “a curriculum” was in process, “but these things take time,” so, every day the system continues to unnecessarily re-traumatize people. Based on treatment from providers and patient relations, I’ll never learn what was and will be implemented, so there is no assurance for me. 

2019-11-13 VM from Kellie – Hi Shay, this is Kellie McQueen calling from patient relations at the Wilmington Hospital. I’m just following up. I apologize that I was not able to attend your meeting that Charlie filled in for me, but he did fill me in on your meeting, and I hope that that was helpful. I think he felt that it was so if you would like to give me a call back. I just wanted to um discuss I guess maybe scheduling in the office and just I guess who the contact would be. I guess who would see you for Continued Care. I’m not sure. I think that was discussed at the meeting, but I just want to make sure that I’m clear and and you’re clear, and we probably have to discussion. So I’m in the office all day tomorrow. Please feel free to give me a call at any time. My number again is 302-320-4608. And this is Kellie from patient relations Thank you. Bye.

2019-11-15 – My Email to Kellie, re her VM of 13 NOV – Hi, Kellie, I received your voice message and am not at all clear what it is about. It would help if you could clarify the subject for me. Thank you, and have a great day!

No reply to date. Maybe the email address was wrong, but given Kellie’s pattern of unresponsiveness, I have to presume she is just doing her job: give me the silent treatment and hope it makes me go away. But I am done dealing with her. She is bad for my mirror neurons and I’ll not have that in my life.

Posted in Activism, Healthcare, Mental Health, Patient Safety, Safe Medicine, Truth to Power | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Declining to feed the holiday frenzy

I first participated in “Buy Nothing Day” on Black Friday when my children were little. It became my tradition. A friend, who had braved the shopping chaos, said that the local outlet mall (“Virginia’s Number One Tourist Attraction!”) was so packed with gift-seekers that parking overflowed to outlying lots, and that it was “a zoo out there!” 

Instead of wending my way through ravenous throngs and standing in interminable lines that day, I enjoyed the lovely seventy-degree weather, hanging laundry on the line, and going on an extra-long bicycle ride. I relished the feel of sun and breeze, knowing it will not be long before winter’s glum visage stares us down for seemingly endless months. These moments of satisfaction are a hallmark of having successfully “unplugged” the “Christmas Machine.”

I began lobbying my family to turn down the holiday volume in 2000 when the number of grandchildren and gifts given had turned Christmas Eve at my father’s house into an hours-long materialistic feeding frenzy. Like a friend once noted about her family’s celebration, we “could not see the Christmas tree for the trash around it.”

At first, my children and I were only able to identify what we did not like about the holiday madness, but we were not sure exactly what we wanted to keep. As a first step toward a more satisfying holiday season, I purchased copies of “Unplug the Christmas Machine” and “New Traditions,” books that helped my family define how we do want to celebrate. We noted that the number one thing that makes the season special for us is spending time with loved ones. Also scoring high was feeling relaxed in a calm atmosphere. We also like doing a few simple and meaningful things together, like baking one or two kinds of heirloom cookies to give to friends and neighbors, taking walks to see the lights at night, and decorating simply, with candles, evergreen branches, and a small tree. We might also donate some goodies to the animal shelter bake sale, learn a new song, or go to a friend’s sing-along.

Gift-giving did not disappear, but we downplayed the focus on material things. The children found stocking stuffers and candy in their stockings, and a few gifts under our little tree. When we opened gifts, we did it over a long course, so we could take time to fully appreciate each one.

These changes were initially not well received among the extended family, but after a few years, the aunts, uncles, and grandparents stopped insisting on giving my children Pound Puppies—or whatever was “in”—regardless of my daughters’ interests. The “reciprocity guilt” bothered me at first, but eased as I saw the effects of standing my ground, watching the material tide ebb. Indeed, one of the best things about unplugging the holidays is being emancipated from standing in the department store’s return line on December 26th. I still remember how free I felt the first time I was able to stay home with my family instead of going through the cattle chute with other grumpy post-Christmas reverse shoppers.

By the time my children were 16 and 13 they had repeatedly expressed pleasure at our having opted out of perpetuating the cycle of insatiable material gluttony that defines the holiday season for numerous Americans. They appreciated that the holiday season no longer brought stress and strain to our home, right through to the gift aftermath and emotional letdown. Instead, we were serenely enjoying *not* mall hopping, *not* lining up with the unhappy multitudes, *not* being constantly barraged with the same music ad nauseum, *not* worrying about finding “just the right gift” for the person who already has more than enough, *not* worrying about how much to spend on whom, *not* wondering if the children’s concept of the reason for the season is a glut of new stuff, *not* worrying how we will find room for a flood of new belongings, *not* stressing over how to pay for it all, and *not* planning to get up early the day after Christmas to stand in line with packs of other people who are glumly returning the junk they didn’t want or need. 

My family’s holiday activities became low-key. We kept our observances simple and meaningful. We spent little, stressed none, and found great satisfaction. Stepping back from the holiday feeding frenzy is one of the most subversive actions a family can take. After our move toward sanity, we saw our steps repeated by others. This built a small circle of friends and family members who had also chosen to back away from a stressful, harried, and cheapened holiday season. One never knows what small act may plant the seeds of a revolution.

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