Friday, October 30, 2009

Life Goes On…On Both Sides of the Grave!

Medical errors account for over 100,000 deaths in the US each year. Those startling statistics from the Center for Safety and Clinical Excellence may inspire you to be your own health advocate. It could save your life. On Woman to Woman®, the week of September 19, we began a two part series on this topic -- not to put down the medical system, but to hear how involved you must be in monitoring your own care. How do you advocate for yourself or a loved one? What questions should you ask and of whom?

One of my guests was Bruce Meyer who lost his wife, Carol, at age 57 to cancer last year. Or was it? Bruce agreed to talk about his situation publicly for the first time, to help us learn more about advocacy and what can and does go wrong. You can listen to that interview at your leisure and share it with friends. During her treatment, which went well, Bruce and Carol trusted her doctors. They also left everything in God's hands, while trying to stay on top of available information. They faced her possible death standing on the promises of God in Christ and looked forward to eternal life.

After Carol died, Bruce honored her by designing her tombstone, pictured here with Bruce. He discovered an outlet for his grief and a way to use his artistic gifts to comfort others when they visit the cemetery. Some of the feedback on his art and its impact gets back to him, even though it is not a signed work.

Another piece of this story, not on the air, is featured in Dr. Dale Meyer's "Meyer Minute," a daily devotional available online. Dale is Bruce's brother, and the Brad mentioned is Bruce’s son. I include it here as a reminder that life does go on:

The Meyer Minute for August 21, 2009

When it comes right down to it, each of us lives life alone. Hopefully you have good support groups, family, friends, church and other groups. Still, each of us faces life in our own skin, no one else’s. What a great blessing then to know that there are people to be with us as we make our solitary way.

My nephew Brad has learned that, and in a way that makes his family burst with pride. About to enter his fifth year in pharmacy school, Brad realized a dream by riding his bicycle from St. Louis to Denver...about 900 miles…solo, all alone. “This has been a great experience,” he said. “I’ve had a lot of help from strangers along the way; people I didn’t even know. It’s really rewarding knowing that people want to and will take the time to help a stranger. For example, people I don’t even know have fed me dinner. I’ve sat at the table with people I didn’t even know…and that’s cool.” (Press release, St. Louis College of Pharmacy)

I have a mental picture of Jesus’ parable of the Good Samaritan but in my mind the traveler is on a bike. There are Good Samaritans that help all of us in our pilgrimage to the city more than a mile high. And, Happy Birthday, Brad!

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